Not All At-Home Beauty And Skin Care Gadgets Are Good For Your Complexion

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We all want to look our best and may even fall resort to a “quick fix” from time to time. After getting my first facial where I experienced the gloriousness of dermaplaining, I was so excited about the results I couldn’t order my own blades fast enough.

After all, how hard is it to remove the first layer of skin yourself? And at a fraction of the cost? I thought it was a no-brainer, for sure.

Except it wasn’t.

I ran into a few snags. And by that I mean my tool didn’t gently remove those fine hairs on my face but tugged at each one instead. Ouch.

Oh, and if you like having the “I got a sunburn and my face is peeling” look, I recommend giving at-home dermaplaining tools a try. Seems it didn’t quite catch the whole layer of skin — just enough so I had to apply moisturizer every hour for a few days to keep my skin from falling into my food and into the space of others.

These beauty trend items are splashed all over our favorite places like Pinterest and Instagram, not to mention getting celebrity endorsements, which makes purchasing them for at-home use ultra tempting.

But resisting is key here, and I’ll tell you why.

Scary Mommy talked with Dr. Gretchen Frieling, a Boston area board-certified dermatopathologist with over 10 years experience, and she warns of the risks of trying some of these beauty trends at home. So put that credit card down right now and listen up.


That dermaplaning tool I was using at home can be painful and spread infection, according to Frieling, who also adds, “If you have acne, the blade could nick a pimple which can take it longer to heal.”

Isn’t that the opposite of what we want? We are trying to heal our skin so it can look its best, not inflict new wounds we are going to have to deal with later. So leave the dermaplaning to a professional and have peace of mind it’s actually working and you aren’t creating further damage to your face.


If you thought getting botox was something you had to have performed by a doctor or nurse, you are right. However, it’s not stopping people from buying who-the-hell-knows-what from websites claiming to sell injectable botox to you so you can inject it yourself.

“While this may be tempting considering the cost of botox, leave this one to the pros,” Dr. Frieling says. “There’s no way for you to know what you are actually injecting into your face. Those with no medical background or experience with neurotoxins shouldn’t be injecting any products as it could cause an array of aesthetic and functional complications, including eyelid drooping, excessive swelling, bruising, and a great risk of infection.”

In fact, Dr. Frieling adds, “The infection may become so severe that it becomes a staph infection that spreads throughout the body and causes a variety of diseases.”

You hear that, folks? There’s no excuse for performing botox on yourself or anyone, I don’t care how many YouTube tutorials you watch.

Today reports that if botox is injected by an “unskilled injector” (that would be most people ordering it online and doing it at home), you could end up with an asymmetrical face.

Did you know there’s a black market for botox? Dr. Misbah Kahn, a dermatologist out of New York City tells Today, “Do not look for the better deal. Make sure you know what’s going in your face. If it’s too cheap, it may be acquired on the black market, or the botox they’re using might be expired or about to expire.”

In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Lip-plumping devices

Getting fillers in your lips is painful and expensive, so why not take a suction cup to your kissers to get the luscious lips you want? Here’s a good reason: “Overuse of suction cup lip plumpers can cause misalignment of the teeth due to the outward pressure of the suction,” says Frieling.

Sure, you are saving money by forgoing the fillers, but you are going to pay up the ass later for orthodontist work not to mention, “Devices such as theses can cause swelling, bruising, and scaring of the lips when used excessively,” says Frieling.

Waist trainers

Women are still feeling the need to squeeze their insides hoping to achieve that hourglass figure. The Kardashians are to blame for the rise in this form of self-inflicted pain since the trend ramped up in 2014 after Kim and Khloe posted pictures of themselves wearing them, claiming they are the cause of their signature tiny waists.

Dr. Frieling advises against wearing these corset-like body slimmers, saying they “decrease the available internal space for your organs and it’s not healthy.”

USA Today reports that wearing these garments can actually “strangle your organs” and using them for long periods of time can cause permanent damage to your insides. YIKES.

Not to mention they must be super uncomfortable to wear. Pass me a nice pair of stretchy Spanx any day and I’m happy. There’s no need to torture your insides (literally) just to lose an inch or two. Give me a break.


I know, I know, purchasing a microneedling roller to get rid of wrinkles and improve elasticity in our skin is tempting. In fact, this may be the biggest trend of all, because it does work when done properly — by your dermatologist or plastic surgeon, that is.

Dr. Frieling says when you buy a tool online, you risk having dull needles which can cause problems saying,”The needles aren’t big enough to penetrate the proper holes into the skin, so you’re essentially damaging your face for no reason.”

Also, without proper cleaning, these tools are a magnet for bacteria which can cause further damage to the skin such as “redness, bumps, inflammation spots, and brown patches,” says Frieling.

So, now that we’ve taken all your fun away and told you to throw out the mail-order botox, corsets, and needles or blades you’ve ordered, we are happy to share there are safe beauty procedures you can indulge in at home without the risk.

Some examples from Dr. Frieling are:

Hydrating masks

“These not only hydrate your skin, they also soothe, nourish, and strengthen the skin barrier,” says Frieling. A hydrating mask is safe for most skin types although if you have oily skin, a clay mask is a good alternative.

There’s nothing like the feeling of your skin after a good face mask. And you never have to worry if you are doing it wrong or you’re going to leave behind scars or infections.

Light chemical peels

“Keep these at home peels to the superficial ones,” says Dr. Frieling, adding you should always avoid the deep peels reserved for professional use. Even if they are available to you, they can lead to “infections, discoloring, and even scaring.”

Unless you have sensitive skin, the doctor says these weekly enzyme peels are safe for weekly use “to maintain cell turnover and keep the pores clean.”

Exfoliating scrubs

There are lots of scrubs to choose from that are safe for your skin to keep it looking fresh and bright. However, Dr. Frieling says you must pay attention to your skin type and exfoliate to meet your skin’s needs. “Someone with oily skin can exfoliate more than someone with dry or sensitive skin,” she says. Just pay attention to how your skin feels after a good scrub down.

The market is bombarded with so many do-it-yourself treatments, and we are all trying to stretch our dollars. But it’s important to know whether you’re spending your money on an infection or investing in something that will make you look and feel worse than you would without it.

Get your tools from a trusted aesthetician or dermatologist. And when it comes to putting needles or blades into your skin, leave it to a professional, not your best friend, co-worker, or you after Friday night pizza.

And if you ask me, those waist-trimmer-torture-devices need to die already. I don’t care who is wearing them. No one needs to sacrifice their organs’ health for a smaller mid-section.

Let’s move past putting our health in jeopardy in an attempt to appear smaller and younger once and for all, shall we?

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