So much time at home has really done a number on our skincare. I don’t know whether it’s from finding something to control in an uncontrollable world or simply having the time to actually take care of our skin, but the world has been mastering the art of skincare.
From pimple patches to dermaplaning and retinol serums, there is an endless supply of options ready to meet any of your unique needs.
But even the best skincare routine can’t completely eliminate maskne or the sudden awareness of every blemish that was hiding on our bodies.
Whether you are on the front lines in the battle against acne or just have the occasional (but totally embarrassing) lone pimple pop up at the worst time, red light therapy has come into the scene at just the right time.
In this wide world, we’re going to cover the ins and outs of the DemarkQ Wow, so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you. But first, let’s talk a bit about red light therapy in general.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy has been around since 1896, when Dr. Finsen first used it to treat a type of tuberculosis. Since then, light therapy has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including neonatal jaundice, mood disorders, macular degeneration and possibly even brain disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Today, red light therapy (also called low-level laser therapy and photobiomodulation) is used to treat dental pain, osteoarthritis and acne. In addition to clearing blemishes, RLT is also said to reduce wrinkles and improve your skin’s overall appearance.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report that it’s not! Like all great gadgets, there are some risks to red light therapy. But the risks are so small that they’re hardly worth writing them out. But since we like to be thorough here at ChatterSource, you’ll find them below.
Red Light Therapy Risks
Technically, there is an inherent risk in just about anything you do. Taking a bath? You could drown. Curling your hair? You may burn your hand, head or even cause a fire that takes out your whole house.
Similarly, if you plan to use red light therapy, you may find yourself with some eye strain and headaches. Now, I can personally attest to the eye strain. As a survivor of the overplucked eyebrow and tanning bed days, I spent a decent amount of time in a tanning bed as a teenager, so I’m no newbie to bright lights.
It may be the fact that it’s a different kind of light or that my eyes were a bit better then, but when I put those familiar black goggles on and turned my WOW on, I was shocked at bright it still was. I have light eyes, so maybe that’s why? Regardless, I did finish out the whole session and didn’t have any lingering strain or headaches—and I’m very prone to headaches.
Now that you know a little more about red light therapy, let’s get onto the actual device and the company behind the technology.
Who is DemarkQ?
DemarkQ is a somewhat mysterious brand in the red light industry. But while we don’t know a whole lot about how this Dutch company began, we do know that they are making a name for themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Founders Dennis, Michael and Kim were frustrated with the invasive and irritating skin care solutions on the market. So they decided to find something better.
The trio combined state-of-the-art technology to harness both red and blue lights. The result? A perfect blend of antibacterial and healing properties for overall clear and healthy skin.
Technically, DemarkQ focuses on Gen-Zers. But as a millennial, I have definitely been enjoying the fruits of this little gadget.
Related: The 15 Best Acne Patches For Stubborn Skin [Complete Guide]
DemarkQ offers three different devices. For the occasional pimple, the Tiny Zit Zapper (POW) is the gadget you’ll want. It’s handheld, easy to transport and is the most affordable option at just $59.
If you get more regular acne, you’ll do best to upgrade to the Reocurring Acne Disrupter (POP). The POP will cover more surface area but is still easily transportable as it is similar in size to a smartphone.
Finally, for a full face (or body) treatment, the WOW is the biggest device. It’s similar in size to a tablet and opens fully to reveal two lighted screens. I couldn’t decide if I felt more like a movie star tanning with a reflector or someone in a sci-fi movie.
It’s probably no surprise that the biggest of the machines will ring in with the biggest price tag, so you should expect to spend $350 for the WOW. This is the machine we tested out. One cool thing about DemarkQ is that they offer free shipping around the world, so you won’t get stuck with some astronomical last-minute fee as you checkout.
Our Experience with the Big Bright Acne Buster (WOW)
For this review, I brought in one of my dearest friends. I have that occasional acne type of skin. My biggest blemish culprits are stress, resting my face in my hands and drool on my pillow. (Who honestly gets enough air at night with their mouth closed?!) I also have rosacea, eczema and tend to run very dry-skinned, although all are pretty mild at the moment.
My gal friend Julie, however, is on the other side of the spectrum. She struggles with cystic and intense hormonal acne. As a result, she is always on the hunt for good skincare. And through the years, she has acquired some scar tissue and an overall bumpy skin texture.
While I dabbled in the device, Julie actually used it (almost) daily for four weeks.
Here is our combined experience of the WOW split into three major categories—design, usability and effectiveness. We’ll also point out the things we wish we could change.
