Friday, March 21st, 2008

Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub ($6.99) is an anti-acne facial scrub that utilizes salicylic acid while exfoliating with microbeads to help slough away dead skin cells. This product is alcohol-free (alcohol is a huge no-no in skin products!), which is always a big plus when considering an exfoliant and regular skin product. It does have menthol in it, which gives the product its tingling sensation when used. I find I keep this in my shower caddy and reach for it occasionally. It does tickle my nose a bit, because of the menthol, but I know I’m a bit overly sensitive when it comes to that kind of thing. The microbeads are incredibly gentle, and I feel like this is a good abrasiveness level for an everyday or every other day scrub.

Get yours at drugstore.com or your local drugstore!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Zeno ($149.00 to $200.00)

As a bit of a gadget geek, high-tech beauty products are always on my radar, including Zeno, a handheld device designed to treat acne. Zeno works using ClearPoint Technology that uses heat to treat P. acnes (read more about this type of acne at Wikipedia), which accounts for nearly 90% of blemishes according to Zeno.

The device takes thirty seconds to heat up after turning it on, and then it is applied to each pimple for two minutes, treated by a heated tip at 118.5 degrees F. Zeno beeps every thirty seconds, and then it does a little video game-like sound to signal that it’s been two minutes. You wait thirty seconds in between treatments before you can treat another pimple, and you can only treat three per session. After three, Zeno automatically has a safety mechanism that kicks in and forces you to wait another two minutes before treating additional pimples.

First and foremost, yes, I saw results, and yes, they were amazing. Zeno manages to “dry out” pimples within 24 hours, which means they’re healed within two or three days. When you have just one or two pimples that aren’t noticeable, it’s not a big deal, but when you’re plagued with more or ones that you can see easily, it is a godsend. The heat is also not at all painful — it’s quite like holding a warm washcloth against your face, soothing and pleasant.

So I must rave about the results, because who doesn’t want a way to treat unsightly acne? I’ve yet to find a cream/gel that actually produces such impressive results in the same time frame. Zeno does work better on newly developing pimples than ones that have already fully surfaced, though I personally found that it still worked well on that type, too.

The bad news about Zeno is that is cost-prohibitive. The device itself has a hefty pricetag, ranging from $149 to $200 (it is available in three versions — Zeno with 60-uses-tip, Zeno Pro with 90-uses-tip, and Zeno MD with 150-uses-tip). I wouldn’t mind spending that on a device that would last me quite awhile, but each tip will only work for a certain amount of uses — 60, 90, or 150, depending on your version. Tip replacements are $25, 35, and 55, and if you think 60 is plenty of uses, think again!

Say you need to treat five pimples, and you’ll need to do it 4 days out of the week. For effective treatment, it is good to treat each pimple two to three times a day. Just treating each pimple twice for four days (5 pimples x 2 treatments/day x 4 days) is 40 uses. Stay with me — think about your yearly usage, is 100 days out of the question? If we were going at 4 days per week for the year, we would end up with over 200 days. In 100 days, you will need 1000 uses (5 pimples x 2 treatments/day x 100 days)! If you opt for the 90-uses-tip ($35), you’ll need 11 of them, bringing you to a yearly total of $385.

While the results were amazing, I think my money could be better spent on prescription acne treatments, and at the very least, the long-term thinking and cost pattern of Zeno makes me more inclined to think about what’s causing my acne instead. I think the Zeno would be worth it for those who are not acne-plagued; for those who only need to treat one or two pimples a week or less. It is even great for treating that solitary pimple that shows up right before a big date or fancy occasion. Simply put, if you don’t need to use your Zeno that often, you won’t need to replace the tip as often, which means it comes to you at a much lower cost.

(By the way, I am aware that several users try to “cheat” the system that Zeno uses — as once your uses are up, it stops working — by simply using the heat that emanates from it as it heats up, but 1) it is not as effective as a full treatment cycle; 2) I’ll probably forget to do this half the time.)

Conclusion? Pick up Zeno if you only have a few dastardly pimples in a month, but look for other treatments and alternatives if you have persistent, regular acne.

Have you tried Zeno? Love it, hate it, worked for you? Is it worth it?

P.S. — Next week, I will bring you a review on ThermaClear, a product that is often compared to Zeno, so watch for that!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

SCENARIO: I have a wedding I have to go to in about two months. The dress I bought is low cut in the front and the back is almost completely open (just a few straps going across). Of course, after I bought the dress my back and chest have decided to break out like mad and now I’m at war with them. What can I do to get my back and chest to stop breaking out and clear up before the wedding? Are there any good products for this or regimens I can follow?

Situation courtesy of Christina!

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

DHC recently launched a Salicyclic Acid Acne Treatment System that includes a Salicylic Acne Wash ($13.00), Salicylic Acne Toner ($14.00), Salicyclic Face Milk ($19.00), and Acne Spot Therapy ($12.00). The wash is a non-drying cleansing gel that foams to gently exfoliate, while calming skin with aloe vera and green tea. I find that it’s fairly gentle, despite being an active acne-fighting product, so my eyes handle it well if any gets in them on accident. The toner works well for those who are oilier, but I found myself skipping this part of the four-step routine when I was pressed for time (that’s probably a big oops, right?) because I felt like I didn’t need it. The Face Milk is a lightweight moisturizer that isĀ  targeted to help reduce acne because of the salicyclic acid in it, but it ensures hydrated skin while doing so. Out of the system, I think one of my favorite products was the Spot Therapy, because I felt like it did help to minimize redness caused by new blemishes in a short amount of time. Many acne-fighting products tend to dry out skin, which is why I liked the DHC system, because they recognize that and make sure to infuse their products with hydrating ingredients to give skin the balance it needs while breaking down blemishes.