You probably gasp when you hear the word “skin spatula“? Run? Danno, reserve it. Yes, I am not.
Now, I wouldn’t say I’m titillated by them, but I also wouldn’t say I’m running away from them in a panic. I guess you could say I’m interested, which is perhaps why this past summer I kept slipping farther and further down the pimple-popping, skincare-preaching Instagram rabbit hole. I was persuaded that I had to try one of the ultrasonic skin spatulas that have been hailed as one of, if not the greatest blackhead removers on the market after spending enough nights glassy-eyed and riveted to the television.
After a month, I am here here to share my experiences.
After a month, I am here here to share my experiences. But let’s start with the fundamentals, like I did before applying the high-tech equipment to my face, such as what it is, how it operates, and whether it is indeed effective.
What Exactly Is an Ultrasonic Skin Spatula?
According to Sejal Shah, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, “it’s a device that exfoliates the skin by using ultrasonic peeling machines or ultrasonic scrubbing machine, which are essentially vibrations, to loosen and draw out excess dead skin cells and debris; it then slides over the skin to collect what has been extracted.”
The device, often referred to as an ultrasonic skin scrubber, resembles a wand more so than a pancake-flipping spatula. While there are many different types of scrubbers available, they all generally have a metal head and a stylish handle. Additionally, many skin spatulas offer a variety of capabilities, including moisturizing and lifting modes. However, the main appeal of these tools is their capacity to clear blocked pores and gather the debris that is released in the process, giving users a sense of satisfaction comparable to that of Dr. Pimple Popper.
The reason why people are so captivated by it, according to Katina Byrd Miles, M.D., F.A.A.D., founder and medical director of Skin Oasis Dermatology in Gambrills, Maryland, is that you can actually feel the oils erupting when you push on the face.
Sincere to say, I am one of them. And, having used one of these bad boys myself, I can attest to their propensity for effortlessly providing a satisfying de-gunking experience.
What Is the Process of an Ultrasonic Skin Spatula?
At its most basic, the device vibrates at high frequencies to release sebum (also known as oil), dead skin cells, and impurities from your pores. Not all skin spatulas provide the same number of vibrations, just like other sonic skin care products (like the Foreo face brush, a celebrity favorite). The ipl device I used, the Vanity Planet Essia Ultrasonic Lifting and Exfoliating Wand (Buy It, $90, amazon.com), for instance, vibrates at 30,000 times per second. Increased vibrations should result in greater force needed to remove the muck.
The consensus is that a skin spatula should only be used 1-3 times per week (remember: it’s a sort of exfoliation) and on damp skin, albeit they do differ in terms of exact directions. Why? It all comes down to lubricant (wink wink, nudge nudge). But honestly, according to Dr. Shah, wet skin makes it easier for the device to slide and prevents inflammation. The chance of irritation still exists, and in my situation, it is a reality. And with that.
She claims that excessive or vigorous use of the gadgets is a regular occurrence with at-home use. People frequently think that more is better, which can create skin irritation and thickness. This can make the skin feel harsh and promote the growth of acne.
Consider it as having a callus when lifting weights or walking: the more friction there is against your skin, the more likely it is that your skin will strive to protect itself and thicken. Therefore, she advises against using an ultrasonic skin spatula if you have sensitive, dry, or rosacea skin. “The greatest candidate for this type of equipment would be someone with sturdy [not sensitive] skin,” she says.and oily skin because, most times, they’re able to tolerate more aggressive regimen and treatments.”
I was determined to give an ultrasonic skin spatula the old college try, though, as someone who is rather stubborn and has combination (often oily) skin. So, for a month, I once a week utilized the Essia Ultrasonic Lifting and Exfoliation Wand. And what about you? It adds some fun to my skincare regimen without a doubt. As I’ve made shamefully plain, I’m a sucker for wonderful skincare tools like the Essia and satisfying de-gunking remedies. Furthermore, I felt extremely clean after each treatment (in addition to the aforementioned redness and swelling). And after a weekly apartment cleaning, there’s something about literally seeing dirt physically emerge from your pores that makes you feel like Monica Geller: successful, content, and sure that I wouldn’t find a crumb (or, in this case, a clogged pore) for days going forward.
Sure, after most sessions, I looked and felt less congested in the usual trouble spots (i.e. on and around the nose). However, there were a few instances when it didn’t work as well. The next morning, when I looked in the mirror, I could still see several clogged pores on my chin and T-zone. In addition, on one or two occasions I discovered a painful new nodule on my chin when I woke up. Not. Cool.
According to Dr. Miles, any treatment might result in skin purging, which would bring acne that was growing beneath the skin to the surface. “Cysts may occur if the treatment promotes acne inflammation.”
I gave up on it — at least for the time being — due to my (frequently hormonal) cystic acne and an unanticipated under-the-skin circumstance. But as I’ve already mentioned, I’m a sucker for pleasurable skincare procedures. Therefore, until I get over my phobia of causing new acne to flare up — which will probably happen over time — my skin spatula will stay in its new location: under my sink.