The WOW Design
Whoever designed the WOW must have been happy, because it shows! The device arrived in a fun box that I was actually excited to open. The outside was covered in fun graphics, and when I opened it up, I found a quote by Kahlil Gibran, “Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart” and a handwritten note. I’m not sure if that’s customary, but I loved the personalized touch!
As I mentioned before, the WOW looks a lot like a tablet, a yellow tablet full of cheer, that is. It comes with a grey fabric carrying case and a nice pocket that actually holds everything you need it to. Unlike some other red light therapy devices which look a bit like Dwight Shrute after his CPR lesson, this handy device is sleek and easy to carry. It fits nicely in a suitcase, duffle bag or even backpack, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
The screens are truly reflective, and I had a hard time capturing any kind of photo without the added awkward selfie. There are no dings here though because that light reflection is a good thing in the red light world.
How Does it Handle?
As is true with most things, the best thing about the WOW device is also the biggest downfall: it’s big. While we love the surface area covered by this machine, it did prove a bit awkward to hold.
As per the instructions, Julie held it up to her face for 6 minutes each day. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, time starts moving slow when you get into an awkward position. As a result, the first few days were full of struggle. But once she discovered she could lay on her stomach, open it up like a book and put her face into it, everything changed.
Something Julie would have loved to see is some photos or very clear directions about how to position yourself with the WOW. Ultimately, she was able to find something that worked for her, but the whole thing could have been more enjoyable with a few sample photos.
Once you find a position that works for you, the design benefits really kick in. Because it opens up flat, you can adjust it to target whatever area you want to hit. Julie only used it on her face, although the device can be used anywhere on the body that you experience some acne. It also helps as you navigate how close you want to get to the screen.
As I indicated earlier, I was seeing stars even through closed eyes and the little black goggles. Julie experienced the same but only when her goggles weren’t adjusted in the right way. When they were placed correctly, she could open her eyes and not see any of the light.
So plan on taking the time to adjust the goggles the right way. It’s worth it.
Charging Your WOW
The WOW seems to hold a charge pretty well; we only had to charge it every few days. However, one major wishlist item would be a battery indicator to let you know when the battery was running low. We wouldn’t know it was close to dying until it just didn’t turn on or it died in the middle of a session.
Also, never sure how long it took to charge, Julie just left it plugged in overnight. Was that excessive? Probably. But it wasn’t worth risking a mid-session letdown.
How the WOW Worked for Us
The DemarkQ website notes that 93% of people reported their skin to be clearer, less oily and more radiant after using the DemarkQ for 2-4 weeks.
Julie is one of that 93%.
In the before picture, Julie’s face was inflamed and visibly irritated. Her breakouts and acne scars were hidden in the conglomerate of redness. However, in the after picture, she noticed significantly less redness and overall more healthy skin. With less redness, she can really get a clear picture of the acne and scars underneath and begin to actually treat those specific areas.
She also noticed that when she did experience a breakout, it would heal significantly faster. Where cystic acne would sometimes spend months building under the skin, she found that the WOW sped up the cycle, and she moved into the healing phase in just a few weeks.
A mom of two young boys, Julie found it a little awkward and difficult to sit still and be fully consumed in the product for six straight minutes. We’ve seen red light masks run as long as 20 minutes though, so six doesn’t really seem so bad. And despite the awkward “Stop beating on your brother” moments, using the WOW was worth the time and more due to the simple fact it alleviates the need for chemicals.
Anyone who has acne or rosacea knows that dealing with your moisture barrier is a big deal. A lot of times, chemicals can be too harsh for that moisture barrier, so it actually makes your skin more prone to acne. So the fact that it’s time-consuming is offset by the fact you can treat it without damaging your moisture barrier. It’s also great for sensitive skin.
A Brief Disclaimer
Julie’s acne is both hormonal and cyclical. While four weeks is a pretty good amount of time to get to know a product, it wasn’t enough time for her to move completely through her cycle to get the full picture. She would have preferred to use it for three months to really get a sense of how it affected her cycles.
Also, she went on vacation a week before the after photo was taken and did not use the device consistently while she was out of town. She attributes her new breakouts to the stress of travel and not using her WOW consistently during her trip.
Although we have yet to see how it impacts Julie’s cyclical acne, we have been very pleased with the DemarkQ WOW. She is still currently loving it for its treatment in rosacea and her skin tone. And I can’t wait to get my hands on it for seasonal depression this winter.
It is a bit pricey at $349, but if it holds up and continues to deliver good results, this little machine is totally worth the investment. (And let’s be honest, you can easily spend that much on skincare in a year).
So whether you have acne, rosacea, psoriasis or some other skin condition, red light therapy is a great, non-invasive option. And if you are just starting out, you can’t go wrong with the DemarkQ WOW.
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