Clarisonic, makers of the eponymous brush, has come up with a new device that will launch in January called the Opal Sonic Infusion System ($245). Unlike, the bush, which cleanses the skin and removes dead skin cells, Clarisonic's Opal Sonic Infusion System uses sound waves to help topical products penetrate the epidermis.

Much as Clarisonic has impressed me with my beloved brush, the Opal raises a few questions. How do sound waves help a substance penetrate the skin? And, assuming it does work, will it help penetrate the good along with the bad?

Clarisonic will be selling an anti-aging serum along with the Opal. I don't much about what's in it accept the actives. These include kigelia africana, which is in Pevonia's bust-firming serum. With its gorgeous bat-pollinated flowers and bizarre monster sausage-like fruit, it is an antibacterial, a “significant” (in the words of one study) anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The leaves and flowers are rich in hexadecanoicacid, a fatty acid, and the other important component is verminoside. There are also steroids that explain why the plant has traditionally been used to treat eczema.

The rest of the ingredients appear to be useful, but not exceptional. There are glycosaminoglycans, a family of carbohydrates that play an important role in connective tissue between cells. They are also a component of hyaluronate, which provides the body with moisture. Although they are easily accepted into the skin because of their positive charge, and can moisturize the skin, the effects are probably temporary.

Then there is Canadian willow herb (or, epilobium angustifolium extract), which has both antimicrobial and anti-irritant properties for the skin, and antioxidant oat kernel extract.

I have put my name down for an email alert when Clarison's Opal is unleashed to the world.

Update: I tested and reviewed the Opal in March 2011. Read on