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At home vs. in-clinic – which tweakments can you do yourself?

By Georgia Seago
9th May 2022

Here at The Tweakments Guide, one of our main missions is to get you in front of an expert practitioner for all your tweakment and skincare needs. That being said, sometimes budget and a busy schedule can get in the way of going for in-clinic treatments, so you might be tempted to have a go at some advanced skin maintenance yourself. While you’ll never be able to mimic the results of in-clinic treatments (there’s a reason why cosmetic practitioners exist), there are a few treatments that can be done safely and effectively at home, provided you’ve got the right kit and proceed with caution.

1. At home microneedling

This is really why I said, ‘proceed with caution’. The jury’s out among skin practitioners as to whether at-home microneedling a good idea. There are some who absolutely love needling and advise their patients to keep it up at home between in-clinic appointments, and others who can’t think of anything much worse than someone going at their own face with needles unsupervised.

Generally speaking, if you’re under the care of a professional who’s treating you in-clinic and says you can get the best out of your treatments by needling at home, then go for it. Follow their exact instructions in terms of the tool itself, how to actually use it, how to clean and sterilise it; and which products to apply afterwards. Most skincare products are not intended to be applied ‘into’ the skin through open channels – which is what you’ll be creating when you needle – so don’t just think you can apply your normal serums or creams after needling.

If you’re not currently seeing a skin professional and just want to give microneedling yourself a go, we’d advise you not to, unless you research proper tutorials and advice and be willing to invest in a high-quality roller and appropriate skincare to apply afterwards. Better yet, book in with an expert practitioner who knows what they’re doing and what your skin needs – it could be that needling isn’t even right for you. Microneedling should never be done over active acne, for example, or scars that haven’t properly healed yet. Also bear in mind that home-use microneedling rollers have shorter needles than those used in a professional setting, so you won’t be able to make much of a difference with anything more complex at home – like pigmentation or deep acne scarring. Read more about DIY microneedling here.

2. At-home skin peels

Peels are fantastic for so many skin concerns, and there are lots of different types you can have depending on your skin’s needs. Every peel is based on an exfoliating agent – usually chemical or fruit-derived, hence the ‘peeling’ action they have on the skin by sloughing off dead cells and getting to work on specific skin issues. This doesn’t actually mean your skin will peel though (that should only happen with deep, in-clinic peels), and it certainly shouldn’t when you do an at-home peel.

At-home peels are a great way to maintain your skin’s health as part of a good skincare routine. Find out which type of peel is best for you, get a home-use product from a high-quality, reputable skincare brand – some come in two-step kits – and use it according to the instructions. Pay particular attention to the amount of time you should leave it on and how often it should be used – you don’t want to sensitise your skin. And if you’re currently having in-clinic skin treatments then check with your practitioner before you do anything. Avoid completely if you’re having a course of professional peels. Like with microneedling, more complex skin issues need to addressed by a practitioner, so don’t expect an at-home peel to work miracles.

3. At-home LED

Home-use LED devices like LED masks are totally safe to use yourself at home, but are unlikely to be worth the price tag. Unless you’re investing in a serious bit of kit like the Dermalux Flex MD, which is medically certified, and mostly used in clinic but also available for home use, you’re probably better off not bothering and booking in for LED treatment in clinic instead. This is because most portable LED devices that are designed for home use simply aren’t powerful enough to really deliver. Most in-clinic LED treatment protocols require you to have three 30-minute sessions per week, compared to the 3 weekly 10-minute sessions usually advised by the manufacturers of home use masks. So, it doesn’t seem to make much sense how the purported results are achieved.

That being said, there are a lot of people who love their at-home LED masks and say they see noticeable improvements in their skin while using it consistently. One such improvement we hear about a lot is the general ‘glow’ these masks give, but this just indicates that the energy coming off the mask’s bulbs has simply stirred up the bloody supply in the skin. Compare that to how your skin looks after a session of professional-strength LED…  because once this has worked its magic and reduced inflammation in the skin, your skin actually looks paler and calmer than when you walked in – this is exactly why LED is commonly layered with treatments like peels and microneedling which cause controlled trauma – to calm the skin down afterwards and remove redness.

Whatever you decide to do, LED masks have a good safety profile because they don’t emit UV light and are completely non-invasive, so even if you don’t get results, at least you don’t run the risk of damaging your skin.

4. At-home skin tightening and toning

Everyone wants tighter skin with more sculpted contours, and radiofrequency is a great way to achieve this. It heats up the lower levels of the skin, where the collagen lies, to the extent that the collagen contracts – you can think of it as ‘shrink-wrapping’ the skin – tightening sagging skin and improving its firmness. Radiofrequency skin-tightening treatments are hugely popular in clinics so naturally aesthetic manufacturers have tried to distill the technology into home-use equivalents.

This one is sort of the same as LED – some devices are better than others and will probably do a bit of something, while others are really just a waste of money. If you have a decent amount of proper skin laxity or moderate-to-severe jowling, you’re much better off booking in for a course of medical-grade radiofrequency with a practitioner who can properly assess your face, recommend a treatment plan and monitor your progress. Your money will be better spent that way. However, if your collagen is pretty good shape and you just fancy tightening things up a bit, we recommend the Orlaya Dermadeep RF Pro, which is a whole lot stronger than other options on the market.

Another good technology for facial tightening and toning at home is microcurrent – it’s been around forever but for good reason, because it actually does give a noticeable lift and makes facial contours look redefined. We love the NuFACE Facial Toning Devices – both the Mini and Trinity versions are available to buy on the TTG shop, and both are FDA-cleared for their indications.

 

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