If you think you can flip a switch to get smoother, brighter skin, well… you kinda can. Some of the newest anti-aging innovations offer the same technology that’s available in dermatologists’ offices—LED lights, lasers, electrical currents—in a lower-strength form you use in your own bathroom. And doctors say they can deliver similar results, if you’re up for putting in the time. “With these gadgets, it can take months of diligent use before you see a difference in your skin, whereas a similar office procedure may do the same after only one or two sessions,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Of course, those one or two sessions can cost you thousands of dollars, while most at-home tools range from $200 to $500. Still, these machines aren’t cheap, so are they worth it? “If your skin is sensitive to ingredients like retinoids, a device offers a gentler alternative,” says Marmur. “Plus, it can boost the effectiveness of your anti-aging products.” We asked a slew of women, all over 35, to try out the latest models for several months, then report back. Here are the FDA-approved gadgets that our testers and top dermatologists say truly work.
- Smooths wrinkles: LightStim for Wrinkles, $249
- Fades spots and lines: Tria Age-Defying Laser, $495
- Firms slack skin: NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device, $199
- Clears up adult acne: Quasar Baby Blue, $349
- 16 New At-Home Skincare Tools For Tightening, Brightening, And Zapping Zits
- 10 Natural Dry-Skin Remedies You Can DIY at Home
- How Natural Remedies Can Help Soothe Dry, Irritated Skin
- 10 Natural, DIY Remedies to Moisturize Dry Skin
- 1. Whip up an Olive Oil Cleanser to Soothe Dry Skin
- 2. DIY a Rich, Creamy Avocado Mask
- 3. Make a Natural Olive Oil and Sugar Scrub
- 4. Create an Easy Oatmeal Soak to Calm Your Skin
- 5. Exfoliate Your Face With a Homemade Oatmeal Honey Mask
- 6. Apply Coconut Oil Before Bedtime
- 7. Add Your Favorite Oil to Your Bath
- 8. Use Milk Compresses for Irritated Skin
- 9. Consider a Fruit Enzyme Cleanser or Exfoliant
- 10. Apply Aloe Vera to Dry, Irritated Skin
- 5 Expert Tips for Avoiding a Dry Skin Relapse
- 10 DIY Skin Care Recipes You Can Easily Make
- How to Choose the Right Container for Your DIY Skin Care
- How to Make Natural Skin Care Products Last Longer
- Top Tips Natural Skin Care Products
- More DIY Recipes
- Want More DIY Beauty Recipes?
Smooths wrinkles: LightStim for Wrinkles, $249
What it does: LEDs (light-emitting diodes) beam painless wavelengths into the skin. “This revs up your skin’s collagen production, which over time reduces wrinkles and prevents new ones from forming,” says Fredric Brandt, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and Miami. “Plus, it’s safe and gentle on all skin tones.”
How to use it: After cleansing, hold the wand on each section of skin you want to treat for three minutes per area. Depending on how much skin you plan to cover, the full shebang takes 10 to 20 minutes, five times a week. You’ll see results after eight weeks, at which point you can cut back usage to twice a week.
What to expect: “The light felt warm and relaxing,” says Felicia, 48, who has olive skin and saw a big improvement on her forehead lines and brown spots. “By two weeks in, my skin looked so good I stopped wearing foundation.”
The bottom line: LightStim can fade fine lines and moderate sun spots, “but if you have heavy-duty sun damage or wrinkles, you’ll see better results from a professional laser treatment,” says Brandt. “However, I like that you can use this device with anti-agers like retinol or glycolic acid post-treatment, and it won’t cause extra irritation.”
Fades spots and lines: Tria Age-Defying Laser, $495
What it does: It sounds right out of a James Bond movie: A diode laser boosts collagen and elastin to smooth wrinkles, though devotees say it also makes their skin soft and even-toned (currently, the Tria is FDA-cleared only to treat lines). “It’s modeled after the fractionated lasers that doctors use, which trigger the skin’s healing response,” says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, M.D., Ph.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine.
How to use it: On clean skin, place the tool on one cheek; continually glide it over the area until the buzzer beeps, then do the same on your other cheek, forehead, and chin. The device has three levels (you gradually work up to level 3), so depending on which one you use, it can take up to 10 minutes to treat your whole face. Do this five nights a week for 12 weeks, then repeat the cycle later on if new spots or lines appear.
What to expect: “The zapping felt like hot pinpricks, but it was tolerable,” says Elizabeth, 45, who wanted to get rid of brown spots on her fair skin. “When I first used the Tria, my entire face looked sunburnt afterward, though the redness subsided after about an hour.” Within two weeks, Elizabeth said her skin looked even and luminous, “and by the end of the three months, my crow’s-feet were much softer, too.”
