Should I Buy… Neutrogena’s Light Therapy Spot Treatment?

Will light therapy turn out to be the one thing that clears up my resolutely mediocre skin?

Should I Buy... Neutrogena's Light Therapy Spot Treatment?

by Katie Rosseinsky |

Much like Smirnoff Ice and waist belts, I always assumed that spots were something I’d be able to leave in adolescence. While I’ve happily left the first two in 2008, I’m still stuck with a complexion that’s neither good nor bad but hovers frustratingly between the two. Every couple of weeks, my skin rightfully hits back at the cocktail of stress, fluctuating hormones, alcohol and sugar that I’ve thrown its way – and the result is a cluster of angry blemishes which nothing seems to fix.

All this makes me a prime candidate for the latest launch in Neutrogena’s Light Therapy range. The Targeted Acne Spot Treatment looks like it could double up as a laser pointer, a particularly sophisticated vape pen, or even the handle of a tiny lightsabre, depending on your preferred point of reference. It’s designed to treat mild to moderate breakouts (like mine) through light technology, and can be used from that horrible moment you start to feel a spot lurking under your skin.

Once you’ve pointed it at the afflicted area, a session lasts just two minutes; according to the brand, you should see results within 48 hours if you use the pen the recommended three times a day. Think of it as the lower-maintenance cousin of that cyborg light-up mask (or the Light Therapy Acne Mask, to give the proper name), which you’ve probably encountered on Instagram. I decide to test it out in the slump between Christmas and New Year when, after weeks of questionable alcohol and a diet spiked with sugar and dairy, my skin should hypothetically be at its worst. If I can emerge from festive purgatory with a Glossier-ad complexion, then this pen can quite literally do anything.

What Actually Is Light Therapy?

'Blue light and red light are different wavelengths of LED generated visible light, and each has a different effect on the skin,' explains J&J skincare expert Rebecca Bennett. 'Blue light kills the bacteria (p.acnes) that can cause spots and red light stimulates healing reducing the size and redness of existing blemishes. Used in conjunction, blue and red light are clinically proven to help tackle mild to moderate acne.' Unlike topical treatments, which can leave skin feeling sore if applied with too much zeal, 'light therapy works beneath the skin, reducing the likelihood of irritation,' Rebecca says.

How do you use the Neutrogena Light Therapy pen?

Unlike the various beauty gadgets I’ve tested over the years (cleansing brushes, at-home lasers, a terrifying hairdryer-curler combo), this one is simple and efficient enough not to discourage repeat use. You turn it on, hold on the offending area and leave for two minutes while the light does its thing (it’ll switch off automatically once the two-minute treatment period is up). Your skin won’t look red or sore afterwards - unlike some more traditional spot treatments I could name - though you might end up with a tiny indentation on your skin where you’ve held the pen (which will fade within a minute or so).

Though Neutrogena recommend doing this three times a day, I have to admit I only ended up using it in the mornings and evenings, when my skin was free from make-up: it’s pretty unlikely that my foundation would’ve prevented the light from working, but I didn’t fancy dipping the pen in orange. Because of its diminutive size, the Light Therapy Treatment pen is made to be used on-the-go, but I can’t imagine using this outside the non-judgemental safe space of my own home (just because pointing a light-emitting device at your spot-ridden face is just a little bit weird).

So, Should I Buy The Light Therapy Pen?

Yes! In a week spent chain-eating Celebrations and pigs in blankets, my skin actually looked considerably better than in weeks where I’ve jettisoned dairy and gluten to avoid breakouts. Plus, while topical spot treatments often end up leaving the surrounding skin feeling dry and flaky, light treatment had no such side effects.I did find that the pen worked much better on certain types of spots (brace yourself for an in-depth and TMI discussion of my horrible complexion). Small red pimples would recede after a day or so, white-heads took a little longer but certainly benefitted from the treatment, but those under-the-skin horrors that make your face physically ache? No chance. But when I think of the cumulative amount I’ve probably spent on spot-treating snake oil over the last fifteen years, a £29.99 investment in a piece of clinically proven tech seems pretty worthwhile.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, £29.99Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, £29.99

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**Follow Katie on Instagram **@katierosseinsky

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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