Friday, February 12, 2010

Claro SX IPL Acne Clearing Device Review

For a lot of people, weight is an underlying factor for how comfortable they feel in public. For me, it's my face. Since 12 or 13, I've been at WAR with my pores, seeing countless dermatologists, going through hundreds of prescription creams, lotion and cleansers, and eventually I was treated with the controversial oral medication Accutane. I was 16 and I took the medicine for a year. Unfortunately for me, it didn't work as well as it did for others.

My skin changed with age, never getting great, but becoming manageable. With each pregnancy, my complexion changed and went through temperamental periods. Hormones went crazy post-pregnancy too and my face followed suit.

Now, I'm 25 and I have finally figured a way to keep the blemishes, blackheads and discoloration to a minimum. My only advice is to not completely follow someone else's routine - take a routine that's meant for your skin type and tweak it. If yours is as moody as mine, this can mean keeping a cleanser for dry skin and a cleanser for oily. A lotion for sensitive skin and a light lotion for Summer. I have a "light" blemish control cream and a heavy-hitting spot treatment and I also have two types of exfoliators. For me, it's a day-by-day evaluation of sorts. My skin can be dry for a few days in a row, and I treat accordingly, or not-so-dry and I go with another path.

When I heard about the Claro SX handheld light treatment, instantly I wanted to know more. This is similar to a spa treatment (like the Genesis - a laser light treatment for acne, discoloration and fine lines). The claims are that a few sessions with this device on a new blemish will lessen the size and redness as well as help the area heal faster.

Sounds great, right?

First Impression
The box is shiny - ok, that's nice, but does it work? We will get to that. With the device, you receive a pair of safety goggles (look exactly like the protective eyewear one would use in a tanning bed, only thicker), a charger and a detailed instructional manual.

The device comes in three colors - black, blue and hot pink (mine was hot pink and very sassy). I read through the instructions CAREFULLY, as I think it's a smidge insane (and useless) to get an expensive device like this and not use it properly.

First step - charge for 15 hours (In my head: "noooooo!! I want to use it now!!!")

First Use
I started on a new small bump on my cheek. I turned on the device by pressing the button once (it'll turn green to say it's ready), then I pressed the Claro SX firmly against my skin and it beeps to let you know it has made contact with your skin. After the beep, I pressed the button once more and the light flashes begin. Very important! Close your eyes or use the provided goggles. No sense in harming your eyes to achieve healthy skin!

You immediately feel the warmth of 6 light pulses which lasts about 6 seconds. The information provided (and other reviews) states that the Claro SX doesn't hurt, and for 90% of the times I used this it did not hurt at all, just warmth.

However, I'd hate for you to be completely mislead. On some skin types in certain areas the Claro SX's light pulses do feel a little "prickly". For me, I felt this around my nose or on my shoulders. This is completely normal, not too uncomfortable and only lasts 6 seconds, so it's not a big deal AT ALL.

Have you ever had a skin peel? THOSE hurt. This? Just a tiny sting for a few seconds and only on certain spots. If you've ever had an in-spa laser treatment, this is far less intense. Having a genesis treatment left me in tears.

For this first treatment, I did another spot and then came back to the original blemish as the instructions suggested. I treated two spots each with 2 applications of the Claro SX.

Initial Results
Within a day, both blemishes were smaller in size and not as irritated. But, I wanted to know more about how this machine would fit into my military-esque skin care routine.

How It Works
Ahh, the science. It helps to first understand the true causes of acne. Keep in mind that these vary for each person. In my case, I have hormonal issues, stress and damaged pores (which block bacteria causing repeat blemishes in the same spot) (these are the bane of my existence). The Claro SX works by using heat and light (or Intense Pulsed Light) to kill bacteria, open the pore, increase oxygen flow and
basically stimulate your own natural defense against blemishes. (other systems don't provide both)

For more, visit The Science of Claro.

