The Tanda Regenerate Anti-Aging Starter Kit or Acne Kit ($250, Sephora.com)
The claim: "A light therapy device combining proven light therapy and botanically-based, light-optimized topicals to provide natural, non-invasive, scientifically proven solutions for common unwanted skin conditions."
Jacob: "The regenerative red light-emitting diode has been shown in studies to stimulate collagen production. But it does it in such a microscopic way that you may not be able to notice anything macroscopical or in a photograph. Also, the Tanda is such a small device…. It takes several minutes to do just part of your face, and then you're supposed to do it several times a week for the best results."
Somerville: "With the blue light [for acne], you may see some results, just because it does kill what we call P-acne cells, which cause breakouts, but it's going to take you a long time to get there."
Go Smile Whitening Light System ($169, Gosmile.com) and GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device ($275, GLOscience.com)
What they are: The Go Smile Whitening Light is a small device with a light that you shine on your teeth after applying the hydrogen peroxide-based serum. To use the GLO Brilliant Personal Teeth Whitening Device system, apply the lip-care product and tooth gel, then insert the mouthpiece, which shines a light.
The claims: Go Smile — "The powerful whitening light is specially designed to work together with our whitening ampoules to bring dentist-quality whitening into your home while eliminating sensitivity." GLO Brilliant — "The patent-pending Guided Light Optics technology radically redefines the teeth whitening experience by using heat and light to accelerate and stabilize the whitening results… GLO whitening goes beyond the professional whitening you would get at the dentist's office."
Hewlett: "They both use hydrogen peroxide, which is what virtually all whitening products use that are supplied by the dentist or available from other means. So there is every expectation that by using these products…your teeth are going to get whiter."
But as for light accelerating the whitening activity, "it's still widely debated if light activation has any effect on the whitening process," he says. But "GLO Brilliant claims that the light actually provides some heat as well.… Heating the peroxide can actually hasten the activity of it."
Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System ($185, Clarisonic.com)
What it is: The makers of the popular Classic and Mia cleansing tools branch out with their Opal Sonic Infusion System, a tool that massages serum directly into the skin.
The claim: "The Opal is specially designed to help build skin's resilience over time and prevent future damage around the eyes."
Moy: "There's no good evidence that this is better than putting on some Tretinoin cream, Renova, Retin-A, stuff like that." He adds that some glycolic acids, DNA repair enzyme creams and peels also have good scientific data proving their effectiveness.
The bottom line on the new wave of high-tech gadgets? Some are worth trying, but it's always good to do some research first.
"The beauty industry is really good at exaggerating… marketing a fancy bottle or a fancy gadget," Moy says. "But if a company has good scientific data that include proven and published placebo-controlled clinical studies, the company makes those studies accessible on their website. If instead they have 22 reviews of people who anecdotally say it works great, that could have been their mother and their grandmother and employees saying that."