PMD Personal Microderm

PMD Personal MicrodermPMD Personal Microderm, $159

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.

Patented

Just add, “Technology!”

Second, more marketing criticism – “Spinning disc technology.” You know what else uses spinning disc technology?

frisbee

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 Device

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.

Usage

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.

Over Time

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?

Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA

Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHAAlpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, $15

Alpha Hydrox 10% AHA Lotion used to be a staple of mine, but I discontinued use because it felt greasy and gross to me. Time passed and I experimented with skincare, and I found that my skin likes a mix of physical and chemical exfoliation. During our break, Alpha Hydrox rebanded to Alpha Skin; new logos and packaging, new (higher) price tags. Little did I know, they sold the gel I now use, Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, before. If I only knew!

Applying

Retailing at $15 for 1.7 fl oz, the Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA is a thin, clear gel that housed in a short squeeze-tube. When I use the product, I apply a pencil-eraser-sized dollop to clean skin in circular motions with my fingertips. It isn’t remotely greasy – I give it two minutes to absorb, then apply 2-3 drops of argan oil. I apply before bed and have glowing, smooth skin in the morning.

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March 2017 Favorites

March 2017 FavoritesMarch 2017 Favorites
1. MAC Twig / 2. Tip to Toe Electric File / 3. Alpha Skin 10% AHA gel
4. Contigo Autoseal Chill / 5. Silkn ReVit

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Skin Update

At the end of February, I wrote about Biotin and Blemishes. Although I had incredible results hair-wise, my skin started panicking when faced with a relative imbalance of biotin (B7) to B5.

Skin Update

It has been nearly two months since I adjusted my usage, and happily, I haven’t gotten another cystic blemish. My skin isn’t completely clear all the time, but my annoying spots are reduced to what I usually deal with and in the times/cycles I usually deal with them. I’m calling this confirmation of my hypothesis.

Routine

Since, I’ve introduced two other things into my routine – once weekly usage of an at-home microderm device, and once weekly usage of a 10% AHA gel. Reviews on the microderm device are coming soon. I typically use it on Sunday evening, then the AHA on Wednesday evening. Additionally, I’ve changed brush heads on my Clarisonic to the Radiance head – and my love of the device is revitalized. More on that soon, too.

Morning
Evening
  • Remove makeup with Micellar Water
  • Wash face and decollete with CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (drugstore + skin pH-friendly) with the Clarisonic Mia2 (Radiance head)
  • Sunday – Microderm device, then Micellar Water again. Wednesday – AHA treatment.
  • Moisturize with Argan Oil

Hydrate

I started slipping on my water intake over the last six months. Armed with a new, insulated water bottle I can better hydrate throughout the workday or when I’m out and about. My Contigo Grace is still used at home (non-insulated), but it’s nice to not have my water warm up throughout the day from the room temperature or being warmed from being held. I always seem to forget how much better my skin feels and looks when I’m hydrated. Somehow, I always find myself surprised by it; sometimes, I’m a space cadet when it comes to this stuff.

The Bottom Line

Right now, I’m satisfied with the status quo. I don’t have any painful blemishes, I’m not dealing with insane breakouts, and I don’t have texture issues. I’ll always have to deal with sebaceous filaments, and I’ve accepted that. If the extent of my skin woes is a blemish near my hairline or the occasional tiny blackhead (that, in reality, no one but my ridiculous, obsessed, hyper-critical self notices) I’m happy.

Eventually, I want to incorporate a Vitamin C product – but I’ll wait until a Sephora sale to splash out on Drunk Elephant or Ole Henriksen.

Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes

I’m still slowly working my way through a bottle of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. I use less of it these days since I’m having good luck with my Mountain Rose Herbs argan oil, but it’s still a good lightweight moisturizer for those with combination to oily skin. At this point, I don’t think I would repurchase unless I bought it from the CCO at less-than-retail or managed to catch it on a rare sale like Macy’s recent VIP sale.

Generic Price, Perhaps Prestige Quality?

In my internet wanderings, though, I’ve come across TWO Clinique Dramatically Different dupes or generics. Until now, I’ve never seen Clinique Dramatically Different dupes, or any other Clinique dupes for that matter. They are both generics of the lotion version of Dramatically Different.

One, from Sally Beauty’s GVP (Generic Value Products) line:

Clinique Dramatically Different DupesGVP Distinctively Unique Moisturizing Lotion

With a Sally’s card, it’s $9.69 and they frequently offer B1G1 50% off on the GVP line. It only has one review, which is glowing, but still. For less than half the cost of the, “real deal,” I’d probably venture the money and give it a shot if I were in the market.

Two, from Wal-Mart’s Equate line:

Equate Strikingly Unique Moisturizing Lotion

The price on this one varies – on Walmart.com it is marked around $12, but through Wal-Mart Grocery (their pickup service, more on that below), it is marked down to $6.84. Apparently, Wal-Mart’s Equate line has a whole host of generic versions of Clinique products. Realistically, I’d be skeptical – but there are 55 reviews, many from former Dramatically Different users, giving it nearly five stars.

Side Note on Wal-Mart Grocery: I’ve used this service for nearly two months (yes, with my own money) I wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends, family, colleagues, and fellow busy people. They don’t charge for pickup orders, and I save time and the hassle of going in a store (particularly Wal-Mart – I love this service, but I don’t love being IN Wal-Mart. Sorry not sorry).

If that sounds relevant to your interests, you can sign up and save $10 on your first order here. I do get a small referral kickback but do not have an affiliate relationship with Wal-Mart; any Wal-Mart Grocery customer can refer their friends or family in the same way.

I’ve tried neither of the Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes in this post, but was intrigued by seeing generic versions of prestige products.

Is It Risky?

Compared to trying to buy Clinique Amazon or some other random, non-licensed reseller? Not at all.

I’d be more comfortable buying a generic version of a product from an established generic line like Equate or GVP. Even if it ends up being not as high quality a product, it isn’t mislabeled or falsely packaged. Generic house brands or private labels like Equate and GVP are directly tied to the reputation of the retailer that sells them – so even if we aren’t quiiite getting Clinique quality, they aren’t going to offer a comparison product that unsafe. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense.

I’m Curious

Would you try either of these Clinique Dramatically Different Dupes or other generic version of popular Prestige products?