How I Used It In My Skincare Routine
I began to treat any new blemishes that I felt would become "bad ones". I'd do a series of 2 flashes every 8 hours (not treating any one spot more than 2 times in a day). After 2-3 weeks I realized that I hadn't had a "horrible" pimple since I began using the Claro SX. It's THAT point that makes this product worth every penny.

One thing the other reviews and instructions did not mention as a "benefit" from using this product, but really helps with improving acne and the scars left behind -- using the Claro on a new blemish makes it "come to a head" very fast (sometimes within an hour or two). As a result, any blemish's life span is zapped!

Simply amazing.

Improvements That Could Make This Product Better
After using the Claro SX for a month (and counting!), I've come up with a few things that could be better.

My first one is super simple - on the top  there needs to be a line to ease "lining up" the part where the light comes out with the blemish you wish to treat. Here, I'll show you exactly what it needs:



See that tiny purple line? That would help line up the blemish you wish to treat with the circular window.

Often I'd find myself repositioning or questioning if I had the window over the blemish I wished to treat. After this review is posted and I no longer have the possible need for taking pictures of the Claro SX, I will be putting a mark on the top with a sharpie. Easy fix, no?

The only other "issue" I have with this is having to have a prescription to obtain it. Yes, it's simple to go to a dermatologist and request this, but that means taking the time to go to the doctor, paying a co-pay, presenting the idea and product to the doctor and praying for the prescription.

This treatment is extremely similar to those in spas or dertmatologist's offices, and you do not need a doctor to approve those. Yes, the technicians are trained and certified who do the treatments, but they are not physicians. I feel that as long as you are willing and able to read the instructions and follow them CAREFULLY, then possibly this product does not need a physician approval. However, I doubt this is Claro's problem, but rather some type of regulation set by the state.

Oh, and I'd like it if the eye protection provided had a strap (or if they would send me a third arm to hold them on while using the Claro SX).


What They Are Doing Right
A lot!

The Claro SX is portable, light-weight, sleek and effective. It's a little pricey at $275, but you could spend that in two treatments at a spa.

In other reviews I've read, some people have complained about the battery life. I do NOT know what those people were doing with this, or if they didn't charge it correctly on the initial charge, because my Claro SX only needs charging every 7-10 days.

More Information
If you are interested in taking a major step towards great skin, visit the Claro website. View a few before and after photos here (I'm way too embarrassed to post my own, but if you'd like some, I'll gladly share. Email me at agzaremba@gmail.com)

Over here you'll find a few safety pointers for the use of your Claro SX.
If you are still skeptical, but want more facts, these clinical studies will blow your mind. (I'm a clinical study dork)

You can also follow on Twitter for updated retail and product information here (@MyClaro) and view instructional videos at myclaro.com.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Winner...

And the winner of the 11-piece Abbey Dorm Room Essentials is.....

MammaChasa with this entry:

mammachasa said...

Wow-awesome way to redo a princess room to a grown-up kindergarten girl room. Swoon!!!!{cough} First comment ;)


Using a VERY high-tech method of "Conner pick a number" and each person was assigned a number... Chasity won with lucky number 9. Congrats!


Thanks to Bed, Bath & Beyond!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

GIVEAWAY! Abbey 11-piece Dorm Room Essentials by Bed, Bath & Beyond

EEKS! Free stuff time!!
The amazing people at Bed, Bath & Beyond have provided this for one lucky reader to win!


It's really nice, no?
Here's a breakdown of what ONE lucky reader will get:

Abbey 11-Piece Complete Dorm Room Ensemble

Get prepared for your new surroundings with this 11-piece dorm room ensemble. Abbey combines the fashion-forward colors of warm chocolate and fierce magenta with contemporary design.

Twin/Twin extra long set includes:

(1) 63" x 92" comforter

(1) standard sham

(1) standard pillowcase

(1) fitted and (1) flat sheet (Fitted sheet is 4" longer than a standard twin sheet and has a seam that provides a perfect fit on both twin and twin extra long bed sizes.)

