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Are Skin Care Tools Worth It?

by Emily Linehan on May 28, 2021

With so many new high tech skincare tools on the market, it is tempting to purchase them to "up" your skincare game.

While a few may be worth your time and money, most of them simply aren’t powerful enough to be effective (and should be left to the professionals), while others can actually be very damaging to your skin.

Before you spend your hard-earned money on these DIY gadgets, here is expert advice from Emme Diane:

Skin Brushes

While skin brushes are marketed to "deep pore clean" the skin, not only does it underdeliver on that promise, but it also does more harm than good. Because of the sonic technology, it creates micro tears in the skin which causes the skin to be in a state of chronic inflammation. Overtime, this trauma can work against your skin and begin to breakdown collagen and elastin. If you are acne prone, these brushes also spread acne bacteria which can lead to new breakouts.

The key to a thorough cleanse is to make sure you massage your cleanser on your skin long enough using your fingertips and lukewarm water.

Micro Roller/Micro Needler

Although micro-rollers are marketed as a treatment to reverse the signs of aging and fade acne scarring, unfortunately they can create more problems than they solve. There are several reasons:

The needling itself is very traumatic to the pores which can create an acneic response leading to new breakouts.

The DIY home devices cannot be sterilized in between uses which can lead to not only the spread of acne bacteria, but potentially worse bacterial infection like staph or MRSA

Because of the trauma microneedling causes on the skin, you will have to discontinue any products with active ingredients (those that help to fight acne) until the skin clears. Since managing acne prone skin requires consistency with products that address the cause of acne and control acne bacteria, this would be the equivalent of skipping your skin routine and new acne would begin forming again.

Ice Rollers

Icing acne prone skin is one of the best ways to help calm inflammation and expedite the clearing of the skin. While ice rollers are convenient, there are a few reasons I highly recommend ice cubes instead. First, ice rollers do not get as cold as ice cubes which affects how effective icing the skin can be. Also, unless you sanitize ice rollers before every use (and ideally before you put them back in the freezer too), they will get dirty...and keep in mind that you are rolling it on bacteria filled lesions on the face. On the other hand, ice cubes are one time use, sanitary and free! So just grab two ice cubes from the freezer and roll them in a continuous motion on the face for about 1 minute after cleansing.

Jade Rollers/Gua Sha

Although I know it is very trendy right now, I do not suggest Jade/Quartz Rollers or Gua Sha for those who are acne prone since the pressure you put on the skin can potentially trigger new acne...especially deep, cystic acne. The reason is that there could be underlying breakouts forming and the pressure from rolling and massaging the skin can burst the follicle wall, infecting all the surrounding pores which leads to deep, cystic breakouts. So, in my opinion, the risks definitely outweigh the benefits.

Light Therapy/LED

Using LED light therapy can be a great way to help reduce inflammation as well as rejuvenate the skin. While there are many devices on the market these days, unfortunately many are not powerful enough to make a difference in the skin. Also, in order to reap the benefits, light therapy must be done regularly (in some cases, daily) which might be fun when you first get the light, but the novelty of it can wear off over time. If you feel like you are ready to make the investment (both time and money), the reputable and FDA-cleared company I recommend for LED Light Therapy is LightStim for Acne.

Personal Microderm/PDM

Based on professional microdermabrasion treatments, these tools would be contraindicated for those who have active acne as the micro-tears that microderm creates on the skin will spread acne bacteria around causing new breakouts to form. In addition, the suction from the tool can also cause an infected pimple or cysts to burst internally which spreads the infection to the surrounding pores beneath the skin leading to larger, more painful breakouts. In addition, the suction from these tools can cause broken capillaries which only an expensive laser can correct, but also can over-exfoliate the skin leading to excessive irritation, inflammation and dryness. So, PDM devices should be avoided regardless if you have active acne or not.

Pore Vacuum

Although it is reasonable to believe that pore vacuums would be the perfect tool for those who are acne-prone to help clear the skin, the damage they cause to the skin is why I advise to avoid these tools completely. The suction can create micro-tears in the skin that allows acne bacteria to spread easily and trigger new breakouts. Also, the suction can cause an infected pimple or cysts to burst internally which spreads the infection to the surrounding pores leading to larger, more painful breakouts. Lastly, the suction can cause broken capillaries which only an expensive laser treatment can correct. So please avoid using a pore vacuum at home to ensure your skin clears quickly and stays clear.

High Frequency

One of the oldest tools in the esthetics world, High Frequency has been around forever...and for good reason! It is an effective tool to help kill acne bacteria and accelerate the clearing of acne breakouts. The home devices are quite effective (my recommendation is this handheld high frequency device) and can be used whenever you have active acne. Here is my recommendation on how to use a high frequency tool:

At night after cleansing and icing, apply 2 pumps of Skin Quencher Gel and 2 pumps of your Emme Diane moisturizer to the skin to keep it moist and then use the High Frequency device on any active acne (follow manufacturer's instructions). Do not use longer than 1 minute on a pimple, and no longer than 5 minutes total...if the skin begins to dry out while using it, apply more Skin Quencher Gel and moisturizer (you do not want the skin to feel dry/tight while using). Immediately after, cleanse your skin again and follow with your toner and the rest of your nighttime skincare regimen.


While it's tempting to try to use a tool designed for popping pimples, this tool causes so much damage to the skin that we do not even use them in our facial treatments at Emme Diane! Not only can they lead to bruising and capillary damage, but they can also cause a deep rupturing of the acne lesion which infects the surrounding pores with bacteria and can lead to severe scarring. So, please avoid using an extractor tool on the skin and avoid picking at or popping your pimples in general! If you find you are having trouble breaking this habit, please read my No Picking Agreement which has tips and tricks on how to break the picking/popping habit.

Facial Shavers

Removing facial hair is very common these days...in the professional world, we call it Dermaplaning. But as you may have noticed, face shaving on active acne can lead to new acne breakouts. Also, many of the face shaving tools on the market (electric and single blade) will only lead to more problems due to the irritating friction it creates which triggers an acnegenic response on acne prone skin. So my suggestion is to first discontinue all face shaving until the skin is steady clear. Once the skin is steady clear, I can teach you my method on how to safely remove facial hair without triggering new acne breakouts. :)

Curious which skincare tools are #EmmeApproved? Learn more about which tools I do recommend if you're wanting to do more when it comes to skincare here.


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