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I had to do it. I’m a skincare nerd at heart and I can talk skincare ingredients and skin science all day but I have a soft spot for devices, tools, and treatments. Today I’ll be discussing some of my favorites – the ones I really reach for and see results with. We’ve got everything from red light therapy and microneedling to radio frequency and microcurrent.
I think it’s important to stress the importance of having your skincare routine down first before moving onto devices and treatments. There’s no substitute for daily skincare with proven ingredients for your skin type and concerns – and you can’t make up for a lack of one with a treatment. That being said, skincare is largely preventative so if you’ve got that down and you’re seeing areas of concern, a device or treatment can be a valuable tool.
Click here to see my infographic on the treatment depths of various at-home treatments. Make sure you’re selecting something that can actually help with your areas of concern and don’t pick too many things targeting the same area.
These are often the most affordable and easy to do. All you need to do is get the peel itself and the basic supplies like a degreasing agent, gauze, and gloves and then you just apply the peel. Easy right? Not quite. It’s very important to research and practice safety – from which peel to start with, how to properly apply, skin prep leading up to the peel, and aftercare. I have in-depth information on peels in the Units of my Facebook Group too. Chemical peels are a great option though for really resurfacing the skin and if you’re short on time, a series of these can produce results without the time commitment of other options we will discuss.
- ASDM Beverley Hills 40% Glycolic Acid Peel is an unbuffered, professional grade peel and features glycolic acid which has arguably the most research behind it as well. Great for signs of aging, hyper pigmentation, texture, and scarring plus safe for most skin tones. You definitely want to proceed with caution but this one is good for beginners because it’s versatile. You can dilute it down to 10% to make it gentler as well as remove it sooner. Probably one of my most used peels in addition to their lactic acid.
- Perfect Image RevitaBoost Peel Pads are a really great transition step between AHA peels and stronger TCA peels. You’ve got 15% TCA, 15% glycolic acid, and 5% other acids but the added amino acids and extracts plus the pad form gives a gentler, more controlled application than a true TCA without the same level of risk either. You’ll get actual peeling and you can increase the layers to make it stronger.
- Dermalure is my go-to brand for stronger peels like TCA and Jessner’s peels and their Red Carpet Peel is probably my favorite intensive peel that I’ve ever done. I just recommend working your way up to the stronger peels and making sure you’re the right candidate.
This section is dedicated to devices and tools used for increasing the penetration of your serums and other skincare. We invest time and money into skincare and we want to get the most out of it. Some ingredients especially, like the growth factors, really benefit with some help getting into the skin due to their larger size and hydrophilic nature. The Bradceuticals Double Concentration Mesenchymal Growth Factor Serum is my favorite serum to infuse if I could only pick one and you can use the non-affiliate code “mira2020” for a discount on Amazon.
- Nano needling aka nano infusion. This treatment moves the skin cells around to help get ingredients past the skin barrier. I have to be honest with you guys…. I’ve never really been a fan of nano needling. If I’m going to get my microneedling pen out, I might as well cosmetic needle and get the benefit of both infusion and thickening the epidermis via triggering the wound healing process and the release of growth factors. Nano needling with a pen leaves my skin raw and irritated as well. This recently changed due to the Osmosis EPIC Skin Tool (and you can now use code mira20 for 20% off too). This is what I would basically call a nano roller, it has the same metal pyramids as a nano cartridge. It combines a relaxing facial massage with a 30% increase in penetration of your serums and is really well made and high quality. Perfect for someone who isn’t comfortable microneedling at home or who is like me and likes something convenient and easy to use between microneedling treatments.
- Electroporation. This involves the application of an electrical current to the skin which permeabilizes the skin via temporary channels so that skincare ingredients can better get into the skin. Many treatments, like microcurrent and radio frequency skin tightening, also have this added benefit. But in between those treatments, I like to use something quick like the Karloz 5 in 1 Facial Massager. This features mild RF, EMS, and ultrasound but is essentially an electroporation device for better penetration of your skincare. I’ve tried cheaper options and they were weak and didn’t do the job but if I find other electroporation devices I love then I will update.