(1) standard bed pillow

(2) two pink 25" x 44" bath towels

(1) dry-erase board with marker

(1) large pink hamper that measures 13 1/2" H x 13 1/2" W x 22 1/2" D.

Perfect for yourself or as a gift to that college-bound sister or daughter or friend or neighbor or babysitter or total stranger that just looks like they need a great bedding set to start the year off right.

Here's how this works:

First, I'd like to remind you that for all your college shopping needs, head on over to Bed, Bath and Beyond. They have a plethora of helpful tools, checklists and practical solutions. Also, check out their mailing list!

For some of my personal tips on things you really can't go without, visit my original post "College Dorm Shopping Heaven".


For entries:
Leave one (1) comment for your first entry.

Leave subsequent comments for each additional entry, for a maximum of three (3) -

ReTweet on Twitter, by copying and pasting the following: " Win an 11-piece bedding set courtesy of Bed, Bath & Beyond hosted by @TheMomJob http://themomjob.net #bedbath "

Blog about this giveaway, leaving a link to the post in the comments section.

No additional entries will be counted if the first comment is not left (I won't know how to find you!! Silly people)

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, Sept. 8th @ 10 PM CST
A winner will be chosen via random integer selection and posted by 11PM. If the winner does not claim their winnings within 48 hours, I reserve the right to chose another winner.

Good luck and thanks to Bed, Bath & Beyond!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

College Dorm Shopping Heaven: Bed, Bath & Beyond Style!

I started college at the only public, state-funded fine arts university in Alabama in the Fall of 2002 as a journalism major.
Although my roommates/dorm change situation would rival ANYONE (don't EVEN try), one of the best parts about sharing a 14x20 space with another person was shopping for all the things I'd needed to finally take the Big Step from living at home to living "alone". (I've mentioned before about my un-dieing love for all that is school-supply related)
Naturally, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and spent a nice chunk of the money I'd been saving throughout High School by working a slew of low-paying (yet, entertaining) jobs. My mom helped me with the necessities... and the things I "had to have" were on me.
At the time, I just wanted what was cheapest and was functional. I bought a baby blue reversible bedspread and my first "throw". It's amazing how excited you get over buying a blanket that's just yours. When I bought it, I remember thinking "I'm probably going to have this for a long time..." And that turned out to be completely true - Conner slept with it just last night.
The University of Montevallo's Housing Department sent out a list of suggested items: bath caddy, shower shoes, bed risers, under bed storage, shoe rack, extra-long sheets, a mini-fridge, etc.
Back then, it was difficult to even find extra-long sheets, and Sara and I (my eventual roommate after a merry-go-round-a-la-HELL of room switches) made the best of what we could find. She had curtains, and an amazingly soft pink duvet. We painted a desk that was surely circa 1950.
With no help, we managed to shimmy and sweat a love-seat from the depths of the attic in our Dorm Hall (the building is a historical landmark, it's over 100 years old...). The couch was NASTY, to say the very, very least. We covered it with my blue throw, then with a pink sheet and some pink fabric (in case you aren't following, Sara really liked pink :) ).
There was no space unused.
My bed backed up to the entry wall. At the end of the foot rail was our mini-fridge (I purchased!) on cinder blocks. With no space in between, next sat a tall, plastic stack of shelves (we used it for everything between a pantry, storage and books...), a garbage can was smashed between that bookcase and our in-room sink (ooh lala).
Sara's bed ran the length of the window facing the sink and met the back corner. Between the end of her bed and the sink was probably the only "free" space (necessary to brush your teeth) we had other than the middle of the room. Next to her bed, (with no room) was our dresser and on the other side of that was our love seat (facing the tv that was on top of the fridge). Right next to that was a sideways facing desk that we could never actually sit at, because the love seat blocked the drawers.
That took up every inch of wall space in our dorm. It worked for us, but I still believe that if we were to have taken that furniture out and tried to put it back in, it wouldn't have all fit....
Here's a visual for those of you who I lost 3 paragraphs ago:
So today, I received the College Sale Catalog from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Just as I slobber all over school supplies every July/August, I drooled on this thing. The market for college-bound kids these days is EXPLOSIVE and they offer all the things I never knew I could have but totally needed!
The space savers! The nick-knacks! The all-in-one 11-piece extra-long coordinating bedding!
Like these things: (all courtesy of Bed, Bath and Beyond)
Fits under your mattress for easy access. How many times did I almost break my neck digging my cell phone out from between my 600 pound bed and the wall?
I LURVE that these have hoodies and aren't long - because I'm short, my robe always drug the ground - GROSS!
I had a long, plastic tub for under bed storage and anytime I needed something out, it was nothing short of an Olympic trial to maneuver. This thing has POCKETS! And a HANDLE! And is MESH so it doesn't weigh 4,000 tons when trying to bring it up or down THREE FULL FLIGHTS OF STAIRS! Swoon.
This thing is the Holy Grail of College Must-Haves that I didn't have... SIGH. It goes behind your bed to provide shelving above your head! It has a cup holder, a clip for your phone charger cord and a dock for it, adjustable shelving and hooks for your knick-knacks. I MIGHT HAVE ACTUALLY STUDIED (mom, you didn't read that - it was a complete illusion...) had this been available...
WHY OH WHY DID THEY NOT HAVE THESE THINGS WHEN I WAS LOCKED IN DORM HELL??
I want a do-over!
Update:
The Fabulous People at Bed, Bath & Beyond have amazing resources (that I must admit, I'm completely jealous of) available for the college-bound student. My absolute fav is this checklist:
Additionally, I'd recommend signing up for their mailing list, go here to do just that!
And coming soon (whenever I can manage to actually host a giveaway...) is this amazing 11-piece dorm essentials set:
(more on THAT later!!)
All courtesy of:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh, the LEGALITIES

