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general sensitive skin

Ask a Dermatologist: Are At-home Anti-Aging Tools Effective?

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Just as our cellphones have been getting thinner yet more powerful with every new release, advances in the beauty industry have rolled out sleek, innovative devices that continue to target more and more beauty concerns that only the most beauty-savvy of them all could imagine. The appeal of these devices is more than the results themselves.

The most advanced of these gadgets claim to reduce – and even, lessen– the need to visit a dermatologist. Some say that they are worth the frequently high price tags since they represent a long-term beauty investment and can save you money on trips to a professional. As tempting as these tools sound, we always advocate to do the research before committing. We asked Dr. Jason Rivers to help us make a decision – are any of these anti-aging devices actually effective enough to be worth the time and money?

Micro-current

The popular NuFace devices use micro-current technology that claims to give a natural, non-invasive facial lift with visible results that are long-lasting as long as you use it continuously. The NuFace is easy to use and only requires 5 about minutes each day. Sounds too good to be true? According to Dr. Rivers, “There is no data to support claims in well-conducted studies”. Therefore, in his opinion “These are unlikely to work.“

Lasers 

At-home lasers utilize the same technology that is available in dermatologist offices, albeit in much weaker strengths. “These do work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots,” said Dr. Rivers, “but the process is slow and you will need to use it diligently for months to see an effect”. If you are willing to commit, these gadgets can help you achieve glowing, younger-looking skin, but it is still best to see a professional if you want better results faster. Using professional lasers, only one or two in-office sessions can yield visible effects. If you are struggling with breakouts, you might be more interested in laser gadgets that target acne instead of wrinkles. “At-home blue lasers can be helpful for acne, but like their in-office counterpart, the results are temporary. Acne tends to fluctuate on its own schedule so it is hard to know if the home device is actually doing anything at all”, said Dr. Rivers. Learn more about how to deal with breakouts and adult acne.

Micro-dermabrasion

Micro-dermabrasion has long been one of the most popular facial treatments at medical spas and beauty salons. It gives you smooth, glowing skin by exfoliating away the dead skin cells. Now, you can also do it at home with tools like the PMD Personal Microderm. It claims to give you all the benefits of a professional micro-dermabrasion, from reducing the key signs of aging, blemishes and enlarged pores to helping skincare products penetrate deeper into your skin. What is Dr. Rivers’ verdict on this? “At-home micro-dermabrasion  is not in any way similar to a professional model, this at-home version works as a mild exfoliator”. In other words, you will only see mild results. Similar to lasers, it is best to have the treatment done at a professional clinic if you want professional results.

Derma-rollers

These rollers are not as high-tech as the other devices but they are worth mentioning. Dermarolling, also known as microneedling, has quickly become one of the hottest facial treatments this year. The rollers contain micro-needles to create tiny holes in the skin that triggers the skin to heal and regenerate itself. When done by a professional, it can smoothen acne scars and wrinkles, reduce discoloration and increase firmness. But before you start doing it at home, Dr. Rivers urges you to consider sterility. Poking holes in your skin with a tool that is not properly sterilized is an open invitation for infections. Dr. Rivers also mentioned that “microneedling can vary from being slightly uncomfortable to painful”. By having it done in-office, a numbing cream can be applied to reduce the sensation. 

Face Massage Tools  

Dr. Jart’s Liftra Contour Shaper claims to visibly lift, sculpt and define facial contours by stimulating the facial muscles. According to Dr. Rivers, “This is complete BS”. While massages may have the benefits of stimulating circulation, it cannot possibly give you a face lift. If it does, then we would all be spending hours each day massaging our faces. Please don’t do that. Instead, save your precious time and money by investing in really good skincare. A sunscreen every morning and a face serum day and night can go a long way for youthful, glowing skin.