Ep 3: The Science Behind Home Facial Technologies
Dermatology Weekly Flash Briefing – Today, one of the latest trends in the beauty industry is home beauty devices, especially relevant now that we’re at home more. In this episode, we go through the the science behind technologies such as vacuum microdermabrasion, radio frequency, EMS, and physical microdermabrasion.
Chelsea: Hi everyone! This is our 3rd episode of our podcast Dermatologist Talks – Science of Beauty. Chelsea here, and today, together with accredited dermatologist, Dr. Teo Wan Lin, we’re going to round out our series on the post pandemic beauty, skincare and dermatology industry, by discussing about at home facial devices, especially relevant now that we’re at home more.
Dr. TWL: Hi Chelsea. A very big hello to all our listeners on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts. This is Dr. Teo Wan and in this podcast, Dermatologist Talks: Science of Beauty we’re going to cover some of the hottest topics all over the world in the field of science, beauty, and dermatology.
Chelsea: So, Dr. Teo, the best home beauty devices is a topic that I’m interested in hearing from you about. So I know that over the past few years, technology and skincare have collided more than ever. There are so many high- tech technologies and tools that used to only be found in a dermatologist’s clinic, but are now available for at-home use. You obviously are an expert in, and are one of the pioneers of the at-home facial device industry.
What are the best home beauty devices to look out for? Can you explain the science behind these devices?
Dr. TWL:The home facial treatment technologies have been rapidly evolving in the last couple of years. I would say that it’s first of all derived from what has already been practiced in the clinical setting. In the field of dermatology, there are some technologies which i saw was imminently transferrable to a home device. The technologies we have incorporated in our home facial devices are radiofrequency, EMS, and the concept of vacuum microdermabrasion, as well as physical microdermabrasion. In our case, we use a copper ion head. Now let me just go a little bit more in depth into the science behind each of this.
Radiofrequency has been popular for a long time in the cosmetic dermatology, and the aesthetics industry as well. You do not need to hold a medical license in order to operate a radiofrequency device. The good thing though, it is extremely safe, and there are no specific concerns unlike laser or IPL. But the issue here is also to recognize the layers that radiofrequency targets, and how it plays a role in anti-aging.
We know that chemical peels and lasers target the superficial layers of the skin. Lasers moves a little bit deeper into the dermis. Radiofrequency goes a little bit deeper than that. By targeting the deep structures of your face, you’re able to improve the elasticity of your skin. Overall, have a lifting effect due to collagen stimulation. The very accessibility of a home device means that you are able to do it as often as you want.
For electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS, what happens is that we are using an electric current to giive your face a physical workout. The stimulation of muscle contractility is akin to you doing high intensity interval exercises for your body. Overall, it’s been proven to stimulate the growth of fibroblasts and its function in producing collagen.
Touching briefly on microdermabrasion, a lot of us are familiar with the diamond microdermabrasion that’s used in clinics. What is interesting is that in the last 5-6 years, there has been a surge in popularity in medi-facials. These are essentially based off the principle of vacuum microdermabrasion, to increase antioxidant delivery to the skin. We have the hydrofacial, the Korean medi-facials, which are all very similar in terms of what it’s doing to increase the absorption of cosmeceuticals to skin. What’s relevant here would be to the ability to replicate the vacuum effect with a handheld device. The quality of the solutions is also relevant.
Is it the same as blackhead vacuum devices?
We see a lot of blackhead vacuum devices that suck our the blackheads. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Just know that it’s rather futile, as anybody who has used these devices know that once you have physically removed the blackhead, it reaccumulates again and they never go away. That’s certainly not the way to treat it. But vacuum microdermabrasion does have a function when it’s used together with cosmeceutical solutions. These devices should deliver much less suction than traditional vacuums, which can cause a lot of trauma and irritation to skin. The suction is just enough to stimulate the growth of your fibroblasts, and to enable the absorption of cosmeceuticals.
Antioxidants that we use are botanicals. For example, Portulaca Oleracea extract, and Centella Asiatica which is well evidenced for it’s anti-inflammatory activity and it’s ability to heal scars. You also have moisturizing ingredients that we have all become very familiar with. We have hyaluronic acid, which is the colloquial term for sodium hyaluronate. There are the different types of hyaluronic acid molecule, so the multi-molecular weighted formulations are the ones that will be absorbed better by skin.
The other type of dermabrasion is the physical microdermabrasion process. The diamond microdermabrassion tip is too harsh and impractical to use in a home setting. It is not what I would recommend for at home use. We use a much less abrasive copper-related structure. You may have heard about copper in my other research in our Biomaterials arm. Copper itself has been proven in both in vivo and in vitro studies, meaning both in the clinical setting and in laboratory tests to have potent effects in stimulating the anti-aging molecules that increase collagen production.
Copper ion head
This copper ion head that we use for our dermabrasion tool has dual functions. First, as a physical microdermabrasion tool to enable the top layer of your skin, which is formed by the epidermis joined by keratinocytes to renew itself. This is something that contributes directly to skin radiance, and is why you would find in a slightly older person, their skin is less radiant than a younger person in the absence of cosmetic interventions. The other function is that the direct contact of the copper ion itself from the metal, has a whole host of anti-aging and immunomodulating effects.
Chelsea: Well, thank you for that Dr. Teo, it’s a little crazy to see how far we’ve come in terms of technology in skincare. So that about sums up our episode, thank you for tuning in, and we’ll see you guys on the next episode.
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