As a result of the problems with the Neutrogena Light Mask, in July 2019 J&J issued a nationwide recall for the device, citing “reports of mild, transient visual adverse events, combined with a growing scientific discussion around the safety of blue light” in consumers with pre-existing eye injuries, and those who take medications which make them sensitive to light," according to The New York Times.
What is the Neutrogena Light Mask?
The Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask and Activator is an acne treatment device that “kills acne bacteria and fights inflammation,” according to J&J. The mask works by gently penetrating the skin at various depths to stimulate the skin's physiology, according to Amazon. Blue light targets acne-causing bacteria while red light reduces acne inflammation.
According to Johnson & Johnson, the acne mask comes with 1 activator, and is intended for use 10 minutes at a time, with a total of 30 treatments per package. The Neutrogena Light Mask retails for between $30 and $40, making it one of the more affordable acne masks on the U.S. market.
Acne Treatment Side Effects
- Eye Injuries
- Eye Pain or Discomfort
- Eye Damage
- Blurring of Vision
- Seeing Spots or Flashes of Light
- Other Changes in Vision
Neutrogena Recall Missed by Many
News of the Neutrogena Light Mask Recall was missed by many consumers until mid-July, when the Australian Department of Health (Therapeutic Goods Administration, or TGA) issued a consumer-level recall and provided additional information. According to the TGA recall letter, Neutrogena Acne Mask “has been identified that, for a small subset of potentially susceptible people (including people with certain eye-related disorders e.g. retinitis pigmentosa, ocular albinism, other congenital retinal disorders), repeated exposure may cause varying degrees of retinal damage that could be irreversible and could accelerate peripheral vision impairment or loss.”
Neutrogena Class Action Claims Acne Wash is Falsely Advertised
A recently-filed class action lawsuit alleges that the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is falsely advertised as supplying a full 30-day acne treatment, when in reality it contains an actuator that fails earlier than that. The product’s instructions state that activators are good for a 30-day period, and that the user will have to buy a new activator after the period expires.
However, according to the class action, the acne treatment does not last a full 30 days. This constitutes an act of fraud, according to the class members, due to an action of planned obsolescence. In this case, ‘planned obsolescence’ refers to a product manufacturers design to quickly become outdated, requiring additional purchases at regular intervals in order to stay up-to-date.
The class action is: Rebecca Correia v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., Case No. 2:18-cv-09918-PSG-AS, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
What to Do if You Purchased an Acne Mask
If you own or use a Neutrogena Light Mask, TGA recommends that you stop using it immediately, even if you do not have a pre-existing eye condition or take medication that may affect your vision. Contact Johnson & Johnson for additional inquiries, and for information about a possible refund/exchange.