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!

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

35 thoughts on “Zeno Acne Clearing Treatment Device Review

  1. Ashlee

    I have heard its a really good product but I dont have 200 bucks to shell out for it. I wish I did though!

  2. addicted_2color

    Great review! I thought about purchasing this for my fiance in the past, but the cost has always held me back. I’m glad you gave a scenario on how much the refills could potentially add up. I never realized that.

  3. Tekoa

    They should be ashamed to charge that much. Then to add to the insult, they design it so that you have to buy replacement tips. I’m a tad irritated because it feels like they’re taking advantage of desprite acne suffers. Like myself.

    Yup, bought the Zeno. I was/am willing to do anything to reduce pimples. It has helped. I still slap them with a wet flounder though.

  4. Ariele

    I have been so curious as to if this product actually works. It better with a price tag like that! Thankfully, I was blessed with decent genes & I only get a pimple or two a few times a month. Sometimes, they are really big & deep though. I’m tempted to buy the Zeno for those…

  5. Excellent review and great conclusions.

    If you have more persistent acne, other treatments would be a better solution. I will have to try that wet founder tecnnique!

  6. I tried therma clear… did not like AT all… think it’s pretty bogus… and it hurts!

  7. Comment by Zainy
    2008-03-16 09:24:03
    Hello Cristine and all the readers,

    I just want to share this incredible product,i ve personall tried althogh i just have marks left by pimple’s coz im not naturally oily skin one.I wanted to share that i ve used it and beleive me my marks r starting like vanishing,heres the add

    http://beauty.iqderma.com/dms365/index.cfm?action=page.view&page=sub.testimonials&utn=12

    Plz do try all those have pimples

    Do answer me Cristine.Chirstine plz dont mind about my this comment in answer to ur this product..i just wanted to help others :)

    Zzainy..

  8. I have used this and yes, it can work wonders. I find that I have to catch pimples right when they are forming for best results so carry it with you wherever you go. You never know when those little buggers will come to bother you.

  9. Anne

    I’ve happily used zeno for about a year now. I absolutely love it! No drying of skin and it really works, but catch the pimple EARLY! It is truly a miracle for the monthly pimples I get. The numbers given in this article don’t fall true to my personal experiences though. Not every pimple will require 2 uses (many are less) and you don’t necessarily get 4 pimples every week. Yes, I wouldn’t recommend it for severe acne, but the product doesn’t claim to be for severe acne. I’ll give you an example of my tip usage. I have mild to moderate acne (which is what the device is recommended for) and I have only had to replace my tip once in the past year. When I add up the price on the other cleansers and topicals (that didn’t work plus dried out my skin), I actually come out ahead, especially when it has completely cut out doctors visits too. I am addicted to zeno! I hope this helps others!

    • Hi Anne! I consider myself to have mild to moderate acne, but I definitely get at least one pimple a week on average. I mean, severe acne to me is more along the lines of a face full all the time. I know for me, with mild to moderate acne, I’d be replacing the tip once every two months–at least. It’s great that you only haev to replace it once a year!

      • Anne

        Hi Christine! It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but it doesn’t really work that way. I know from a year’s experience of using the Zeno. Do the math. Worst case scenario, if you use the tip on one pimple a week 3X (which won’t happen because not every pimple needs 3 hits–alot of mine just need 1 hit), a 90 count tip will last 20 weeks at the earliest (that’s about 5 months). I had a pimple last night that I only had to hit with the Zeno once and it was completely gone this morning. You see, after you use Zeno a while, you start to learn which zits need more or less hits, depending on the deepness, soreness, etc. Point blank, the earlier you use the Zeno, the less likely you are to need 3 hits. It’s really not a big deal. Believe me, if it were, I’d be the first in line to tell others, but it just doesn’t work that way.

        Also, in response to Tekoa–When I bought my first tip, the enclosed information said something about that the tips need to be replaced to maintain the consistent temp of Zeno that kills the bacteria stuff in the pimple. It had something to do with the metals degrading in the tip because of the frequent heat. It made sense to me. Nothing lasts forever. Hopefully this will make you feel a little better. :)

        • Hi Anne, I wish mild to moderate acne was just ONE pimple a week! I would consider myself virtually acne free at the rate. I have mild to moderate acne, and I’ve used Zeno for six full weeks – I still need to use the device anywhere from 5-15 times per week, depending on my skin. I just think it’s unrealistic to call mild acne or even moderate acne one pimple per week – that’s why it is a numbers game to me. From using it for six weeks, this is my user experience – most require at least two treatments, and I probably have five or so worth treating (or worth spending treatments on) per week. I just don’t see myself spending at least $200 a year on tip replacements for a device that’s already $200 (with tax and whatnot). I don’t think it’s worth that price — especially when it’s not meant to last forever, and it’s like an iPod, once the charger goes, so does your product. It’s so great that it’s worth it to you, and I wish I could say the same! I’d rather spend that $400 first-year cost seeing a dermatologist and finding a solution to the problem.

