I have brought out Oh-Really-Owl for this particular post as our icon of dubiousness. In previous posts I have been talking about how apps can help patients cope with or manage their particular illness or medical condition. For example there are some really good apps out there to help us with depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. While I was researching these medical apps I also came across an app which is supposed to cure acne. This finding caused me to instinctively raise an eyebrow and ask, “Oh really?”
Acne can be a very difficult skin condition to manage. There can be periods of time when your skin looks great and then, for whatever reason, your acne comes back with a vengeance. Having to deal with acne can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety especially if you have been dealing with it for a long time. I have been battling my adult acne for decades now and I am well into my forties. I can tell you from experience that this skin condition can be extremely frustrating to cope with and it is very tempting to try anything and everything to clear it up. Our drugstores are full of acne products. There are many lengthy commercials on TV to describe the latest cleansers, creams, and expensive systems to get rid of your acne. But this is the first time I had ever heard of an app to cure acne so I had to check it out.
The app is called AcneApp by DermApps and is sold for the iPhone, Ipod Touch, and the iPad for about two bucks. Doctor Greg Pearson, a Houston dermatologist and app developer, claims you can clear up your acne with his app while talking on the phone. This app has been around for quite awhile. The New York Times ran a story about this back in 2009.
How are you supposed to use this app?
The app emits blue and red lights from your iPhone screen which you are supposed to hold up to your acne affected skin for two minutes per area. Apparently the blue light is supposed to fight bacteria and the red light helps to heal the skin by decreasing inflammation. The directions say you can use the app as often as desired.
One of the interesting things about some of these medical apps is that there is no FDA approval process. The developer of this app cannot claim that his app has any medical benefits. In fact there is a disclaimer where you purchase this app which states that: This app is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended for treatment of any disease or medical condition.
Is there any science behind Dr. Pearson’s theory that his app can clear up acne?
Well…kinda sorta. On My Fox Houston Doctor Pearson explained that, “It's really based on some science.” Well that’s encouraging that some science was involved. On the app purchase page they mention a study from the British Journal of Dermatology which is supposed to show that blue and red light treatments are twice as effective as benzoyl peroxide, a popular over the counter acne treatment. What they fail to mention is that other experts and doctors report a low efficacy rate for blue and red light acne therapy and that it takes many treatments before you see any results (88 or more). In addition they are talking about results they see in a controlled medical environment using the proper equipment and under a doctor’s supervision. There is no way to know if the specific light wavelength coming out of your iPhone is the right one to help clear up acne or if it is even safe.
I have not purchased this app nor have I tried it on my acne. I think I am going to save my two bucks this time despite some of the glowing testimonials from some of the users of this app. If you suffer from acne see a dermatologist. This is the best way to get reliable and trustworthy guidance on how to clear up your skin.
For more information about acne and how to treat it please refer to the following articles:
Published On: March 07, 2011