I’ve been questing to achieve skin that doesn’t piss me off for a while now. Around the holidays, I ordered a PMD Personal Microderm system from Nordstrom to try. My concerns:
- General exfoliation/cellular turnover
- Sebaceous filaments
- Skincare product absorption
- General preventative aging stuff
PMD Personal Microderm describes their device as…
…a revolutionary at-home skincare tool that provides the same brilliant results as professional … treatments. PMD Personal Microderm combines Patented(1) Spinning Disc technology(2) with Perfectly Calibrated(3) Vacuum Suction to brighten, smooth, and even skin tone and texture. Personal Microderm reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, and enlarged pores. This exfoliation process removes the dead, dull skin cell barrier, increases blood flow, and boosts the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.
Having a Patent isn’t as Big of Deal as it Sounds
First things first: I hate when marketing departments throw the word, “patented,” in front of something. It’s a buzz-word. It isn’t more impressive simply because it was patented. Not to be crass here, but toilet tissue was patented, too.
Just add, “Technology!”
Second, more marketing criticism – “Spinning disc technology.” You know what else uses spinning disc technology?
Perfection is Ambitious
Third, throwing in that golden adjective, “perfectly,” is a little bold. Different skin types need different things, so let’s not pretend that there really is a one-size-fits-all level of suction. That is what the PMD Personal Microderm devices offer, but to call it perfection is a bit much.
The PMD device receives largely positive reviews, but my first impression of the PMD Personal Microderm was that it felt lightweight and flimsy in my hands. Here’s this fairly large handle…made, clearly, of hollow plastic. The balance was poor. It wasn’t comfortable in my and and felt awkward to hold. On top of that, I nudged the power rocker several times during normal use. Poorly thought out.
The PMD Personal Microderm device is not battery powered, so treatment needs to take place near an outlet, which may be a detractor to some. I’d rather have consistent power and performance than the freedom to traipse around my apartment while sloughing off my skin’s outermost layers. There are two threaded plastic caps that hold the exfoliating, spinning disc in place; one wide, one narrow. The wide discs and cap are intended for larger surface areas (cheeks, forehead) and the smaller discs and cap are used in narrower spaces (around the nose, etc).
To switch discs, unscrew the cap, pull the disc cylinder out, and replace. I found that the disc cylinders were a little snug and stiff when it came to removing and replacing, but I accepted this if it meant they were secure.
Prior to use, you should wash your skin with a mild cleanser and pat dry. Skip moisturizers.
Starting at the bottom center of your face, hold the PMD Personal Microderm to the skin and use the other hand to hold the treatment area taut. Moving outward and upward in steady strokes, move the device across the skin. Easy enough. PMD has you start with a super-gentle white disc to help you acclimate to the device and prevent you from destroying your skin.
After the first two uses, I graduated from the white discs to the light grey (ultra-sensitive) and blue (sensitive) discs. After each use, my skin was red but not in pain. My skincare products did sink in quickly after use and that day and the next my skin was fairly bright.
Using it once weekly for six weeks did not seem to be significantly impactful, however. I had to work hard to deal with sebaceous filaments just as I would have without the device, and the lines that developed in my forehead woefully (albeit not unexpectedly) early are just as noticeable as they ever were.
Also, although the exfoliation was there I didn’t find myself getting better with the device – I didn’t go slowly by any stretch of the imagination, but it was difficult to smoothly glide over my skin; the disc wouldn’t stay in proper contact with my skin as I moved the PMD Personal Microderm device around. It would skip with the suction and tug a bit, which was uncomfortable but not injurious. I did not have difficulty lining up my strokes to avoid a, “tiger stripe,” effect that some users reported.
Reviews report that the devices loses suction after about a year. That’s disappointing considering the cost of the device. If it truly gave professional results, a limited lifespan would be completely worth it (after all, how much is microdermabrasion at a med-spa?)…but it doesn’t.
The Bottom Line
A rarity, I ended up returning the device after six weeks of use. I wouldn’t recommend. Why?
- The results were not consistent with the marketing or hype.
- I found it challenging to use consistently without skipping over my skin.
- I did not see anything beyond short term, 1-2 day benefits.
- Limited lifespan at approximately one year.
- High replacement/consumable cost at $15-20 for a set of 4-6. When each disc should be replaced every 3-4 uses, that adds up!
- Sensitive heads feel decently abrasive (not painful); can’t really see someone using a coarser disc without discomfort.
- Device felt flimsy and isn’t designed with ergonomics in mind for the cost.
- Seemed that I had to work entirely too hard to contend with sebaceous filaments, which are common and not stubborn…if I had that much trouble with that, how much difficulty would someone using it for anti-aging concerns have?
- The lines in my forehead are just as obvious as ever. I’m not trying to get rid of them, per se – of course I have lines in my forehead as a cynical twenty-something – but this did nothing to them, which I think would be concerning, again, for someone looking into the PMD Personal Microderm device for DIY anti-aging treatment.
Fortunately, I found and use something else. Have you tried any at-home microdermabrasion substitutes?