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Acne Zappers vs Acne Washes: How treatment works

Tim Boyer's picture
Zeno Acne Zapper

Consumer Reports Rates Acne Zappers

A recent study published in the January issue of Consumer Reports tells us that while various acne treatment medications typically possess the same active ingredient, some work better than others. Furthermore, in a comparison between acne washes and acne zappers, Consumer Reports tells us that depending on your needs and your pocketbook, choosing which method for eradicating unsightly facial blemishes is more than a matter of face value.

Acne is the result of sebaceous oils clogging pores in the skin and thereby trapping bacteria beneath the skin’s surface. Bacterial growth commences resulting in characteristic skin inflammation and the buildup of white pus and/or blackheads.

The most common chemical found to be relatively effective in combatting acne is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound in the peroxide family and is used not only in acne treatment, but also for treating flour, bleaching hair and teeth, and for polymerizing polyester.

As a result of the benzoyl peroxide’s skin-healing abilities, several brands of anti-acne medications, creams, washes and lotions contain varying amounts of benzoyl peorixide—and, at a price that is not a direct correlation of its concentrations.

For example, three anti-acne washes were selected by Consumer Reports for comparison in benzoyl peroxide content, cost and effectiveness. The three brands tested were AcneFree, Proactiv and Oxy Maximum that possessed 2.5 percent, 3.7 percent and 10 percent benzoyl peroxide respectively.

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Eighty-three participants in the study were given one of the three products for eight weeks. The results of the study showed that all three products yielded similar results with one-half to two-thirds of the study participants achieving an average blemish reduction of 40 percent. In a cost comparison analysis, however, there are significant differences.

The best value by far was the Oxy Maximum that costs $5 for 6 ounces that lasts two to three months. The next best value was AcneFree that costs $20 and lasts two months. The worst deal is Proactiv that also costs $20, but lasts for only one month.

In a second study, Consumer Reports labs took a look at acne zappers that use light and/or heat to reduce inflamed acne sores that did not include whiteheads and blackheads. The two acne zappers compared were Zeno Hot Spot and No! No! Skin.

What Consumer reports found was that both acne zappers reduced most acne sores, but eliminated only about 13 percent of them. Cost comparison shows that Zeno Hot Spot cost $40 for 80 uses after which it is thrown away. The No! No! Skin product costs $180, but is rechargeable.

Consumer Reports concluded that for treating acne it is best to start with a lower priced acne product with comparable concentrations (or better) of benzoyl peroxide as long as skin irritation is not a problem and does not require a dermatologist’s attention. The value to the acne zappers is for those moments just before an important event or school photo day when a facial blemish needs quick fixing regardless of the cost.

Reference: Consumer Reports Jan. 2012



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