R29 Road Test: How Does The Foreo Blue Light Acne Treatment Fare Against My Hormonal Spots?

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Every second day, there's a new buzzy skincare product on the block. But if I'm honest, my skin is tired from having new serums slapped onto it and my beauty shelf is heaving under the weight of bottles and jars (woe is me, I know).
When it comes to acne busting specifically, so many products promise the world but leave me wanting better results. Needless to say, I was sceptical when this blue light acne treatment (that looks very much like a sex toy) rocked up at my door.
Actually, before I decided to embark on this review, I had only used the Foreo device a dozen times over the course of a few months — and because irregular usage didn't amount to much, I labelled it a dud.

How does the Foreo Espada work?

The FDA-cleared medical device says that it helps treat and heal acne-prone skin during, and before, a breakout. In Foreo's own words, it targets "acne, pimples, blemishes, inflammation, dark spots and clogged pores... to destroy acne-causing bacteria without drying or damaging the skin."
Blue LED light technology has been used to treat acne for the last couple of decades — its wavelength has an antimicrobial effect, meaning that it can kill several types of bacteria found in pores and oil glands.
Experts and studies agree that the practice is safe, effective and when used correctly, causes little to no complications.

What do the reviews say?

"I noticed reduced pain and swelling in blemishes literally within minutes of using this product. I swear I could see a difference the next day," reads one review on Foreo's site.
"I think of the Espada like I think of going to the gym. You need to stay consistent to get those results! But if you stay with it you will! I have had some monster zits creep up that the Espada helped speed up healing and shortened the duration of their stay on my face," reads another.
"It seems to help some of my pimples heal faster and reduce redness and pain. I use twice a day. Not a miracle, but an added tool that doesn’t stop you from using other acne treatments and creams. Didn’t irritate my sensitive skin," one Sephora reviewer said.
"I had a few breakouts along my chin/jawline and the Espada really helped with the healing process. It's not a magic wand that zaps blemishes away, but it does make them appear less red and smaller. I call it the "healing accelerator," says another.

First impressions

Like many of the reviews have suggested, using this device twice a day worked best for me. After cleansing and before applying other skincare products, I would use this 30-second zapper on each individual spot (a bit tedious when you have multiple breakouts going on, I'll admit).
It's simple to use and has a handy light feature that helps you aim the tool to sit on top of your spots. It gives major girl in STEM vibes.
I paired the device with a spot treatments in the form of Verso's Blemish Fix, $135 and Skin Control's Pimple Patches PM, $5.99.
Day 1
Day 3
Day 5
Day 8
I photographed my journey over an eight-day period, a period where I was on my period and my hormonal pimples came out to play, too.
Much like the reviews promised, this device isn't a one-zap-wonder. But that might be a good thing. Unlike a lot of acne-focused products that are drying (please keep drying spot treatments and toothpaste away from me), this feels non-invasive and gentle to the skin. It allows my skin to retain its moisture and protects the skin barrier while slowly attacking spots from the inside out.

Is it worth it?

Looking at my photo comparisons, you might say that the difference seems minimal. But as the proud owner of these pesky hormonal pimples that are hidden deep beneath the skin, I can tell that the spots feel like they're actually being treated from the inside out.
The pimples are less raised, less red, less painful and smaller with routine use. And just like how many things in life get worse before they get better, the device speeds up the pimple process, so my spots did seem to grow mid-week, but then proceeded to shrink again. Though Foreo claims that it can help with dark spots, but I haven't noticed a difference in scarring or hyperpigmentation.
We also can't ignore the pretty hefty price tag attached to the wand. At around $200 a pop, it's an investment in your skincare. But unlike serums, moisturisers, acids and the like — this rechargeable product won't run out.
For people who experience regular breakouts like myself, this product is a keeper. It helps with the worst of it — and alongside other acne products — will be a go-to tool for me to tackle any future spots.
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