The bottom line: “Because the Tria causes temporary skin inflammation, don’t use a retinoid or a glycolic acid product on the same nights that you do the treatment,” says Alexiades-Armenakas. “It’ll also make skin more sensitive to the sun, so you must wear a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen every day.”
Firms slack skin: NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device, $199
What it does: Like a personal trainer for your face, this massaging gadget tones skin so it gets smoother and tighter by emitting low-level electrical currents.
How to use it: Apply the face gel that comes in the kit (it helps the currents penetrate skin), then slowly roll the metal spheres in an upward motion over each area you want to tighten. The entire treatment takes only a few minutes, but you have to do it five times a week for eight weeks, then two to three times a week to keep up the results.
What to expect: “It’s like a cold, slightly tingly massage,” says 44-year-old Wendi, who used NuFace on her jawline, neck, cheeks, and forehead. “I saw immediate tightening after the first use, and over the eight weeks, my skin became much firmer. I got a lot of ‘Wow, you look amazing!’ remarks from friends, and a few even told me I looked much younger.”
The bottom line: While the skin-tightening effect is legit, it’s also short-lived. “The microcurrents cause minor swelling that makes skin look plump and lifted, but the effect starts to fade after a few hours,” explains Marmur. “So long as you’re using the device five days a week you’ll keep seeing results, but there’s no long-term benefit—though the massaging action improves circulation and gives skin a healthy glow.”
Clears up adult acne: Quasar Baby Blue, $349
What it does: This wand waves its magic on pimples, releasing gentle blue LED light that destroys acne-causing bacteria and shrinks a zit in as little as a few days.
How to use it: On just-washed skin, glide the device over breakout-prone areas using circular motions. Treat each area for four minutes, three to five days a week for eight weeks. Then, to stay pimple-free, use it one to three days a week.
What to expect: After trying every over-the-counter product to nix her chin and jaw acne, Lauren, 36, said this little machine cleared up her skin in just 48 hours. “I’ve been using it a few times a week for two months now, and I haven’t had a single breakout,” she says.
The bottom line: “This device is the same technology that we use in-office to treat persistent acne,” says Marmur. “It really does the job without drying out your skin the way some products can.”
16 New At-Home Skincare Tools For Tightening, Brightening, And Zapping Zits
Technology’s great and all, but I’d happily sacrifice my iPhone X and light-as-air laptop for my at-home facial steamer and electronic anti-aging massager any day. (Priorities, right?) And judging by the recent influx of new skincare tools that tighten, brighten, and make you overall glowy, I’m not the only one fascinated by the latest in technology.
A casual scroll through the new arrivals at Dermstore and Sephora shows that high-tech, personal use devices are quickly becoming the norm, with LED light therapy masks and microdermabrasion tools displayed alongside serums and moisturizers. But the real question, as always, is this: Do they actually work?
“With at-home devices that are FDA-approved, patients will definitely experience some beneficial effects, particularly in indications such as mild laxity, acne, photoaging, and sunspots,” Dr. Neil Sadick of Sadick Dermatology in New York tells The Zoe Report. In layman’s terms, yes — many of these devices do deliver results when it comes to firming the skin, clearing acne, and lessening hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Sadick particularly endorses devices that utilize LED light and radio frequency. “These mechanisms of action are well documented for several skin indications, and they are safe to be modified for at-home use,” he says.
Perhaps the biggest benefit that this type of technology provides is convenience — after all, the masses use Postmates for gourmet food delivery and book at-home massages with apps, so there there are precious few things people are willing to leave the house for these days. The newest personal use skincare tools fit right into this paradigm, and can extend the amount of time in between professional appointments. It’s important to note, however, that no device can (or should) replace a visit to your dermatologist or esthetician. “They’re absolutely designed to serve as a buffer in between appointments,” Dr. Sadick tells us. “For deep wrinkles, severe acne, melasma, or sagging skin, you will need a combination of fillers, neurotoxins, and professional devices to achieve dramatic results.”
To that point, you’ll only notice the benefits of using these at-home tools if you, well, use them. “Using a device once in a blue moon and expecting baby smooth, clear skin is unrealistic,” Dr. Sadick tells us. The suggested usage of every tool is different. Some, like the Lightstim for Wrinkles, can be used every single day, while those that are more intense, like the PMD Personal Microderm PRO, should be kept to a once-a-week maximum.
