With the advent of home devices, treating acne no longer requires a trip to the dermatologist.
In this article, we review a variety of acne clearing devices and zit zappers that kill acne-causing bacteria with heat, light, and oxygen. Keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Acne?
There are many factors that can cause acne. Excess oil production, which occurs during puberty, is one of the most common causes.
Other causes include:
- Using oily skincare/hair care products
- Poor diet
- Genetics and hormones
- Certain medications
- Poor hygiene
Click here to learn more about P. Acnes, the type of bacteria that causes acne.
Types of Acne
There are lots of different types of acne. Before you decide on a treatment method, you should determine which type(s) of acne you are experiencing.
Acne vulgaris: this is “common acne,” which includes pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. This acne is most likely to appear on the face, chest, shoulders, and back.
Comedonal acne: the word “comedo” refers to a blackhead or whitehead. Blackheads and whiteheads form when hair follicles become plugged up with dead skin cells.
Papules: small red bumps that form when comedones become inflamed. This type of acne usually gets worse with frequent touching.
Pustules: a pustule is is another sort of inflamed pimple, but is larger and grosser than a papule. In most cases, the bump is filled with pus. Squeezing pustules can cause scarring.
Nodules: these are big, inflamed bumps that feel hard to the touch. Nodules form deep beneath the skin and can be painful.
Cysts: a cyst is a large, pus-filled blemish that looks sort of like a boil. Cysts are often painful.
Broader terms for classifications of acne and acne-related conditions include:
- Mild acne: a person with 30 or fewer total blemishes.
- Moderate acne: a person with 20-100 comedones, or fewer than 125 total blemishes.
- Severe nodulocystic acne: a person with several inflamed nodules and cysts that sometimes appear purple or dark red.
- Acne conglobata: this is one of the most severe forms of acne, and usually occurs on the chest, neck, arms, or buttocks. People with this condition suffer from lots of inflamed nodules that are actually connected to one another beneath the skin. It is a side effect of taking testosterone or steroids (click here to learn more about this condition).
- Acne mechanica: also called “sports-induced acne,” this is a mild condition that is cause by friction, pressure, and heat.
Zeno Hot Spot Blemish Clearing Device ($109.95 on Amazon)
Best acne clearing device
The Zeno Hot Spot utilizes thermal-based technology to kill acne-causing bacteria and eliminate blemishes in just 24 hours.
Zeno is portable and gentle enough to be used on all skin types. The device works by heating skin to 118 degrees – enough to kill bacteria but not hot enough to burn the skin.
With just 2-3 treatments over a 12-24 hour time frame, users can expect a 90% decrease in acne. Each treatment takes less than 3 minutes. To compare, a cystic pimple typically takes 7-10 days to clear up on its own.
Zeno is available in two colors and comes ready to use with 2 AA batteries. It provides 80 treatments. A gauge on the side of the device shows how many treatments are left.
Keep in mind that Zeno does not treat comedonal acne, severe cystic acne, or severe nodular acne.
ThermaClear Acne Treatment Device (~$150)
This pimple removal machine uses “exclusive thermal pulse technology” to kill mild-moderate acne. It also speeds up the body’s natural healing process so that your skin clears up to 4x faster than with no treatment.
ThermaClear takes about 60 seconds to heat up. Each burst of heat kills acne-causing bacteria in just 2 seconds.
According to reviews, ThermaClear works best on acne that is just starting to form. Treatment is mildly painful.
Blue and red light therapy for acne: reviews
Baby Quasar CLEAR RAYZ Skincare Therapy Device ($249 on Amazon)
The Baby Quasar uses a combination of red and blue light to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, prevent future acne, and promote healing.
In particular, the blue light kills acne and the red light soothes skin and helps prevent new acne growth.
The Baby Quasar is gentle enough to be used on all skin types. Suggested use is 30 minutes of red light and 20 minutes of blue light once per week.
Do not do red and blue treatments on the same day.
TANDA Clear Plus Professional Acne Clearing Solution Device ($149 on Amazon)
Consistently rated as one of the best acne light therapy devices of 2017, the TANDA is clinically proven to clear away existing acne without causing dryness, irritation, or redness. It also treats fine lines and wrinkles.
TANDA kills acne-causing bacteria with a combination of heat, 414nm blue light, and sonic vibration.
According to user reviews, TANDA is effective in treating acne caused by menopause.
Me Clear Anti-Blemish Device ($39 on Nordstrom.com)
Rated as one of the best products to prevent future breakouts
Me Clear uses sonic vibration, gentle warming, and blue light to eliminate current blemishes, speed healing, and prevent future breakouts.
Me Clear is appropriate for all skin types.
How it works: blue LED light penetrates about 1.5mm into the skin to kill acne-causing bacteria. The sonic vibration increases circulation to reduce inflammation and swelling while at the same time exposing more bacteria to the LED light. The heat opens up pores and allows the LED light to reach more bacteria.
Me Clear will not cause irritation or dryness. According to users, the only downside is that it must be charged up right before use.
High Frequency Zit Zappers
StackedSkincare portable high frequency machine ($125 on StackedSkincare.com)
StackedSkincare is a high frequency (HF) zit zapper that kills acne-causing bacteria using a small electrical current. The argon gas inside the electrode at the tip of the tool produces a tiny electrical current, which generates oxygen when applied to the skin.
This oxygen is able to:
- Kill bacteria
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase circulation
- Stimulate collagen production
StackedSkincare is safe for everyday use. Treatments take between 5-20 minutes and are not painful.
High Frequency D’arsonval Professional Grade Device with Argon Electrodes by NEW SPA ($139 on Amazon)
NEW SPA’s acne-clearing device is one of the most popular high frequency options on the market. It has a decent price and comes with 10 attachments: 7 argon electrodes and 3 neon electrodes.
D’arsonval is very similar to the type of HF devices you would see in a dermatologist’s office. According to users, the D’arsonval gets rid of acne in just a few days. This device is also good for:
- Removing warts
- Removing cold sores
- Minimizing fine lines
- Firming up sagging skin
- Improving circulation
One of the things we haven’t yet discussed is how to lighten acne scars.
We all know that we shouldn’t pick, scratch, or pop zits and pimples. This behavior can cause acne scars, which can be just as annoying as acne.
The devices outlined above are not designed to lighten old acne scars. If you’re dealing with scars, I recommend checking out the following products:
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
- Skin Medica Scar Recovery Gel
- Dermaflage (filler and cover-up)
Click here to learn more about blue light devices for acne.