Attach a single-use puff containing ultra-fine aluminum oxide crystals to the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Rejuvenator and massage damp skin to remove dead cells. “It makes your skin glow by smoothing its surface,” says Dina Yaghmai, a Chicago dermatologist. It may also help topical skin treatments that you apply afterward (like retinol) to penetrate more deeply, says Linda K. Franks, a New York City dermatologist. Use it up to three days a week (avoid it if you have severe acne or rosacea).
To buy: $40 at drugstores; comes with 12 puffs.
2 of 7Craig Cutler
The Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Brush oscillates more than 300 times a second to loosen and lift dirt from skin. Dermatologists agree that it does a good job of deep cleaning, and it removes dead cells from the surface, which can make your skin look and feel smoother temporarily. They suggest applying light pressure to the brush, which is used daily with cleanser, and washing it once a week with soap and water so it doesn’t harbor bacteria. Think of this device as an electric toothbrush for the skin―not a necessity for cleaning, but something that will get into every nook and cranny. A boon for those prone to clogged pores.
For anyone looking to troubleshoot more than one skin problem, the Ansr: Beam acts as a multitasker. Aim its blue LED onto your skin for five minutes to kill the P. acnes bacteria that cause blemishes; switch to the red LED to help stimulate collagen production, which may help reduce lines and redness. “Red and blue lights work at different depths and therefore on different problems of the skin,” explains Ellen Marmur, a New York City dermatologist. (A similar treatment offered by doctors is stronger and covers a larger area at one time.) Many experts view this device as a good adjunct, when used daily, to a topical skin-care regimen that includes treatments containing retinol or peptides.
By delivering heat to a pimple for about two minutes, the battery-operated Zeno Mini Acne Clearing Device destroys P. acnes bacteria and helps heal inflamed, clogged pores. The heat concept is a sound one, say experts, citing the old strategy of using warm compresses to coax pimples to come to a head. “It can help a blemish clear faster and decrease the chances of scarring,” says Franks. To reduce the size of a single blemish at a dermatologist’s office, you would pay anywhere from $75 to $100 for a cortisone injection (which may be covered by insurance). If you suffer frequent and more severe breakouts, try the Tända Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment ($250, sephora.com), which uses the light from blue LEDs to kill bacteria over larger areas.
The handheld HairMax LaserComb delivers heat energy to hair follicles, increasing blood flow and circulation. This can result in larger follicles that produce thicker hair shafts. Although this device has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss in men, “it is likely to improve hair diameter in women, too, especially when combined with topical prescription medications,” says Michael Reed, a New York City dermatologist. It may also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the scalp, which could potentially prevent future hair loss, says Franks. Use three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes per session. While there are less expensive laser devices out there, “this is the current gold standard,” says Reed, “and I wouldn’t pinch pennies.”
The Tria Laser Hair Removal System diode laser is absorbed by the dark pigment in hair, and that heat inhibits new growth. “Use it on small areas, like underarms or the bikini line, at least once a month for six months to see the most lasting results,” says Marmur. (You would need two to six sessions in a doctor’s office, at about $500 each, making this device less expensive in the long run.) Note: The laser works well on coarse, dark hair and fair skin, say experts. It’s not as effective on lighter hair, and it can cause pigmentation spots on deeper skin tones. The laser should not be used on the face or the neck, and the small head may not be practical for large areas, like the legs. For those, try Silk’n SensEpil ($500, silkn.com), which uses pulsed light and covers more area.
The battery-operated NuFace Facial Toning System delivers a low-level electrical microcurrent to the muscles under the skin. “This technology has been used for many years by doctors for wound healing, and it may stimulate the production of collagen and elastin,” says Marmur. It may also increase muscle tone and help make slack skin appear tighter when used about five minutes a day for three months. After that, use it two to three times a week for maintenance. In a doctor’s office, a more advanced technique called Thermage costs about $1,000 to $3,000.