By: Sarah Kester
All it takes is a trip to Sephora or a scroll through your Instagram feed to notice that the world of beauty has undergone a facelift. With at-home skincare devices looking like they were uncovered on an alien spaceship or featured on an episode of Black Mirror, the truth is all around us: beauty has gone tech.
Take the jade roller, this year’s must-have beauty tool, for instance. It’s easy to use, making it popular among women on a mission to soothe puffy eyes, dark circles and fine lines. “Facial rolling should be performed as directed in the direction pushing lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes. This means starting in the center and rolling away in a circular motion in the direction of lymphatic flow,” says Purvisha Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. When used correctly, this Ancient Chinese beauty tool creates microcirculation, which helps to reduce swelling.
Although similar in name, the dermaroller, another trendy beauty tool, couldn’t be more different — and controversial. This is due to the device’s tiny needles that actually prick the skin, forcing it to regenerate and produce new collagen and tissue growth. “Users should be careful, as these devices can cause serious tears to the skin and really bad infections if they are not used carefully,” explains Michele S. Green, M.D. She also believes that proper cleaning is key to avoid spreading bacteria.
If you’re obsessed with Dr. Pimple Popper’s extraction videos (we’re not judging), you might have heard of at-home blackhead and whitehead removers a.k.a. extractors. Although satisfying to use — again, not judging — it could be causing more harm than good. “Users tend to be more aggressive with at-home use and often do not follow instructions, which can cause more harm to the skin,” says Dr. Green.
Dr. Green and Dr. Patel also agree that it might not be safe for consumers to use at-home personal facial toning and microdermabrasion devices. But the premise does sound alluring: avoiding in-office, invasive appointments, all at a fraction of the cost? Sign us up!
Right or wrong?
“If used incorrectly, microdermabrasion can cause tears and abrasions to the skin. The crystals can get into the eyes and cause cornea abrasion” says Dr. Green.
Additionally, not all at-home devices are uniform in quality and price, leading to large discrepancies in results. “The devices in a dermatologist’s office are far superior to the ones that are available over the counter,” explains Dr. Patel. “The settings and abilities cannot be sold for at-home use as they need to be in the hands of medical professionals for safe, effective results.”
Despite these clear pros and cons, there is still a resurgence for these type of at-home DIY products. Gone are the days of just applying a face mask — now users have futuristic beauty devices that promise to turn back time on their skin, right at their fingertips.
Beauty has gone tech and it’s hard to resist the allure. After all, who doesn’t want to achieve healthy, beautiful skin from the comfort of their own home? And if it involves a glass of wine and a pair of our comfiest pajamas — the ones we swore we would never wear outside — then, well, cheers to that.