The latest recall in the beauty world just happens to involve one of the biggest at-home trends for skincare junkies and one of the leading brands in the industry.
In early July, Neutrogena recalled its Light Therapy Acne mask from wholesalers and retailer stores due to concerns about eye damage. According to the brand, the recall was issued "out of an abundance of caution" but "there is a theoretical risk of eye injury" for a small number of customers. Different manufacturers are still selling their own iterations of the device, which has become a favorite for consumers over the past few years due to its "dermatologist in-office technology" red and blue light therapy.
"LED technology has been used by dermatologists for years, and now, it is being brought to the home," explained leading Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep of Spring Street Dermatology to AOL Lifestyle. "I think people are attracted to the convenience of at-home use especially since most people often require multiple treatments." The masks' affordable price points and branding of professional-grade technology to fight signs of aging and reduce acne contributed to its popularity over the years.
However, the dangers surrounding the masks and others of its kind have been a point of concern for many dermatologists, long before Neutrogena's recall on July 5th. Palep herself was quite concerned with the dosage of the light therapy provided by the masks, as not every patient may require the same amount and duration of the treatment.
"The potential dangers of using at-home LED masks include headaches, eye strain, sleep disturbances, insomnia and mild visual side effects," she explained. "It’s essential to go to a board-certified dermatologist who is expertly trained in using in-office LED treatments to determine the appropriate dose and timing of light in order to diminish the occurrence of such side effects."
Furthermore, in addition to these dangers, light therapy may not be an as effective choice in general. Said Palep, "At-home LED devices use lower frequencies, so [they] haven’t proven to be as effective or the results as dramatic as in-office treatments like the Blu-U light and micro pulsed Nd: YAG Laser."
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"Since patients oftentimes require multiple treatments and overexposure to this, light can be potentially dangerous to your vision," she continued. "I like to recommend consumers always visit a board-certified dermatologist who is expertly trained to administer these types of treatments to ensure they are done safely for the health of your eyes and skin. Acne can also be tricky to treat without professional help. It’s important to have a treatment plan that is specific to your needs."
Palep maintained: "Overall, at-home LED masks use varying lower frequencies which are only questionably effective." Instead, the physician recommends Blu-U light technology, and possibly retinoids, oral medication and topical inflammatories depending on the individual patient. More severe cases involving scarring and discolorations may be fixed with the micro-pulsed Nd: YAG Laser.
Outside of the doctor's office, Palep recommends a few products to help fight such issues.
"I like to recommend my acne patients use Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash, which is an AHA foaming cleanser with 18% glycolic acid to exfoliate skin to reveal a clear, radiant complexion. I also recommend Neostrata Bionic Face Serum that contains lactobionic acid to help refine skin texture and clarity."