As if we didn’t have enough to contend with trying to understand increasingly complex skin routines, along comes a whole new category – beauty tools! Let’s look at the most popular ones on the market and see whether there is any science behind them and figure out if we need to add them into our routines at all.
LED lights are a big trend right now since at home masks have become more commonplace. LED stands for light-emitting diode and the concept was first developed by NASA for plant growth experiments in space! The science behind it is that different wavelengths of light, such as blue and red can penetrate the skin at different depths and when they do, they can trigger processes in the skin that help it rejuvenate and repair itself.
Blue light is thought to reduce activity in the sebaceous glands and cause less sebum to be produced thereby alleviating acne. Blue light is also antibacterial which is a big help in acne where bacterial infection leads to inflammation. Red light is thought to act on fibroblasts, the cells responsible for making collagen and so it can help with reducing scarring and the signs of ageing. Red light also reduces inflammation.
And unlike regular sunlight LED emits none to very minimal amounts of UV rays so its not harmful and doesn’t cause burns. Although some side effects can be inflammation and redness, side effects are rare. However, those taking prescribed acne medication should speak to their GP first before using LED lights.
Should you add it into your routine? Well, they can be expensive but there is some science to back them up and it’s a non-invasive treatment so go for it if you want!
Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese technique for increasing energy flow and blood circulation. Gua means scrape and Sha means sand. This technique was originally used all over the body and was traditionally quite vigorous. Today Gua Sha has been adapted to become one of the latest must have beauty tools. The jade or rose quartz tool is intended to be used over your moisturiser or facial oil to massage the facial skin with the aim of increasing lymphatic drainage and increasing blood flow for healthy glowing skin.
To use it correctly you apply firm pressure on the face and use upward strokes to massage the face. Used consistently the claims are that it will improve the function of the skin and help with concerns like fine lines, saggy skin, puffiness etc.
Should we add it into our routine? While it might sound too good to be true there are studies that have shown that using a Gua Sha improves microcirculation and blood flow to the face. They are not expensive and provide a much-needed moment of self-care too.
Jade Rollers, are they more of the same or something different? Think of Gua Sha as a deep facial massage and a jade roller more like how you might use foam rollers after a workout. They can be quickly added to any skincare routine as a final step to massage the skin quickly and so can be a fun beauty tool to include.
Facial cleansing tools are another recent trend that we see a lot of beauty influencers promoting, but are they worth it? For those of you not familiar with them they are a handheld device with a motor that causes a repetitive motion or vibrates to allow you to exfoliate while cleansing for a supposed deeper cleanse.
Basically, they are mechanical exfoliation tools which means they physically, through abrasion, remove the top layer of skin cells from our face. The problem with physical or mechanical exfoliation is that people overdo it. We forget that our skin is more than capable of shedding dead skin cells. If we want to help with this shedding of dead skin cells, we should consider gentler methods and not rough abrasion as we will only irritate our skin. You can get the right level of physical abrasion at a gentle level by using a face cloth to remove your cleanser.
Derma Rollers and Micro Needling
The use of derma rollers or micro needling is another popular trend. It is a procedure in which tiny needles are rolled across the skin creating tiny puncture wounds which are supposed to have the result of triggering the body’s wound healing system, and therefore stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.
This is a little too good to be true! Derma roller home treatments usually have a needle size from 0.2 to 0.3mm so they gently puncture the skin but don’t do so very deeply and so really there is no stimulating of collagen. So, you are probably unlikely to see miraculous results with a home treatment. But what micro needling can be very helpful for is allowing products to penetrate the skin better. Studies have shown that skin penetration is improved after the use of micro needles so if you have purchased one it might be a good idea to apply your treatment serums after a derma rolling session.
More and more gadgets and gizmos are making their way into at home beauty treatments as visits to facialists and dermatologists become harder to get to with restrictions. Once you keep your beauty tools clean and in good condition and don’t expect miracles they can be a great way to get some self care into your skin routine with the added bonus of some subtle benefits too.