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At-Home Beauty Devices: To Buy or Not to Buy

Thinking of buying a skin rejuvenation device as a Christmas gift?

“Most of them won’t do any harm, but they usually don’t do much good either,” said Amy McMichael, M.D., chair of the dermatology department at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC.

Before buying, McMichael advises people to try to verify the claims made in advertising by checking the manufacturer’s website for clinical trials’ data – not case studies – and FDA approval to ensure a product’s safety. If you can’t find information on the company’s website, check

“For example, microdermabrasion can be very helpful if done by professionals who are trained in the proper way to use the device,” McMichael said. “But at-home microdermabrasion products can be more damaging than helpful depending on the amount of pressure used. They can also spread bacterial infections or viruses that cause warts, so best to avoid.”

Overall, McMichael thinks people are better off using over-the-counter products, such as glycolic acid, serums and retin A creams, which are more effective, safer and less expensive than devices and tools. But check with a board-certified dermatologist for advice on what at-home products are best for your skin.

“Do your homework before you buy and look for products with some science to back up the marketing claims,” she said.