This High-Tech Pen Zaps Acne On The Go — & It's Under $20

Purchasing a new skin-care device feels a little like pulling the lever on a slot machine in Vegas. Can you be 2000% sure that a $500 anti-aging gadget will zap away every single fine line, sun spot, and wrinkle? We'd sure hope so, but alas — that's the thrill of the gamble.
Luckily, not every at-home treatment comes with a sweat-inducing price tag, especially in the acne category. One smart bet for folks with mild breakouts and whiteheads is Neutrogena's Light Therapy Acne Mask, which we road-tested to considerably impressive results (and it's only $40, too). And now, the Stormtrooper-esque face mask is getting a little sister, taking the same LED light technology and compacting it into a spot-treating pen — at half the price. The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment is small enough to fit in your clutch, perfect for those moments you're out in public and start to sense a pimple brewing below the surface. (A warning: The device kind of looks like a pregnancy test, so do with that what you will.)
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"Some people only develop one pimple or so very sporadically, and in those cases it's okay to spot treat as the acne lesion develops," says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. Which is where this gadget comes in. It includes a more targeted combo of blue and red light therapy than you'll find in the facial mask, so you can use it to treat smaller areas. That also means you can use it up to three times a day for shorter bursts of time (it turns off at two minutes).
"Red light essentially acts like a fire extinguisher to put out the inflammation that causes pimples, while blue light has been shown to kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin," Dr. Zeichner says. "While spot treating does not get to the root of the problem, and is not typically ideal for patients with chronic acne, it can be beneficial when used as in addition to your entire acne prevention routine."
Of course, the proof is all in the pudding. One fan of the treatment: actress Olivia Holt, who's also the face for the line. Keep reading to learn about her skin-care musts, how she uses the gadget, and more, then get excited to pick up your own for $19.99 at drugstores in July.
How would you describe your experience with acne?
"I travel so much, so with my skin it depends on where I am. When it’s really hot, I get oily; when it’s dry, my skin gets super sensitive. So I feel like I always have a different routine depending on where I am, or what season I’m in."
What types of treatments do and do not work for your skin?
"Toners in the past have definitely impacted my skin in a really negative way. But the new Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment has helped me get every spot on my face, especially when traveling. I keep it in my bag and pull it out whenever I feel a pimple forming. I’ve used it in my car, on a plane — really everywhere."
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Being an actress can come with a lot of pressure to have perfect skin. How do you manage that?
"I definitely feel a lot of pressure. I’ll wake up all the time with something on my face and it makes me feel insecure walking onto a set, because obviously I don’t feel as confident when I have acne on my face. But I do think it’s important to surround yourself with people who are going to support you and make you feel worthy — it’s not all about what's on the outside, but inner beauty, as well."
What's a common complaint you hear from your fans about their skin? Any advice?
"A common concern I hear all the time is when people say that because their skin is oily, they don’t want to hydrate or moisturize. But it’s actually the opposite, because you need that balance for your skin. If you do have really oily skin, it’s even more important to stay hydrated and moisturize as much as you possibly can."