**Full Disclosure**
Yup. You guessed it.

Occasionally, believe it or not, some very, very smart and beautiful/handsome companies and PR gurus contact The Mom Job in hopes that I’ll review their product… Shocker.

In compliance with Full Disclosure (big thanks to the FTC for that one…), I’m letting you know that I gladly accept these free items, but reserve the right to review both the pros and cons of the product. I do not, generally, accept items for review that do not appeal to my demographic (so… I won’t be needing that free month of penis enlargement pills… but thanks). I also reserve the right to accept a product, totally hate it, and send it back.

Lucky for those very, very smart and beautiful/handsome companies and PR gurus, I just happen to have a degree in PR, so I understand what it takes to grind those gears.

It’s also (apparently) necessary for me to tell you that I get these items for free, and although it hasn’t happened yet, I would gladly accept a monetary reimbursement for the review, especially if I need to ship an item - which costs money... hint. hint. (seeing as I took the time and effort to use the product, type up a review and host a giveaway… ).

In case you are one of those very, very smart and beautiful/handsome companies or PR gurus that wish to have your product reviewed by The Mom Job, I feel it’s only proper to tell you that I prefer to host a giveaway with all reviews. This can be done by sending duplicates of the item you are wishing to have reviewed, sending a related product from your arsenal of goodies, offering to send an item after the winner is chosen, or providing a gift card for the winner.

I do this for two reasons. One, my dedicated readers have taken the time to read your review and are now exposed to your product (kudos). Second, if you provide something for a giveaway, traffic picks up and exposes your product to a wider audience. For additional entries, I ask entrants to re-tweet, re-post and occasionally use other social networking sites to promote the giveaway - thus providing your product exponential exposure. See? Win-win-win.

Oh, and on occasion, I also get paid to write. Double shocker. When that happens, I will provide a link to this disclosure. That’s my secret handshake version of telling you “hey, YOU! I got BANK for this one…”. Feel free to send me a virtual high five.