My Zeno for Fighting Acne


Zeno’s Heat Treat actually only gets rid of about 20% of blemishes!

My Zeno advertises its products as providing “beauty through the science of heat.” One of its newest products is Heat Treat, which it claims is the ultimate tool for keeping your skin clear.


  • My Zeno Heat Treat promises “beauty through the science of heat.” If you read the actual science, however, you will see that it only gets rid of about 20% of blemishes that weren’t going to resolve without any treatment at all.
  • Many customers complain that the Heat Treat device either won’t shut off or won’t turn on.
  • Some customers report that Heat Treat helps their complexion, but more complain that it either does no good at all or actually makes acne worse.
  • Instead of the My Zeno Heat Treat lotion, try Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Acne Hydrating Treatment. It’s just US $6.99 and it actually will break up blackheads and prevent pimples. And if you have lingering problems with small scars and brown spots, investigate Exposed Skin Care.

What My Zeno Tells Us About Heat Treat

Heat Treat is a two-step treatment for preventing pimples. Users first apply a medicated treatment that “kills 99.9% of acne bacteria” within one hour of contact. Then users apply a heating vibrator device to the skin to “stop breakouts before they start.” Both the anti-acne lotion and the heating vibrator are applied all over the face.

My Zeno says that the lotion is a “proprietary” moisturizer that contains 1% salicylic acid. The temperature to which the My Zeno vibrating device heats the skin is not specified, but it is said not to be unpleasant.

But Does My Zeno Really Work?

Many customers complain that the switch on the vibrating heat unit does not work so that it turns itself off and on and either starts heating while still in the box or fails to heat the skin. But even if this were the only problem with the system there are serious doubts that it would work.

  • Neither “hydration” nor salicylic acid kills acne bacteria. If the My Zeno lotion really does kill 99.9% of acne bacteria within one hour, the lotion must contain some other active ingredient. The only product available without a prescription that kills acne bacteria this fast is a 10% solution of benzoyl peroxide, which could also cause itching, burning, redness, and irritation of the skin. It could also bleach both hair and clothes.
  • Salicylic acid is great for removing discolorations of the skin and for loosening whiteheads and blackheads. A 1% salicylic acid formula is strong enough to work, if the whole product is acidic enough. If you can use a hand-held heater on your skin comfortably after applying 1% salicylic acid, chances are that the formula is not sufficiently acidic to loosen dead skin around tight pores.
  • Some users of the system claim that new pimples break out after they start the product, especially on the chin and jawline. This usually would mean that the lotion contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), added as sudsing agent.
  • Many skin care devices use ultrasound to help lotions and medications penetrate the skin. The principle is the same as medical ultrasound, only the frequency is lower. Massage heads that generate 1 to 2 million vibrations per second set up standing waves in the skin that realign skin cells so large molecules (but not viruses or bacteria) can slip in between skin cells deep into the skin. If the skin care product used before vibrating massage is beneficial to the skin, it will work better. If the skin care product used before vibrating massage is harmful to the skin, it will cause even more skin problems.

Another problem with My Zeno is that advertising seems to suggest that it gets rid of blemishes immediately. No single method of acne treatment gets rid of more than about 80% of blemishes in less than 30 days—and no single method of acne treatment works for everyone who tries it. There are acne treatment systems with five to nine products that may get rid of up to 95% of pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes in 30 days.

What About the My Zeno Hot Spot?

The My Zeno Hot Spot was an earlier version of the Heat Treat system that only provided a heat treatment for the skin. My Zeno claims that:

  • 84% of blemishes fade or disappear after two 2-1/2 minute heat treatments.
  • 90% of blemishes fade or disappear after 24 hours.
  • 96% of blemishes fade or disappear after 48 hours.

The My Zeno reports the findings of a clinical trial of their device. According to dermatologists, using My Zeno heat treatment got rid of 96% of blemishes in 48 hours and 100% of blemishes in 72 hours.

The clinical trial also tested a placebo. The placebo (the same as doing nothing) got rid of 63% of blemishes in 48 hours and 75% of blemishes in 72 hours. In other words, My Zeno’s own clinical trials found that the device was only 21% better than doing nothing at all. And one can only imagine that the clinical trial carefully excluded anyone who had serious acne issues.

However, there is at least a little evidence that heat treatments can help acne. A clinical trial at the Weill Medical School of Cornell University in New York City found that heat treatment resolved about 50% of blemishes in 4 days, compared to 36% for no treatment at all. In other words, heat treatment helps but it is not a cure-all.

To Get Really Clear Skin, You Need a Systematic Approach

Most people with acne who achieve really clear skin use a combination of approaches. One method might get rid of 50% of blemishes, a second method might get rid of 50% of the blemishes that are left, and so on. At the very least, you will need a good cleanser, some treatment to kill bacteria (it doesn’t have to be heat-based), salicylic acid or glycolic acid in the right concentration and at the right pH to break up gunk in clogged pores, some treatment that can correct small pores and small areas of brown skin left behind when acne heals.

There are a couple of good acne treatment systems. A great product to get started with is Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Acne Hydrating Treatment. This product is available at cosmetics counters, in supermarkets, and online, and contains both moisturizer to keep your skin soft and 2% salicylic acid to get your pores open. And it only costs US $6.99 for a 2 fluid ounce/60 ml tube that may last you nearly a month. Compare that to US $37.99 for the My Zeno Heat Treat system that probably won’t do you any good.

Once you begin to see good results from the Neutrogena, you can start correcting long-term acne issues with a complete acne system like Exposed Skin Care. You can get all of your acne skin care products from Exposed Skin Care, or just those you need for smoothing out acne scars or for keeping pimples from coming back.

{ 1 comment... read them below or add one }

    I bought a Zeno 5 years ago and really really find it works on cystic acne, which I get a couple times a year. I just went to use it and the charger no longer works. I am desperately tying to contact them but can find no contact and their website doesn’t work! What happened? How can I reach them for customer support?

Leave a Comment


Facing Acne Navigation