Temperatures are soaring globally and this spells trouble for those with acne-prone skin. Heat and humidity intensify oil production in our skin which in turn gives rise to (more frequent) breakouts. Hence, while blessed souls with amazing complexion just need to slap on some toner to prevent summer zits from sprouting, the not-so-lucky ones like us would have to take significantly more precautions to stop new ones from popping up on our already-blemished face. What is your beauty regime for the hot weather like?
Apart from the usual acne cleansers and medicated cream we sufferers are all too familiar with, the trend these days seems to be toward using at-home LED devices to treat pesky pimples. LED light therapy for acne is not certainly not new as it has been used by dermatologists for years. But receiving the therapy in a clinic could set you back a few hundred dollars per session, or thousands to complete the entire treatment (and it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never get another pimple again). Handheld light therapy devices, on the other hand, are typically more affordable in the long run (a one-time payment of less than S$400) and are a more practical option because they can be used any time you want to avert an acne crisis.
Personally, I own a blue light device – a Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen gifted by my boyfriend for my birthday last year. It is quite a new product (less than a year in the market?) and was retailing for S$209 on Sephora. Now that the price online has been reduced by 30%, some of you may be tempted to give it a go but discouraged by the lack of reviews. Well, lucky you, you’ve come to the right place 😁 Read on to find out how I feel about the device!
As a quick introduction (with most information obtained from here and here), the ESPADA (‘sword’ in Spanish, but Foreo is a Swedish brand) is a slim handheld acne-fighting device which combines Blue Light Pulse Technology and T-Sonic™ pulsations. Operating it is easy as it has only one on/off button on the front. Once switched on, it activates a red laser-like beam for more precise targeting of blemish. This is extremely useful as without this function, it would be quite difficult to tell beneath the flat surface of the head if you’ve accurately aimed the blue light at your desired spot.
Next, rest the device on the targeted area and it will let out 415 nm of blue light (LED) which penetrates deep below skin’s surface to kill acne-causing bacteria at the source, while the T-Sonic pulsations help the light diffuse into pores for maximum efficacy. This treatment is only initiated on contact with the skin to ensure safety for skin and eyes and conserve battery. The whole process does not involve any pain or discomfort with the only rumbling sensation you experience coming from the pulsations. Repeat the process twice for mild acne, or three to four times for moderate acne. I’m a kiasu (overly cautious) person so I tend to zap every zit, regardless of their severity, minimally three times.
The ESPADA has a built-in timer that enables the device to vibrate every 30 seconds with longer pulses to indicate the end of each acne-treating routine. It is also USB-chargeable and one charge can provide up to 240 treatments. Mine, in most cases, needs to be charged once every week if used daily (about 30 treatments each day) and it takes about 3-4 hours to be fully charged. The red light at the foot of the device starts flashing once it reaches a critically low battery level and the treatment stops abruptly the moment the device deems itself to have insufficient power to complete the routine. But sometimes, there would still be a teeny weeny bit of power left to keep it running for a couple more seconds, so if you’re thrifty like me, just keep hitting the button until it can’t be switched on anymore 😁
Designed with hygiene as a priority, the head of the device is coated in a special bacteria-resistant silicone that prohibits the spread of acne-causing bacteria. The waterproof body is quick-drying, easy to clean and nonporous to prevent bacteria buildup. This device is said to be most effective on clean skin so I usually use it after cleansing my face and would only wipe the head with a damp cloth (or rinse under running tap every other week) thereafter. It is very portable and comes with a grey pouch for easy storage.
Now, moving on to the efficacy of this product, the ESPADA clears up pesky pimples to a satisfactory extent but unfortunately, does not work on severe cases of acne like my big cystic ones which did not only go away, their size remained unchanged and were still as painful as ever. This device is only effective against occasional or smaller pimples – such as those with poppable heads – as it is able to dry them up faster and reduce the inflammation. Moreover, contrary to what it also promises, it does not (at least for me) prevent further pimples from forming.
Price-wise, I thought the ESPADA is pretty affordable (although I received mine as a gift) especially with the discount at Sephora now. It is a lot cheaper than another similar product by Tria (not available in Singapore) due to the fact that this does not require additional or changeable cartridges which will collectively cost more than the device itself in the long run. There are a handful of other products in the Singapore market that use similar technology (such as SKIN INC’s Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light and Clariancy’s Tanda Clear) but cost at least a hundred dollars more.
In conclusion, is Foreo ESPADA a worthy buy? If you’re a student dealing with teen acne, then for the love of your wallet, yes. Otherwise, this still makes a decent combat tool against the little bumps on your face.
Thanks for reading!