  10. Anne

    Hi Anne, You said on your 3/25/08 post that you have mild to moderate acne and you get “at least ONE pimple a week on average”. That’s why I gave you an example of tip usage on just ONE pimple (it was a worse case scenario for your tip usage based on the information you stated, but allowed room for additional pimples). I never said that ONE pimple is considered mild to moderate acne (you did). I don’t consider ONE pimple mild to moderate acne either. Maybe you assumed that from my comments above on my own tip usage (just because I have only had to replace my tip once doesn’t mean that I only get one pimple a week–you are mistaken). Or, maybe you assumed this from somewhere else.

    I also find it interesting that your response changed in your 3/26/08 post: “I probably have five or so worth treating…per week,” in reference to pimples. It was ONE pimple the day before. Regardless, just looking at this week alone, I’ve had 3 pimples that I have used Zeno on, again with successful results. The pimples come and go in cycles. I could have more or less, depending on the time of the month, etc. I know my tip usage is accurate, because I have used the device a lot longer than you have. 6 weeks is not a realistic amount of time to evaluate this product’s tip usage.

    If you don’t want to continue using a good product that works based what tip usage you might experience and chargers that might go out, etc., then I suggest you stick with your expensive dermatologist who might give you more expensive creams, medicines, shots, etc. that might possibly work (that will all cost you more money in the long run than Zeno, as I have already gone this route). $400 yearly for a dr. is more expense than you would incur with Zeno. The cost of Zeno is $150 for the device, not $200 as you stated, and many websites will ship for free/no tax if it is out of state. As well, you would not be buying a Zeno on a yearly basis — just tips as needed (which really is NOT as often as you think). The “luxury” versions of Zeno may cost more, but that is not a cost you have to incur to experience it. And, you can buy 150 count tips that will last longer and are less $ per use. Good luck!

  11. Anne

    Hi Christine! My above comment from 4/1/08 was in response to your 3/25/08 and 3/26/08 posts. I just realized I addressed myself. (LOL) Sorry!

  12. Kitten

    I did buy this (I got a discount as they were selling it in the clinic my mum used to work in). It is pricey, but for someone like me (who gets the occasional pimple – but that pimple is deep & ingrown) it’s really useful. I have also tried cortisone injections but found the Zeno, despite it’s hefty price to be a better alternative – no scarring and less inflammation.

    • Got it! It’s soo true that it’s useful, and I’m definitely keeping mine around for those “omg I have a huge date and I can’t have pimples” occasions.

  13. El

    Hey Christine! I ordered my Zeno and I checked out the cost of a refill for the basic Zeno (60) on eBay. Looks like the average cost people are paying there is about 20 dollars that includes shipping. It only saves about 5 dollars because the refill is around 25 retail at Harmon’s or Ulta. Every once and a while someone catches a really good deal of 15 dollars including shipping. I guess I will have to wait and see how the refill cost effects me personally since I only seem to get pimples right around “that time of the month”. Ha ha lucky me not only do I feel awful inside I get to look awful outside too. Hopefully this works!

  14. andrea

    i have juss bought zeno today i
    tried it and put it in my ugly
    pimples but i really dont see
    anything:( how lng does it take
    for zeno 2 work on a pimple?
    please answer:)

  15. Shelby

    Hey guys! I got a zeno, and it’s true that it is nice for those that get 2-3 of them monthly and that’s just cause the money it costs to buy those tips which is around 25$ is what I spend at Target…I usually get 3 bothersome ones around the time of my period and find the zeno to work really good! You need to catch them early though..I do three of the troublesome ones in the morning and than at night before bed. I notice that if I catch them early they stay small or don’t even come up to the skin..if I catch them when they have already arrived to the surface I still notice the swelling to go down the next day after using the zeno.

    • I’m glad yours is working out so well for you, Shelby!

      • Shelby

        Thanks Christine : ) I was wondering if any of you know if the DHC Salicylic acne treatment line is good for the treatment of acne? I saw that you have a posting already for them, but the responds weren’t really if it worked for there acne, it was more whether or not they use the toner.

        • You know what, look int Mario Badescu products. I’ve been using them for the past 2-3 weeks to clear up some nasty breakouts and it’s worked REALLY REALLY WELL.

          The DHC Salicylic Acid line should help, because salicylic acid is one of the major ingredients used to help control acne breakouts, though.

  16. brookie

    you can get it from a store. and its the same thing just looks different. and its smaller so it will fit in a really small purse! $40.00

  17. amy

    check ebay its a lot cheaper!

  18. Ann

    It’s totally NOT worth it. I bought it at full price and after a couple of months it completely stopped working. It won’t charge up anymore and yes, I have replaced the tip with a brand new one. This has been a huge waste of money, and I’ve read so many similar co,plaints from other users. Unfortunately I got suckered, but please think teach and don’t waste your money.