While there’s some discomfort involved and this treatment won’t be for everyone at home due to the strict sanitation involved, this is a fantastic treatment. Please do your research as again, sanitation as critical. You’re creating dozens and dozens of micro injuries which can introduce infection or the wrong skincare used could cause allergic contact dermatitis or foreign body granuloma response. Like with chemical peels, we have a section to get you started in the group.
- Cosmetic microneedling. If you’re already comfortable nano needling, cosmetic microneedling is a great next step before medical microneedling. Using needles lengths under .30mm, this treatment triggers the epidermal wound healing process in the top layer of the skin and can be used carefully to infuse serums too. You’ll not only thicken the epidermis but research on burn patients indicates that epidermal keratinocytes may actually regulate dermal fibroblasts and form new collagen. I really like the convenience of a derma roller for cosmetic microneedling, just make sure to pick one with real and medical grade stainless steel needles like the Angel Kiss derma roller I use. You’ll need to sanitize your skin and the roller before use and then properly cleanse the roller after as well as replace every 4-5 uses (as covered in-depth in the FB group Units).
- Medical microneedling. The purpose of medical microneedling is the formation of new collagen, NOT infusion. Needles .50mm and longer are used to penetrate both the epidermis and the dermis which triggers the wound healing cascade and the release of growth factors that this entails as well as skin remodeling later on. Sanitation is absolutely critical and only sterile saline and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid can be used for glide during the treatment as well as the treatment day. I do prefer to use a microneedling pen for my medical microneedling every 4-6 weeks as you have the added benefit of single use, sterilized cartridges. The Dr Pen microneedling pens are very well known and popular and I would go with their newer models with the higher motor power like the A7 model or the M8 pen. For the most accurate penetration depth, always use cartridges with 9-16 count needles.
Radio Frequency Skin Tightening
RF uses an electrical current and the skin’s resistance to that current generates heat which contracts collagen and elastin fibers for a tightening effect. This also triggers skin remodeling and the formation of new collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid.
- The NEWA Radio Frequency Device (code “mira10” to save 10%, stacks with any current sales) is the only at-home RF option I use and recommend. Like all the brands I’ve teamed up with as an affiliate, I purchased it myself with my own money first and tested it. The NEWA, like the Myolift Mini I’ll talk about in a second, I actually researched and wanted for a long time before getting it as based on the specs it’s head and shoulders above other competitors. RF needs to penetrate deep enough and get the skin hot enough to work and the NEWA is the rare home option that does both. You also want to make sure it’s not getting so deep that it’s potentially shrinking fat cells in the subcutaneous layer and the NEWA’s precise 3DEEP technology (the same tech used in ENDYMED professional machines) ensures that doesn’t happen. RF is a proven treatment as well but NEWA itself has over 40 clinical studies, making it one of the most effective devices you can buy. I’m a huge fan and this is one of my most used devices hands down.
Microcurrent uses low level current to reprogram muscles, resulting in either tightening or lengthening depending on setting and technique. As mentioned above, it has the added benefit of increased product penetration via electroporation. But even more beneficial is the increase in ATP it can produce, the energy required for all cellular processes including wound healing.
- 7EWellness Myolift Mini. Like the NEWA, I wanted this for years before purchasing it and have been using it since April 2020. I wasn’t impressed with handheld options like the NuFace and stumbled upon it originally in search of professional results at home. It has a good selection of waveforms and along with the separate prongs and gloves means it can be used for “true microcurrent” aka the GTO technique where you isolate individual facial muscles and work from origin and insertion toward the belly of the muscle inward to tighten or outward to lengthen. Anatomy knowledge and willingness to get past the learning curve is key as it’s definitely a professional device not a consumer one. But the results are worth it, in my opinion.
