By  on April 2, 2010

Tria Beauty, the makers of an at-home laser hair removal device, is shining its light-based technology on yet another beauty concern: zapping blemishes.

On Monday, the Dublin, Calif.-based company plans to launch the Tria Skin Clarifying System on its Web site,, with a retail roll out to high-end department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s to follow.

The product received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance in January as an at-home, handheld device designed to treat mild to moderate acne. It is said to be the only FDA-cleared at-home, blue-light device capable of delivering the same levels of blue-light therapy as professional treatments.

The device marks the second platform for Tria, which first entered the U.S. retail market in 2008 with the Tria Laser Hair Removal System, the first and only handheld, at-home laser hair-removal device cleared by the FDA on the market. Tria Laser, which sold for $995 when it was first introduced, offered consumers the option to take the costly laser hair-removal process into their own hands. A newer model, introduced in November, sells for $595.

Tria’s latest system aims to do the same for acne. “Tria [Skin] gives consumers access to clinically proven technology that was once only available in doctors’ offices,” said Kevin Appelbaum, chief executive officer of Tria. “It’s for anyone who wants clear skin with good tone and texture.”

The system will be sold as the $395 Be Clear Starter Kit, which includes two topical products, namely Clarifying Foam Cleanser and Rebuilding Complex, and the Clarifying Blue Light Treatment Cartridge and a battery charger. Sixty-day replenishment kits — a three-piece set for $80 and a two-piece for $60 — will also be available, with a $10 discount applied to those purchased through the Tria Replenish Me program.

The three-step system of “cleanse, treat and nourish” is designed to be used twice a day.

Patients who receive blue-light acne therapy in a dermatologist’s office generally need two 20-minute treatments a week at a cost of $300 to $700 a session, said Beth Gumm, senior vice president of marketing.

The market for skin care devices that target acne is growing increasingly crowded with products from brands like ThermaClear and Zeno, and several carry FDA clearance. For example, Zeno, which uses a heat technology, is said to be the first FDA-approved medical device designed for over-the-counter use on mild to inflammatory acne.

“This category, in particular, is littered with claims. Tria is making our claim as simple as possible: Based on clinical testing and published data, Tria [Skin] clears faster, prevents better and results in healthier looking skin,” said Gumm.

Appelbaum added, “We are in a period of category creation, and sometimes there is some confusion that comes along with it.”

To make its message known, Tria Skin last month began blanketing New York City with teaser marketing messages, atop taxi cabs, at subway station entrances and on Metro-North trains. The ads declare “A Revolution In Clear Skin.” A print ad campaign breaks Monday in beauty books, and Tria also plans to put the product in the hands of influential bloggers, said Gumm. An informercial for Tria Skin is slated to air the last week of June, and another for Tria Laser will premiere in early July.

The company will fete the launch of Tria Skin with a pop-up store, located in Manhattan at 155 Fifth Avenue at 21st Street, open April 7 through 13. The shop, dubbed The Blue Lounge, will allow New Yorkers to try the new device and receive free makeovers and hairstyles.

Despite introducing its first U.S. product as the economy began unraveling, Tria’s global revenues exceed $20 million in manufacturer sales, and for the last two years the company has grown by 100 percent annually, said Appelbaum. Retailers continue to show interest in the category, with both Sephora and QVC, which sells Tria Laser, creating special sections for handheld tools on their Web sites.

Next on Tria ’s list is a “skin rejuvenation” device that targets the signs of aging, including wrinkles.

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