I tried an at-home microdermabrasion tool to see if it was worth it or a waste of time
A session of microdermabrasion promises to exfoliate, smoothie and brighten skin, but it also means you’ll be out $150. While repeated sessions can smooth away fine lines, lessen dark spots, and greatly diminish the appearance of pores, your bank account would have to say goodbye to another few hundred. Unless you’re a Kardashian, the quest for perfect skin can be extremely expensive. Luckily there are more affordable devices out on the market for us non-celebs. PMD, or the Personal Microderm Pro, costs the same price as just one of those sessions, and it can be used over and over again. I had to try it.
As with most moderately expensive beauty tools, I read reviews on the PMD weekly for months before finally buying it when it was on sale. Prior users had nothing but good things to say. I bought it in hopes that it would help lessen my acne and clogged pores, and make my hyperpigmentation and acne scars disappear quicker. (This at-home chemical peel has been my go-to for those.) Mostly, I just hoped the PMD would exfoliate all of my problems away.
PMD claims to deliver the same results as professional, in-office treatments, and while I can’t comment on this, the consensus from reviews is that this is more or less true. But the beauty of the PMD is you can use it anywhere on your body on your own time (though it’s recommended you wait at least six days between treatments or else end up with raw, red-streaked skin).
How it works
PMD uses patented suction technology to pull your skin against the spinning disc which exfoliates while you glide the tool across. It comes with a face and body cap and exfoliating discs for each size, which can be used a few times before they need to be replaced. The exfoliating discs range from Ultra Sensitive to Very Coarse, of which a set of six refills can be purchased for $20.
I bought the Pro version, which comes with two speeds, a Smooth Glide cap, and additional exfoliating discs, and sells for $40 dollars more. Hey, it was on sale.
On my first use, excitement got the best of me. There’s a learning curve with the PMD, which was something I prepared for after reading reviews, but my overconfidence convinced me I’d have no problem. The first time, PMD was awkward to use—the cord twisted the wrong way, the suction was too much or too little, and I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was correct. I started with the recommended “training disc,” the most gentle option, and though I didn’t experience any irritation, I didn’t experience much exfoliation, either.
Now, I’m getting ready to use the PMD for the third time, and today I’m moving up to the “green” level. This is the moderate coarse disc, and I’m hoping I’ll experience heavier exfoliating than I have with the training and very sensitive discs.
Right away, I can tell that this jump in coarseness is making a difference. After the first few passes, an oh-so-satisfying dust of white appears across my cheek. I’m also pleasantly surprised to find it easier to use than it was the first few times, a testament to the learning curve I’d read about. I continue across my face as instructed, in upward sweeps and being cautious to never pause in place or cover the same place more than twice. I finish quickly with only minor issues—I still can’t use it down my nose—and I’m left with a pink hue that subsides within minutes.
My face feels soft, and it’s ready for the next step. What you do after the PMD is almost as important as the tool itself. My skin is now ready to absorb whatever I put on top of it, so I take this opportunity to treat and pamper. I apply Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid, a vitamin C treatment that WILL sting after exfoliating, and then I press on a generous amount of Weleda Skin Food, a thick cream that will leave you glowing by morning.
I don’t know if it’s the PMD, the sunset coming through my window, or the Weleda Skin Food, but I have a glow that wasn’t there before. It’s still too soon to tell whether it will remove discoloration, but I can’t deny that my skin feels smoother after a microdermabrasion session.
Fast forward a few weeks
After a busy few weeks sans exfoliating, I decided my skin was ready and stepped up to the red, aka very coarse, microdermabrasion disc. I moved it over my face and watched in that special kind of amazement as it stirred up little clumps of dead skin and left a white dust behind. This coarseness level left me with a slight burning, so I followed up with a sheet mask, and afterwards, my skin felt perfectly clean and rejuvenated.
After using the PMD for over a month, I can tell you that it isn’t a necessary purchase for everyone. If you already have an exfoliator that leaves your skin smooth or a product that gives you fresh-feeling skin, don’t buy this. However, if you want a utilitarian product, one that will leave you with physical proof that your skin has been sloughed off, you DO need this. And if you’re looking for a tool that uncovers new skin and make it ready to absorb your serums and creams, get the PMD—preferably on sale.