At-Home Devices - Best Health Magazine - September 2009
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At-Home Devices - Best Health Magazine - September 2009

Switched-On Beauty

By Dorie Montanera

Forget rushing to appointments. New at-home devices remove hair, treat acne, and more.

Until recent innovations in home spa tools, if I wanted body hair removed, it could cost me thousands. It would take up to 45 minutes to get to a cosmetic dermatologist or medspa for laser treatment, another 15 minutes or so for the procedure, then a trek home. I’d have to do it about five times over six months for almost permanent results.

Now, I can stay home and take 30 seconds to “flash” a small area, like my underarm, with a light-based hair removal device. I would still have to do this repeatedly to get results, but the convenience had heated up demand for at-home high-tech tools, say Stacy Baker, the New York-based editorial director for the beauty chain store Sephora.

How do home machines for hair removal, wrinkles, deep cleansing and acne reduction stack up to in-office procedures? “They both get you from A to B,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist in Toronto, but the in-office procedure “is significantly superior and will get you there faster and more effectively.”

That’s because the intensity of home devices is toned down for safety reasons. Even so, Kellett cautions you should check with a physician and read the literature that comes with the products before using them. And expect sensations such as tingling or mild discomfort.

 

FOR HAIR REMOVAL

Silk’n Hair Removal
WHAT IT DOES Silk’n uses pulsed light that targets the dark pigment (melanin) in your hair, disabling the hair follicle. You can use it on underarms, full bikini area and legs – anywhere except face and neck. 
SIMILARITY TO PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT Though Silk’n is not a laser, it has been marketed as an at-home alternative to laser hair removal
WHAT’S INVOLVED Touch it to the skin and push a button; you’ll see a flash of light. It may fell like the snap of a runner band on your skin. Use biweekly for the first few sessions. 
WHO IT’S BEST FOR It’s not cheap, so it’s suited for those who regularly get hair removed professionally. Silk’n is made for those with dark hair and light skin because it targets your hair’s dark pigment – it won’t work as well on blondes, redheads or those with white or grey hair. 
SAFETY CAUTIONS/CONCERNS Don’t use it on you face, tanned skin (including tans from a self-tanner), or after recent sun exposure; it may cause burns, scarring and pigment changes. Also, don’t use it on tattoos, large moles or scars. 
RESULTS Clinical studies showed on average a 50 percent reduction in hair three months after three bi-weekly treatments. 
PRICE $800

FOR FACIAL WRINKLES AND SAGGING

Tua Viso
WHAT IT DOES Electric stimulation tones facial muscles for a firmer face and neck. 
SIMILARITY TO PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) and Thermage (intense heat treatment that stimulates collagen) 
WHAT’S INVOLVED Hold unit to brows, cheek or jowls, then press the button to release a current that contracts the muscle. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for a treatment; repeat three times a week. 
WHO IT’S BEST FOR Anyone concerned about wrinkles and aging skin. 
SAFETY CAUTIONS/CONCERNS Don’t use it if you have a pacemaker, or in conjunction with Botox
RESULTS A small clinical trial conducted at Bologna University in Italy showed visible facial lift and redefinition after three weeks. 
PRICE $299

FOR DEEP CLEANSING

Clarisonic Plus with Spot Therapy Brush
WHAT IT DOES This device deep-cleanses the face, and smoothes elbows and knees. 
SIMILARITY TO PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT Deep Cleansing
WHAT’S INVOLVED Sonic vibrations reduce rough, dry patches, giving you softer, firmer, smoother skin. You can use it daily. 
WHO IT’S BEST FOR Anyone who wants a deep clean. 
SAFETY CAUTIONS/CONCERNS If you have a skin condition, check with your doctor. 
RESULTS By getting rid of dead skin cells, ithelps brighten skin. 
PRICE $225

FOR ACNE

ThermaClear Acne Clearing Device
WHAT IT DOES It delivers a pulse of heat directly to the pimple, neutralizing P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne. 
SIMILARITY TO PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT Intense Pulse Light
WHAT’S INVOLVED Zap the pimple for two seconds in the morning and at night. 
WHO IT’S BEST FOR Those with mild to moderate acne. 
SAFETY CAUTIONS/CONCERNS Don’t use it around sensitive areas such as eyes, lips or skin lesions. 
RESULTS It claims to clear up blemishes four times faster than not using anything. 
PRICE $150

Tanda Clear Acne Light Therapy Treatment
WHAT IT DOES It delivers blue light from a light-emitting diode (LED) to kill P. acnes bacteria. 
SIMILARITY TO PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT Intense Pulse Light
WHAT’S INVOLVED Treat pimples for three minutes in the morning and at night. Blemishes begin to clear in 24 hours. 
WHO IT’S BEST FOR Anyone with mild to moderate or hormonal acne. Studies show it also improves rosacea. 
SAFETY CAUTIONS/CONCERNS Don’t use it if you are taking any kind of steroids or have suspicious lesions on your face. 
RESULTS An in vitro laboratory study for Tanda showed an 86 percent reduction in acne-causing bacteria after six minutes of exposure. A clinical study by the Tennessee Clinical Research Center found a significant reduction in acne and overall improvement of the subject’s skin. 
PRICE $275

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