New product claims to clear up acne

Hours in the pool led to swim meet wins for Abby Forman, but persistence has done nothing to get rid of her acne.

The 12-year-old has tried antibiotics and prescription creams, neither of which has cleared up the acne.

There is no cure for acne, but the makers of a light therapy mask promise their product will help.

Tampa dermatologist Seth Forman is also Abby's dad. He said light therapy claims are based on the theory that bacteria is one of acne's causes. But it is one of a number of factors that trigger acne.

Still, the makers of Illumask claim that in their studies "over 93 percent of users saw overall skin improvement in as little as two weeks."

We purchased two masks and asked both Abby and longtime acne sufferer Julia Pappagoda to try the treatment for seven days.

The mask emits blue and red light. Instructions call for 15 minutes of use daily.

A week later we checked in with both testers. Pappagoa, 24, suffers from mild to moderate acne. She noticed a change in her skin in just three days. Her acne faded and she says her skin is much softer now.

But Dr. Forman said the mask failed to calm or reduce Abby's acne.

The dermatologist said no single light can cure acne caused by something other than bacteria such as genetics, hormones or inflammation.

So how does Illumask compare in cost to other acne treatments?

The mask is $30, which contains 30 light sessions. The same $30 will cover a month’s worth of antibiotics or a prescription topical treatment. Accutane costs $200 per month.

While the Illumask may not work for everyone, the makers of the product say no one has ever reported an adverse reaction from using the mask.

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