iPhone App Claims to Treat Acne With Light

Could an iPhone application treat acne? A Texas dermatologist seems to think so.

The AcneApp, launched by Houston-based Dr. Greg Pearson, claims to use red and blue light to fight blemishes and improve the health of one's skin.

Dr. Pearson did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com, but the application's Web site said, "Studies showed that light treatments were almost twice as effective as benzoyl peroxide, the main ingredient in Proactiv and other common over-the-counter blemish treatments."

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According the Web site, users of the application choose a color -- red light is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and blue light is said to fight bacteria -- and then hold the iPhone against their skins' acne-prone areas for two minutes each day.

Citing a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, AcneApp said treatments alternating red and blue light have been shown to eliminate an acne-causing bacteria and reduce skin blemishes up to 76 percent of the time.

Dr. David Pariser, a dermatologist from Norfolk, Va., who is president of the American Academy of Dermatologists, said that though studies have indeed shown that red and blue light can help your skin, he doubted that this particular application could do the trick.

"It's true that the light sources do help acne," he said. "The mechanism by which it works is that it kills p-acne bacteria."

But he said that in a doctor's office, a patient's skin would be exposed to far stronger light than an iPhone screen gives off, and for longer periods of time. In order for the treatment to be effective, he said skin should be exposed to blue light for about 16 minutes and red light for six to eight minutes per session. (Most patients would undergo treatment once a month for several months, he said.)

"You really have to have extremely intense light that requires protection of your eyes," he said. "It's not very likely you're going to get enough light out of the screen of an iPhone to make a difference."

Dr. Pariser said he wouldn't be able to give an opinion without seeing the results of clinical trials (which the application has not undergone), but said that though the application would likely not hurt anyone, it would also likely not help much either.

"The principle is correct," he said. "But I really doubt that this specific application of it would make much diference."

Reviews from people who have downloaded the $1.99 AcneApp from Apple's AppStore have been mixed.

"I was very hesitant to purchase this at first because I thought it was simply exploiting peoples' insecurities, but it works!" said one user.

Another was more skeptical: "Anyone have proof? How long did it take to work [?]"

The AcneApp is just one of about 100,000 applications available in Apple's App store.

Here is a sampling of some others:

Virgin Atlantic App Helps Fight Fear of Flying

If a fear of flying keeps you grounded, Virgin Atlantic has a new iPhone application just for you.

Launched in partnership with developer Mental Workout, the new application is based on (and named after) the airline's Flying Without Fear course, which the company says has a 98 percent success rate.

The application, available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, includes relaxation and fear therapy exercises, frequently asked questions and a video that explains a flight from start to finish.

It even features a "fear attack button" for emergencies, with breathing exercises and quick tips.

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