Do we need skincare gadgets to fulfil our beauty routines?

Skincare gadgets: life-changing or dangerous? Elizabeth Lamb leads the discussion.

Elizabeth Lamb
15th November 2020
"You, there! You wouldn’t try and clean your teeth without a toothbrush, would you? So why treat your face any differently?", asks a woman with perfect (ahem, airbrushed) skin in an advert for a cosmetics company that has developed a new face brush they would like to sell you. As though it is the most obvious step in logic that we must be brushing our faces as we are our teeth. However, I must remind you that teeth are not made of skin, nor is our skin made of teeth. Obviously.

As somebody whose confidence has suffered massively during my late adolescence and early twenties due to skin problems, I understand how easy it is to be roped in by clever marketing promising a miracle gadget that is here to solve all your skin ailments. A face brush that will help you cleanse deeper than you have ever cleansed before? Okay, I’m listening. A microneedle roller that will regenerate your skin, leaving it as plump and tight as that of a newborn? Yes, please. An LED light mask that will zap away blemishes with the efficacy of a professional spa treatment, but in the comfort of your own home? Where do I sign up? They promise it all, and as the price range of these products is accessible to the average customer, their purported Hollywood-rivalling benefits are only a click of the ‘add to basket’ button away.

Procedures like extractions and microdermabrasion should be done by trained professionals and trained professionals only to avoid infections or permanent scarring

In the age of Instagram and TikTok, these products pop up in every other sponsored post or targeted ad, neat 30-second clips showing you how they get rid of that disgusting thing on your face that you didn’t even know was an issue until just now. I feel it is my duty as a self-proclaimed skincare buff to inform you that you categorically do not need one of those little sucking implements to hoover the sebaceous filaments from your nose. Nor do you need to scrub your face with a brush in order to cleanse or exfoliate, nor perform microneedling on yourself to maximise your circulation. In fact, you will most likely cause yourself more issues in doing so, and spend more money as a result in what could be a lengthy process rectifying the damage. Procedures like extractions and microdermabrasion should be done by trained professionals and trained professionals only to avoid infections or permanent scarring. Efficient cleansing can be achieved without a brush. Brushes, depending on their materials, can cause irritation or are simply no more useful than your own god-given cleansing tools, your hands. In fact, some are so rough you may as well be scrubbing your face with sandpaper. Don’t let a company convince you to waste your money on a product that is, at best, next to useless, and, at worst, downright dangerous. 

The Gua sha, for example, is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves scraping the skin with a small tool (often made of jade stone) to promote blood circulation and lymphatic drainage

This being said, there are tools that have proven themselves useful, some over generations of use. The Gua sha, for example, is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves scraping the skin with a small tool (often made of jade stone) to promote blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. The massage technique has been appropriated into skincare and is claimed to have anti-ageing benefits while also de-puffing the skin. While it isn’t scientifically proven to rewind the clock on your skin, there’s certainly no harm in a facial massage, especially if you're a chronic jaw-clencher like me.

Any tool that you wish to incorporate into your routine is a luxurious extra to bump up your self-care to the max.  Provided the gadget is not invasive or irritating to the skin, what’s the damage?

In short, there is no necessity for any tool to build an effective skincare routine. We have to take care with our skin; the skin barrier is more fragile than you realise and any prodding and poking with needles or lasers is best left to the professionals. Any tool that you wish to incorporate into your routine is a luxurious extra to bump up your self-care to the max.  Provided the gadget is not invasive or irritating to the skin, what’s the damage? Whatever makes you feel good.

All images by Margarita Ivanova

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