“There are risks with every device, be it at home or in the office,” Dr. Sadick adds. “Stick to brands that have a good reputation, devices that are FDA-approved, and follow instructions on how to use each device vigilantly.” A couple tools to be wary of include gadgets that claim to “suck” or “vacuum” out blackheads (“You can inadvertently remove the whole sebaceous gland unit at the same time which will damage the whole area,” Dr. Sadick says) and laser hair removal devices, which could potentially damage darker skin, as higher levels of melanin can make skin more sensitive to lasers.
Finally, be realistic about your skill level. While anyone can pop on an acne-fighting LED light mask and reap the benefits, wielding a microdermabrasion tool is a different story. “In the hands of the wrong user, these devices can damage the skin and create more problems than benefits,” Dr. Sadick tells us.
Ahead, 16 new skincare tools to try for every type of skin concern — complete with suggested skill level, frequency of use, and expert input.
10 Natural Dry-Skin Remedies You Can DIY at Home
How Natural Remedies Can Help Soothe Dry, Irritated Skin
Your skin naturally produces oil, called sebum, which helps protect the skin from moisture loss, but everyday actions — such as forgetting to put on moisturizer or washing your hands with a drying soap — can strip natural oils from your skin. For people without acne, which involves overproduction of sebum (and for whom extra oil would provide the opposite of the desired effect), using oils can help restore skin’s sheen and protective barrier.
There are many ways to reap the moisturizing benefits of oils, either on their own or with other ingredients, to make a DIY nourishing mask or an exfoliating rub. Lopez recommends that castor oil, lavender oil, and avocado oil may be good natural remedies for dry skin, again, so long as you do not have acne.
Coconut oil is another oil you may have in your kitchen cabinet and may also be good choice for those not prone to acne. People with atopic dermatitis — a type of eczema and an allergic skin condition characterized by dryness and itching — saw excellent results when they used virgin coconut oil on their skin, according to a study published in January 2014 in the International Journal of Dermatology.
Aloe vera, a plant with natural healing properties, can also be infused in oils and used as a natural moisturizer.
RELATED: 6 Natural Oils for Smooth and Radiant Skin (That Aren’t Coconut)
10 Natural, DIY Remedies to Moisturize Dry Skin
A simple way to use your favorite oil (in its purest form), is to drizzle the oil into warm bath water and treat yourself to a short soak; gently pat your skin dry afterward to avoid rubbing all the oil off.
You can also try these natural remedies:
1. Whip up an Olive Oil Cleanser to Soothe Dry Skin
A great natural oil to use is olive oil, which works as a natural cleanser and moisturizer, says Brandy Crompton, a licensed aesthetician and manager of LeBliss Salon and Spa in Louisville, Kentucky. “Just rub the oil into your skin and drape a warm, damp cloth over your face until it cools,” Crompton says, “then wipe away the excess oil.” Olive oil is a good choice as a cleanser because it won’t strip your skin’s natural oils, but it will clean your skin, she adds.
2. DIY a Rich, Creamy Avocado Mask
Creating a homemade mask of avocado is another natural way to soothe dry skin. Crompton suggests pureeing half an avocado and mixing it with a teaspoon of olive oil; you can also add a tablespoon (tbsp) of honey for very dry skin. Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, and then wash it off. Your skin should feel moisturized, but you can double up on the hydrating effects by applying your regular moisturizer as well.
RELATED: 5 Causes of Dry Skin and How to Help Fight Them
3. Make a Natural Olive Oil and Sugar Scrub
Create a naturally moisturizing exfoliating scrub using a combination of olive oil and sugar. Combine ½ cup of sugar with 2 tbsp of olive oil, Crompton says. If you want, you can also add an essential oil like lavender, which adds a natural fragrance and can promote relaxation. Gently rub the scrub into your skin, and then wash it off. Last, use a soothing moisturizer to lock in the benefits of freshly exfoliated skin.
4. Create an Easy Oatmeal Soak to Calm Your Skin
Adding a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath can naturally rehydrate dry skin, Lopez says. “The oat product itself is soothing,” Lopez explains, and it helps your skin retain moisture from the bath water.
5. Exfoliate Your Face With a Homemade Oatmeal Honey Mask
Oatmeal also makes a great exfoliator or mask. Mix 2 tbsp of oats with a tablespoon of honey and a dash of water. Crompton suggests warming up the mixture, then rubbing it into your skin. You can use it just to exfoliate and wash it off right away, or leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes as a soothing, hydrating mask.
