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

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


  1. i love this product, it reduced my acne and i was also able to use it on the acne located in my pubic region.. it works very well and i have no more acne on my vagina

    1. you had spots on your pussy?

  2. Congratulations on your acne free vagina.
    I'm sure everyone's glad for you.

  3. can i lick your vagina now it has no acne on it call me

  4. Thank You for the review!

  5. Thank you Amanda for your review of the Claro. I am a webmaster for Acne Light Reviews. You have added real details as to how the Claro works and how it has worked for you. I am going to add a link to your site from mine. I wonder if the company took any of your suggestions seriously.

  6. My skin has also been the bane of my existence my whole life. You can imagine how I feel at 55 to have a resurgence of acne that is actually leaving scars! The doctors just shrug. They're probably thinking "you're past your expiration date anyway, why do you give a rat's a?" My gyno said the pill might help, but--(in an incredulous tone) really? you would go on the pill just to have clear skin? Me: "Uh, fuck yeah." So anyway, thanks for the Claro review, I'm ordering it now.

    1. Well, did you order it? How does it work? July 28, 2012. I gots to no!