single mom

Tanda Zap (review)

I can honestly count on one hand the number of breakouts I had as a teenager.

Seriously. I was blessed with clear skin that rarely broke out throughout junior high and high school, with one “real” breakout in grade 10 which I remember vividly because I was terrified that it was going to last. Figuring I was just lucky, I delved into the world of my 20’s without so much as a thought that I might have more than the occasional pimple once a month. 

Then I had F.

I’ve had more acne in the past two years than I’ve had in my entire life. I spend most of my time with a series of little blemishes just to the right of my chin between my jawline and the corner of my mouth. I tried the oil cleansing method. I cut pop out of my diet. I even reduced my caffeine intake. I switched moisturizers, multiple times. I changed cleansers. I bought OTC acne products, and I spent a lot of time looking up natural methods of clearing up breakouts. Fact: cinnamon and honey does work, but it’s a bitch to get out of your pillowcase if you consider doing the whole overnight treatment mask thing. 

One of the benefits of tanning is that it clears up my acne in about three sessions. The downside is that my acne decides to come back about a week or two after I stop soaking up the UV rays. The truth is a little cluster of blemishes is a pretty tiny deal in comparison to, you know, skin cancer and advanced photoaging of my skin. But the blemishes bother me nevertheless, and while I can photoshop the heck out them in portraits I can’t always do the same in real life. When my mom mentioned seeing a blue light machine at Shopper’s Drug Mart, I expected it to be outrageously overpriced but I went in to check it out anyway.

Spoiler alert: The Tanda Zap is totally reasonable! Yay!


At $49 CAD plus taxes, the Tanda Zap is cheaper than visiting a dermatologist and considerably cheaper than purchasing an acne treatment collection such as Pro-Activ (which I have never used, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness). Most reviewers say that they had to replace their Tanda about once a year – which seems more than reasonable to me. Supposing I had to replace it twice a year, it would still cost me less than ten dollars a month to use. 

But the real question remained: will it work?

After purchasing the Zap, I realized (while laying in the bathtub reading the instructional pamphlet) that I had no AAA batteries. Dang. So I stole some from F’s toys. They didn’t have *quite* enough juice, so I had to wait one whole day to test it out. Horrors. Once I had the batteries in, I followed the extremely simple directions and pressed the round head to my blemishes and pressed the little triangle “on” button.

Then you just hold it to your face and wait. Easy, right? I know.

The whole process takes around 2 minutes. The light is super bright (it does come with a warning not to look into it. I did. I don’t recommend this.) and I really appreciate that it’s not a hot light, because my skin would be way too sensitive. You can feel a gentle vibration against your skin and if you’re a mom and able to do almost everything with only one-hand anyway, it’s really not much of an inconvenience. In case you’re wondering, I’m impatient and the thought of not doing something I want to do for 2 whole minutes is pretty much my idea of torture. The pamphlet indicated that you should treat the affected area(s) three times a day, in conjunction with proper cleansing and skincare. By day two of using the product, I could see a huge difference in my skin.

I’m now over a week into the Tanda Zap regime and while my skin hasn’t totally cleared up, it has improved enough that just a dusting of makeup completely covers my blemishes. When I feel anything stirring up, I treat it immediately and in two cases, it stopped the blemish before it was visible. Who doesn’t love that?

I will admit that I’ve also drastically changed my skincare regime in the past two weeks to also include Retinoid creams and a more ahem, diligent cleansing routine so this could also have a profound effect on my skin. Bottom line? My skin looks good and that’s what I was going for. I love the Tanda and would highly recommend it.

I also noticed that you can purchase another Tanda machine which comes with some anti-aging heads also. While I wasn’t really in the market for a nearly $200 product on that particular shopping trip, I would likely consider it in the future. The Tanda Zap comes in a few colours (mine is white), and batteries are sold separately. You can read more about the Tanda Zap on their website.


This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Tanda or any other company. My opinions are just that: mine. 

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