High-tech acne treatments now available at home

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Masks that use red or blue light to treat acne are now available for home use. (KABC)

To fight acne, dermatologists have large machines that use specialized blue light.

That type of technology has only been available in the doctor's office until recently.

Now, consumers can buy light masks and hand-held devices to use at home.

But how well do they fight breakouts?

If you have acne, your dermatologist may put you under a giant array of blue light.

Dermatologist Shirley Chi with the Center for Advanced Dermatology in Arcadia said the in-office technology has been around for decades.

"The blue light actually goes into your pores and it kills the acne bacteria that makes your skin bumpy and red," said Chi.

Acne patient Madison Hopkins, 21, has been battling breakouts since she was a young teen.

"It was always very constant breakouts," she said. "It wasn't like one breakout and then that was it. It was always just there."

But going to the dermatologist two to three times a week at $50 to $75 a visit isn't convenient or cost-effective for Hopkins.

Now, there are several devices available for at-home use.

Chi shows us one by Neutrogena and another called LightStim.

Both include red and blue light.

"The red light can go deeper and it can decrease inflammation. The blue light and red light both shrink oil glands," Chi said.

Neutrogena's Acne Light Therapy Mask costs $40 and is worn for 10 minutes a day.

After 30 uses, a new $20 battery pack is required.

The plug-in $170 LightStim is designed to offer 100,000 hours of treatment.

"It has to touch the skin and you're going to hold it there for five minutes," Chi said.

The LightStim device has 36 bulbs which gives you a more concentrated, spot treatment.

The Neutrogena mask has 21 bulbs.

Unlike a hand-held device, the advantage of a mask is you can put it on and forget about it.

Doctors said the one you're going to use the most is going to be the best for you.

"So if you can do this consistently at home that should be as good as coming to the office," said Chi.

Chi cautions it's not recommended for patients with severe cystic acne.

Manufacturer studies say both devices show improvement within one to three months.

Hopkins is thrilled to have another way to fight acne.

"I think it's amazing you can do it in the comfort of your own home and at your own convenience," said Hopkins.
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