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Review: Everything You Need to Know About the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is a completely different kind of acne treatment. Instead of creams, gels, or pills, you might be able to use light to clear up your acne. Although it isn’t the perfect treatment for everyone, the research and the reviews reveal that the Neutrogena light mask may be surprisingly effective. It might seem crazy that simply shining a light on your skin could help get rid of your acne you’ve been trying to banish for years, but the research shows that it really can work. Light therapy might the latest trend in acne treatment, but rest assured, it is much more than an internet fad. It is a well-researched treatment option with promising results, and the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask could be the perfect solution for people with mild to moderate acne.


  • Red light is best for blackheads and whiteheads, as it reduces oil production and helps remove oil that has built up in the pores when paired with a good exfoliant.
  • Blue light kills acne-causing bacteria, helping to reduce pimples and even cysts.
  • Although the Neutrogena light mask can help reduce all kinds of acne, it is most effective when treating mild to moderate acne; stronger lights are needed to treat more severe acne.
  • The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment is a better option for those who only get isolated breakouts and do not have all-over acne.
  • The Neutrogena light mask offers light therapy at a relatively affordable price (but make sure to factor in the monthly cost for a new activator).
acne mask
The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask helps reduce acne using both red and blue light.

How Exactly Does the Neutrogena Light Mask Work?

The Neutrogena light mask works by exposing the skin to both red and blue light, which have been proven to reduce acne. Blue light primarily fights against pimples because it kills acne-causing bacteria, while red light fights blackheads and whiteheads by reducing the amount of oil produced by our oil-production glands. Sound hard to believe? We thought so too at first, but the research shows that blue and red light really can help reduce acne. For more information on how it works, check out our article on the science behind light therapy for acne.

The Neutrogena light mask utilizes both red and blue light in order to fight all kinds of acne. Embedded in the mask are approximately 20 LED lights, half red half blue, and with one click of the activator, the lights will turn on for 10 minutes. This might seem like a short amount of time, but you actually don’t want to expose your skin to lights for too long because it can dry out and cause irritation, which might actually cause more acne, not less.

Although Neutrogena seems to be doing everything right by using both red and blue light and limiting uses to only 10 minutes, dermatologists aren’t convinced that the Neutrogena light mask is quite as effective as the devices used in the studies supporting acne light therapy. The studies that prove the effectiveness of acne light therapy use much stronger lights than the LED ones used in the Neutrogena light mask, and dermatologists can’t say for sure that the mask will provide similar results.

What the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask Reviews Have to Say

Based on thousands of Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask reviews found on Neutrogena’s site, Amazon, and Influenster, we’ve determined that the light mask works for some, but not all, and it comes with a few major annoyances. Many people claimed that they noticed improvement in their skin after even one use, and with repeated use, they saw their acne decrease significantly. However, others said they used the mask every day for a month and noticed no change at all. Still others noted that while they didn’t see a difference in their acne, they did notice burning on their face and eyelids after a few uses.

Based on the reviews, it seems that the mask is surprisingly effective in treating cystic acne, a form of acne that is notoriously difficult to treat. There were also positive reviews for those with blackheads and whiteheads, just fewer. A few people noted that the mask helped reduce their scarring left behind by acne, but many people said it had no effect whatsoever on their scars.

So it seems that the Neutrogena light mask is a gamble, but one with decently good odds. However, there are still downsides. Many, many reviews revealed that after a month or so, the blue lights in the mask often stop working. If you have no pimples or cysts, this might not be a big problem, but it’s still disappointing that it stops working as designed so quickly. The other major problem is the activator. In order to use the mask, you need an activator that comes with 30 uses. This “activator” is basically just a light switch and there is no reason it should be limited to only 30 uses. It appears that Neutrogena has simply done this to make sure people have to buy a new $15 activator every 30 days.

The Neutrogena Light Mask Brings Affordable Acne Light Therapy to All

Despite the fact that the repeated activator cost seems like a bit of a scam, the Neutrogena Light Mask is still one of the most affordable forms of acne light therapy available right now. Acne light therapy offered at a dermatology office typically costs anywhere from $40 to $150 per session, making the Neutrogena light mask a much more cost-effective solution for anyone looking to use light therapy on a regular basis. The mask and the first activator only cost $35, and each new activator after that point is $15.

What About the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment?

neutrogena acne light therapy
Although the price of a new activator every 30 days adds to its cost, the Neutrogena light mask is still much more affordable than procedures offered in a dermatologist’s office.

If you only get occasional breakouts and don’t need all-over treatment, Neutrogena also offers a Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment. Instead of a mask, this is a small pen with three LED lights, two blue and one red. It’s comparable in price to the mask at only $25, and there’s no activator necessary with the spot treatment pen. However, it only works on very small areas, so if you have breakouts all over, the mask may be a better solution. If you have neck and body acne that the mask doesn’t reach, the spot treatment pen could be a good option for affordable light therapy rather than having to go to a dermatologist.

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