Acne is caused by bacteria and dead skin cells trapped in the pores. Although it is a common ailment for teenagers, acne affects people of all ages. Hundreds of products claim to clear up acne, but how many of them actually work? Experts say the best over-the-counter treatments have benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for active ingredients. Still, electronic gadgets that promise to zap away zits pop up constantly.
The Zeno Acne Clearing Device (*Est. $130), for example, is a relatively new product that has been drawing a lot of attention. It is a handheld device that is placed against a blemish and uses thermal energy (heat) to neutralize acne-causing bacteria and speed the process of healing active blemishes. Tests show 100 percent improvement after five days of use, compared with 76.5 percent improvement with a placebo -- somewhat questionable effectiveness when compared with other treatments. Daniel Rigel, a dermatologist and professor at New York University, tells USA Today magazine that there are not a lot of studies on this kind of treatment, "but it may be something to try." The device has been approved by the FDA for treating existing pimples, but it will not reduce the occurrence of breakouts.
Overall, there just isn't enough data to confirm that these electronic devices work effectively. User reviews are also mixed. While some users posting comments to Amazon.com say the Zeno device helped clear up pimples, others report no improvement. For now, we have chosen not to include an electronic home treatment for acne in the ConsumerSearch Best Reviewed section.