During the high heat of early summer, I attended a beauty product launch that was quite possibly the weirdest/coolest I’ve ever been to. The event, which was for a new Neutrogena product, was held in a studio-meets-nightclub space in the east end of Toronto called District 28. I was greeted at the door by a cute young dude who proceeded to put on a slightly scary-looking white plastic mask. He escorted me down a dark hallway, saying, half-jokingly, “I can’t see where I’m going in this.” I responded with a nervous laugh, thinking I’d be taken to an inner chamber where the sinister masquerade ball from the movie Eyes Wide Shut would be reenacted (though our dude wasn’t wearing a cloak, so there’s that).
But lo, after the longest, most awkward walk ever, we came upon a big room that was bathed in super-flattering pink light, which instantly made me happier. I also saw that it was lined with dozens of those white masks, which were clustered at a central, circular bar station. And while the masks bore a vague resemblance to the ones worn by master horror villains Jason and Michael Myers (of Friday the 13th & Halloween, respectively), when I saw the professional bedazzlers and artists on-hand to help us decorate the masks with markers, sequins, stickers and glitter, I knew I was in for something fun (and not at all scary).
This was the scene for the launch of Neutrogena’s new Light Therapy Acne Mask, a next-level tech innovation that I’d heard about online from stories out of the US (where it had already launched at the end of 2016). It just landed in Canada this month, which goes to show the length of time it took for the device — (and yes, it is a device) — to get approval here.
Essentially, the mask uses a combination of blue and red LED light to treat and prevent acne (the blue light targets acne bacteria, while the red light calms inflammation), inspired by costly treatments you might get at a medi-spa. To get the full lowdown on the product, I got an interview with Jessica Snell, Manager of R&D, Global Beauty for J&J.
Q: What inspired the technology behind the Light Therapy Acne Mask?
A: With the debut of the mask, we’re taking over-the-counter acne treatment to a new dimension with a 100% light-based solution. We understand that acne is a full-face condition that needs to be treated from the inside out and the outside in, which is why we were able to recognize the incredible potential in an easy to use LED light treatment that treats the face in one step.
Q: Why blue light?
A: Your skin is filled with endless species of bacteria, and P.acnes is responsible for pimples. P. acnes is always present on our skin. Breakouts can occur when the bacteria get out of balance. Blue light targets the P. acnes and begins the chain reaction to kill the bacteria which has been shown to help acne resolution.
Q: How does red light work in this equation — I’ve read that it reduces inflammation, but does it also have an acne-fighting effect as well?
A: Inflammation plays a significant role in the development of acne, and treating it could potentially be the cornerstone of acne resolution. Neutrogena research suggests that red light fights inflammation in several key ways, including reducing levels of hyperkeratinization — a pore-clogging factor that contributes to acne.
Q: Who is this mask best for — someone with severe or mild acne, or both?
A: The mask is Health Canada authorized to treat mild to moderate acne. Because visible light therapy is so gentle, the mask can be used by consumers with any skin type.
Q: How often does someone have use the mask to see results?
A: Our clinicals showed visible results in as little as one week, with results improving over time. Nearly 80% of subjects showed fewer breakouts in just one week; After 12 weeks, 98% had fewer breakouts, 94% had smoother skin and 90% showed a reduction in red, inflammatory acne. Best results were seen after 12 weeks of use, so we encourage you to use it daily for clearer, healthier-looking skin.