Whirrrr pop. Whirrrr pop. Whirrrrrrr pop. 

By Loni Venti
February 17, 2021
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Once upon a time, I splurged on regular facials. It was my favorite self-care indulgence—and I had the smooth skin and squeaky clean pores to prove it. But fast forward a bit, approximately one baby and a whole global pandemic later, and things aren't quite as decadent as they once were. See also: Working and momming from home 24/7. While I may not currently have the downtime or funds (OK, or the energy) to visit my favorite skincare pro, I'd still like to keep my complexion as healthy and happy as possible. 

So when I learned that there were at-home microdermabrasion devices that could exfoliate my tired-looking skin and deep-clean my pores, I was very excited to give it a whirl. Here's how it went, and everything you need to know if you want to try it.  

There are actually hundreds of home microderm wands (who knew?!), but I opted to test out PMD's Personal Microderm Pro Elite ($299; ulta.com). Between the glowing reviews, customizable settings, and sleek, self-contained packaging, I was intrigued. According to the brand, it works in three ways: exfoliation, vacuum suction, and absorption. Exfoliation removes the skin's dead, dull barrier, the vacuum helps trigger cell turnover, and the absorption is possible thanks to the exfoliation (since your skin can better soak up skincare products once that dry, dead layer is gone). Once it arrived, I charged it up, washed and towel-dried my face, and got busy buffing.  

The treatment itself is easy and surprisingly soothing. With long, swift, outward strokes, the wand gently suctioned while exfoliating with a textured, crystal-coated little disc. As it traced along my face, it left a thin trail of powder behind which turned out to be the dead skin cells the wand buffed away. Some of that pore residue also ends up inside the cap of the wand, which you rinse after use. The most satisfying part was seeing that it was actually working.

The motion, suction, and sound of the wand (kind of like a quiet hum, then a pop once you lift away from the skin) was addicting, in an ASMR way. You're only supposed to glide over each area once, but I couldn't help myself from repeating in a few spots because I liked everything about the process so much. 

The only tricky part was really getting into the curves and around my nose. I found that moving in downward motions made it easier, but still couldn't get into the same groove as I did with the rest of my face. This was a slight bummer because the pores on my nose need the most help. But I don't think it's something you won't be able to master with some practice. 

The whole process, including my not-recommended repeated areas, took less than 10 minutes.

You'll see results right away, but it gets better and better. After rinsing off the dusty residue, I could immediately see and feel a difference. Although there was a bit of redness, especially around the trickier spots to target (like my nose), my skin looked luminous and light bounced right off of it. It felt incredibly silky to the touch, and when I applied my favorite serum and nighttime oil, it soaked them right up. 

The next morning, I could really notice the effects. The redness was gone, my pores appeared smaller, and the fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead were less noticeable. And just like the night before, my face felt softer than it had in...forever. When I applied my makeup, it went on smoothly and seemed to blend much more quickly and easily than usual. Another surprising observation: It didn't rub off on my clothing the way it usually does. 

The brand recommends using the wand once a week for 8 to 12 weeks, and then occasionally as needed. Once your skin gets used to the treatment, you can swap in more intense exfoliating discs to amp up the results. It even comes with larger discs that can be used to microderm your body (I'll definitely be checking those out once the weather is warmer). 

In conclusion: I'm hooked. And can't wait to keep using this each week. Whether you're looking for a facial appointment alternative, or something to help extend the benefits of a skin-soothing spa day, I highly recommend giving a home microderm wand a try. Aside from gaining smoother, softer skin, honestly I'm just pumped to add a few extra minutes of me time to my routine. Who couldn't use a little extra self-care these days? 

If you're interested in the PMD pore-sucker for yourself—or you're looking for a more budget-friendly option—here are some of my favorite gadgets below. 

$299, ulta.com

Need I say more? PMD's high-tech, customizable at-home device offers spa-worthy microdermabrasion.

$29, walgreens.com

This thing exfoliates and polishes in just two steps for baby-smooth skin.  

$24, amazon.com

This vacuum cleaner for your skin is designed to suck out blackheads without causing irritation.