Red Light Therapy & Near Infrared Light
I have to admit, by itself RLT is a fairly subtle treatment where you really see the results over time. But it pairs beautifully with so many treatments and it’s so quick and easy with a high-powered device that it gets a lot of love in my routine. The skin can absorb light and when it’s the right wavelength and dose, it can stimulate wound healing without the need for micro damage like with microneedling. It activates important cellular processes like stimulating our mitochondria to produce more ATP and stem cells for better wound healing, exerts a strong anti inflammatory effect, and causes some metabolic stress which strengthens our defenses (aka hormesis effect). There is a compelling amount of research behind it as well.
- The Wolezek Red Light/NIR Lamp is my top recommendation for those starting out. It features effective wavelengths, high irradiance, and a low EMF rating. You can get a treatment done in under 4 minutes from 12 inches away or 5 minutes from 18 inches away, making it really convenient to use the 4-5 times a week needed. It matches the output of most panels just has a smaller treatment area making it perfect for someone doing face and/or neck and you can even use it closer to the body for joint pain and other internal uses. The output has been checked with a PAR meter by a group member too which really puts my mind at ease. I’m a broken record here but see the FB group units for even more info and a link to the amazing red light guide by Ari Whitten that I highly recommend.
Bonus tip: use green tea or some kind of antioxidant prior to your red light treatment. RLT does generate some free radicals so using green tea will get you results in 1/10 the time per some of the studies done. I really enjoy the Isntree Fresh Green Tea Toner a lot but if you want a serum that you can use with red light and your regular routine too (especially if you lean dry,) the Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum is wonderful too and very versatile. I’ve recently become an affiliate after using for a very long time and code “mira10” will save you 10% off Maysama.
Okay, so it’s basically shaving with some added exfoliation. But it’s incredible how much smoother my skin looks and my makeup sits without the peach fuzz. I also find that it can be paired with gentler peels as well as an exfoliating mask like the Skin Actives Scientific Alpha Beta Exfoliant Solution (non-affiliate code “buynow15” will save you 15% plus you get free shipping) to really boost them and used before nano needling and mesotherapy can further aid penetration. Just never combine with a treatment you haven’t done before.
- I use a #10 surgical scalpel for my dermaplaning, just like many professionals use for dermaplaning in office. I’ve been doing it for a long time and have both a steady hand and medical training. I don’t really feel comfortable recommending that to you guys or linking them though to be honest. I would check out something like the Miss Gorgeous Eyebrow Razors (recommended to me by a friend and I’ve purchased them myself for others) or a sonic dermaplaning tool.
Mesotherapy is a form of trans dermal injection like microneedling. However, instead of creating channels and then topically applying skincare ingredients you’re instead injecting the active ingredient directly into the skin.
A great summary for it is: “The goal of mesotherapy is to delay and improve the skin changes caused by aging. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves simultaneous injection of small amounts of hyaluronic acids, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and humectants into the subcutaneous layer to stimulate the biosynthetic ability of fibroblasts and to provide an optimal physiologic environment for fibroblasts to increase collagen and elastin syntheses and supply basic active molecules.” Source
- More info coming soon! I have a meso protocol coming in the group (in addition to the current mesotherapy overview you can already find there) as well as mesotherapy video content coming so I will come back and update with specific products and devices then. Mesotherapy is quickly becoming my new favorite treatment though!
- In the meantime, I’m a big fan of the Hyaron and PDRN products for meso and microneedling and I think the Crystal Multi Needles that attach to the product syringe is easier to use for the beginner vs the EZ injector. If you’re eager to get started or already do mesotherapy at home, my recommended suppliers are Ace Cosm and Viana Care as I’ve vetted and used them myself. I’ve partnered with them as an affiliate for future meso/microneedling content so code “mira10” will get you a discount at both. AC is a little more affordable while VC has wider selection with more goodies added in so they’re both amazing depending on your needs and I order from both.
That’s it for now! I did tell you I was a device junkie haha. If you read till the end, please comment your favorite device, tool, or treatment below!