RELATED: 5 Reasons You Should Eat Oatmeal Every Day
6. Apply Coconut Oil Before Bedtime
“Coconut oil becomes a solid at room temperature, so use it as a moisturizing cream at bedtime or anytime,” recommends Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Los Angeles-based Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center. “For chapped heels and hands, apply the oil then layer with thick socks or nonlatex gloves.”
7. Add Your Favorite Oil to Your Bath
“Natural oils are great for moisturizing the skin and helping to recreate the natural skin barrier, which is often damaged by frequent hand and face washing with water and drying soaps that strip the skin if its natural protective oils,” Dr. Shainhouse says. Aside from olive oil or coconut oil, you can test out other natural oils that are free from irritants, including jojoba, argan, and avocado oils. To use, Shainhouse recommends adding a few tablespoons of the desired oil under running bathwater. You can also apply a small amount to your skin post-shower to keep is soft and moist.
8. Use Milk Compresses for Irritated Skin
“Milk has natural anti-inflammatory properties,” says Shainhouse. “It also contains lactic acid, a mild, natural exfoliant.” Shainhouse recommends using these compresses for your skin for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. It’s especially helpful for irritated skin that’s itchy, too. Lactic acid can sting cracked skin, though, so use with caution, per the American Academy of Dermatology.
RELATED: The Best Anti-Aging Creams to Add to Your Skincare Regimen
9. Consider a Fruit Enzyme Cleanser or Exfoliant
Fruit enzymes can be lifesavers during dry-skin season. “These alpha-hydroxy acids are great for gently exfoliating the superficial layer of dulling dead skin cells on the face and body,” says Shainhouse. She recommends using a fruit enzyme–infused wash or mask twice per week. Some good fruit enzymes to look for include pineapple, pumpkin, and papaya.
10. Apply Aloe Vera to Dry, Irritated Skin
While often thought of as a remedy for sunburn relief, aloe vera gel can be helpful during the dry winter months, too. It works by alleviating redness and irritation related to excess dryness, and it can even decrease signs of aging, as well as acne breakouts, according to previous research. But Shainhouse cautions that some people can develop allergic contact dermatitis to aloe, so you may want to perform a patch test first before applying it to a large area of skin.
RELATED: 5 Sunburn Treatments to Save Your Vacation
RELATED: Is the Ketogenic Diet Good or Bad for Your Skin?
5 Expert Tips for Avoiding a Dry Skin Relapse
There are other steps you can take to protect your skin and help keep it from drying out.
- Make moisturizing a part of your daily skin care routine. As soon as you step out of the shower, slather your skin from head to toe with a rich, creamy product (the thicker it is, the richer it is), notes the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Develop other skin-friendly bathing habits. You should also avoid hot showers, limit baths to 10 minutes, and opt for a mild body wash rather than a drying bar soap, per the academy.
- Avoid exposing your skin to harsh chemicals. That includes alcohol and apple cider vinegar. These ingredients can worsen dry skin, and even cause burns in some cases, Shainhouse says.
- Drink plenty of water. Boosting your water intake helps hydrate your body and moisturize your skin from the inside out.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. This goes beyond wearing sunscreen in the summer to help protect against not only sunburns but also skin cancer. “Remember to put on your gloves before you go outside into the winter air, to prevent dryness and chapping,” Shainhouse says.
RELATED: 7 Creative Ways to Use Coconut Oil in Your Diet and Beauty Regimen
Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez.
Store-bought skin care products are loaded with chemicals and can be downright expensive. Make these 10 homemade natural skin care recipes instead.
You don’t have to fork out big bucks for great skin care. In fact, many department-store and drugstore brands of skin care products are packed full of harsh chemicals, toxic ingredients, artificial colors and more. Even so-called natural skin care brands may contain questionable ingredients that you wouldn’t want on your face.
Want to look up the safety of your skin care products? Check out Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep database. It has the ingredients list and potential toxins of more than 68,000 personal care products.
I checked on a few products that I used to use for anti-wrinkle skin care and was floored to see the results. Most of the products ranged in the 5-6 range out of a total 10 (with 10 at the highest level of potential hazards and toxins). That’s troubling to consider.
Luckily, I’ve learned to make my own skin care products. It’s easy with products you already have in your bathroom and pantry. In fact, here are 10 natural skin care recipes that can replace an entire skin care regime you’d probably pay a fortune for at a department store.
10 DIY Skin Care Recipes You Can Easily Make
1. Facial Wash
Forget the harsh cleansers. Try this Foaming Face Wash. It’s gentle, yet effective in keeping skin clean and clear.
2. Facial Scrub
Exfoliate your skin with this luxurious DIY Facial Scrub. It’s similar to facial scrubs you’d get in a spa (with the same results), yet at a fraction of the price.
