Zeno Acne Clearing Device Review

Review of the Zeno Hot Spot Blemish Clearing Device

Zeno Hot Spot blemish clearing device

A lot of beauty blogs and mags have been singing the praises of Zeno Hot Spot, so naturally I couldn't wait to get one of my own. But now I'm left to wonder, did they actually try the thing? Am I the only one who wasn't blown away by Zeno Hot Spot? Because I wasn't, not by a long shot.

Zeno Hot Spot is a hand-held device used to spot treat individual pimples. It's meant for people who have mild to moderate inflammatory acne. You can get it over the counter.

The idea sounds good -- an at-home zit zapper!  The device itself is small, just a couple of inches tall, and runs off of two AA batteries. You get your choice of two colors: bright pink or sky blue.

I saw one at Rite-Aid and bought it, even though it came with a $40 price tag. Both color choices were nice, and I went with the blue.

Zeno Hot Spot has a small metal tip that heats up to a preset temperature (that's why they call it hot spot, I guess.) First, you remove the cap and press the ON button. The device will chime and light up.

Then, touch the metal tip to a pimple. The tip will immediately get warm… very warm.

Hold the tip against the pimple for two-and-a-half minutes. The device will beep at 30-second intervals, to let you know it's still on and doing its thing. After the 2 1/2 minutes are up, it will chime again and turn itself off. Each blemish can be treated up to 3 times in 12 hours.

According to the box, the heat generated by Zeno Hot Spot kills the bacteria found in inflamed pimples. Interestingly (or maybe not), the product insert itself doesn't say anything about the science behind how it works.

The box said nothing about the fact it that each device has just 80 total uses, so I was a bit taken by surprise once I tore into it and discovered this fact in the package insert. Doing some quick math, treating each pimple 3 times as recommended, Zeno Hot Spot would treat about 26 total pimples before running out. That means if I treated just 2 per day, my Zeno device would konk out after 2 weeks. Bummer.

Price-wise, it comes out to over $1.50 per pimple treated. Way more expensive than a traditional spot treatment. But if it worked, it would so be money well spent.

I had several pimples at different stages of development to try it out on. I was a bit unprepared for how warm the tip actually got. I didn't mind it (it actually felt rather nice) but a couple of my other testers couldn't handle the heat. It was too uncomfortable.

I also found it a bit difficult to tell if the tip was actually on the pimple (rather than just beside it). I attributed this to the rather wide base the metal tip sits on. If it were narrower, it would be easier to see exactly where the metal tip was placed.

The instruction manual says not to use Zeno Hot Spot on nodules or cystic breakouts. Seems prudent.

But it also goes on to say it should not be used on pustules (those pimples that have a white head) either. That basically narrows down use on just papules, or red pimples that haven't yet come to a head. I don't know about you, but at least half of the pimples I have get white heads to them, usually before I even realize I'm getting a zit. That cuts down on my ability to actually use the device quite a bit.

Over the course of several weeks, I zapped any papule that popped up and waited for them to shrink. I was sorely disappointed.

The box says that 90% of all pimples treated got smaller or disappeared within 24 hours. Really? That wasn't my experience at all. I didn't see much improvement of any blemish treated with the device; I never had a blemish disappear.

Plus, it takes time. Each treatment is 2 1/2 minutes long, and each blemish can be treated up to three times in 12 hours. Multiply that by several blemishes, and you have quite a bit of time taken up zapping zits.

I really wanted this product to work, but in the end I had to admit that it was a big, fat dud. Maybe it works OK for those people who get teeny, tiny pimples once in a blue moon. But that's a big maybe.

For those of us with actual breakouts, Zeno Hot Spot is not worth the money. Use that cash instead as your co-pay for a visit to your dermatologist. Much better results for your money.


$39.99 buys the device, which lasts for 80 treatments. The device has a light indicator to show you how many uses are left.

Where You Can Buy It

Stores like Target, Wal-mart, and most drug stores (I bought mine at Rite-Aid).  You can also get it at at online retailers.


  • Ummm...


  • It's expensive compared to other OTC spot treatments.
  • At 2 1/2 minutes per treatment, per pimple, it takes up a lot of time.
  • Although the tip doesn't get exceptionally hot, it's uncomfortable for some people.
  • The ON button is sensitive. It's way too easy to accidentally turn the device on.
  • It doesn't seem to do much, if anything, for pimples.

The Bottom Line

It's not a miracle treatment by a long shot.  And it won't clear up a case acne.  For that, you'd needproven acne treatments.  You'll be much happier with the results too.

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