3. Facial Mask
Pamper yourself with one of these 8 Honey Facial Masks to rejuvenate skin and give it a healthy glow.
I can’t believe how much I used to shell out for toners. This DIY Facial Toner will literally cost you pennies and it’s hydrating, pH balanced and excellent for blemish-prone and combination skin.
5. Eye Cream
An effective eye cream doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Try this DIY Eye Cream to hydrate the eye area and fight wrinkles.
Forget everything you know about moisturizers. Oil-free facial lotions can actually make the skin produce MORE oil than regular moisturizers or even facial oils. I have combination and blemish-prone skin, yet I absolutely LOVE this DIY Facial Oil Moisturizer with Sunscreen. It’s hydrating, but not oily – plus the addition of essential oils help to fight blemishes and fade sun spots. Here’s another Homemade Facial Lotion recipe.
7. Lip Balm
Think about how much you pay for lip balm. $2-4 for a tube doesn’t sound too expensive, right? You can actually make your own Organic DIY Lip Balm for Just $0.24 a Tube.
8. Facial Serum
Department-store brand facial serums are expensive – sometimes upwards of $50-$100 per bottle. Nourish skin naturally with this DIY facial serum. It costs pennies to make and includes just a few simple ingredients.
9. Shave Gel
Ditch the aerosol shaving creams (which contain harmful ingredients) and try this DIY Shave Gel. It’s excellent for both men (for facial hair) and women (for legs, under arms, etc.).
10. DIY Charcoal Peel-Off Mask
This DIY Charcoal Peel-Off Mask removes all those blackheads and impurities from the pores… leaving behind glowing, gorgeous and clear skin. Learn about the benefits of activated charcoal – it’s great for skin care and so many other things.
How to Choose the Right Container for Your DIY Skin Care
Not only is it great fun to choose gorgeous packaging for your homemade skincare, but the right container can also help keep your formula safe and stable for longer. In fact, it’s important to store your homemade skincare in proper, hygienic containers. Luckily there are lots of great packaging suppliers online who will send you containers that are ready to use for your beautiful botanical formulations.
It is easier to contaminate a product that is in an open jar than one dispensed from an air-tight container. When possible, choose pump or spray valves that dispense your formula without the need to open the product container. If it isn’t practical to use a pump or spray, perhaps because of the viscosity of the product, then you might consider adding a drop dispenser or a spatula to help get the product out of its packaging – and help reduce the likelihood of introducing contamination.
How to Make Natural Skin Care Products Last Longer
As it’s almost impossible to know the likely expiration date of homemade skincare products, one of the best tips is to produce small amounts. Not only does this mean your cream, balm or butter will be the very freshest it can be, but you’ll also get to play around with different ingredients regularly to whip up a fresh batch.
When you’re making anhydrous (no water) products that are suitably packaged to minimize contamination, you can make bigger volumes, but always remember to add an antioxidant such as Vitamin E or Rosemary CO2 extract to slow down product degradation.
With unpreserved, water-based products, its is advised you make single-use doses only when you need them. Microbial growth happens fast, especially given the perfect growing conditions found in room temperature.
Top Tips Natural Skin Care Products
- Make sure to choose the right containers for your products, open air jars are more prone to contamination.
- Make in small batches – at least in the beginning – is it can be hard to gauge the shelf life.
- Try a oil free lotion recipe for particularly dry skin.
More DIY Recipes
- Homemade Bubble Bath
- 10 Easy DIY Skin Care Swaps
- DIY Coconut Brown Sugar Scrub
- DIY Poo Pourri: After You Poo Spray
Did you try these DIY skin care recipes? Don’t forget to comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Want More DIY Beauty Recipes?
Check out my book Natural Beauty Made Simple. It comes with 45 homemade skincare recipes with a set of printable labels and gift tags. You can download it instantly to your phone, computer or e-reader, so it’s portable and can go with you anywhere!
With this book, you’ll learn how to:
- Make your own organic beauty and skin care products for less than $25 a month!
- Learn simple techniques to make your own skincare – without the fuss of complicated recipes or hard-to-find ingredients
- Get tried-and-true recipes that work to nourish the skin and make it look more radiant than ever before
- Create beautiful gifts for friends and family with the printable labels and gift tags I’ve included with this book
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / okkijan
FREE DIY Beauty Book
Get glowing skin and learn how to make your own DIY beauty products with simple ingredients from your kitchen. Plus, get my 7-day essential oils course to get gorgeous skin from the inside out.