New technology increasingly used in home beauty treatments

August 15th, 2008 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

Wiesbaden (Germany), Aug 15 (DPA) Cosmetic institutes and dermatologists have long been able to meet customers’ demands for special beauty treatments. They’ve been known to offer botox shots during the lunch hour and an assortment of laser treatments and peelings using cumbersome appliances.

Now, manufacturers are offering devices that could take over private bathrooms everywhere. Beauty tools such as the ultrasound skin buffer and the electric pimple killer are expected to find a place in bathrooms alongside creams and sprays.

Plastic surgery and operations such as face lifts and tummy tucks are no longer solely a privilege of the rich and beautiful, and the beauty industry is just following suit, said Cordula Schott, marketing director of the cosmetic company Nobilis Fragrances GmbH in Wiesbaden.

“Treatment methods borrowed from medicine are taking hold in perfumeries.”

The makers of the new devices are generally not cosmetic companies, rather electronics companies.

The Collagen Booster Light 590 made by the French company Talika makes the skin look younger and smooth out wrinkles, Talika says, by using light beams.

A similar effect is promised by the skin buffer Beautiful Skin made by the German company Scala.

However, it uses ultrasound as opposed to light.

Experts view household versions of such devices sceptically.

“An ultrasound device whose wavees penetrate deep enough to be effective would cost far too much,” said dermatologist Christoph Liebich of Munich. On the other hand, special peeling processes - known as microdermabrasions - are indeed effective and scientifically recognised, he said.

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical peeling technique that uses low pressure to spray sterilised micro crystals made of aluminium oxide onto the skin. They are immediately sucked up with the loosened dead skin cells they remove.

The procedure helps stimulate cell renewal, which slows down as people age and as they are exposed to pollutants. It’s also slower in people who smoke and spend a lot of time in the sun.

Until now, such treatments had to be carried out by a specialist. But now the skin care companies such as Neutrogena and Rividerm have brought out appliances that can be used at home to conveniently remove dead skin cells on the outermost layer of skin - known as exfoliation - and thereby spur on cell renewal.

“A rich cream then can be easily worked into the skin,” said Horst Kirchberger, star make-up artist in Munich, citing one of the advantages of using such a peeling device. It’s important not to over do it.

“Such a treatment should be done only once every six weeks,” he said.

Liebich actually advises people against trying the do-it-yourself devices.

“If a microdermabrasion is to be really effective, a lay person must be careful,” the dermatologist said. “In the worst case, it can leave chemical burns on the skin.”

By contrast, using a home device to vacuum the pores, such as one that Panasonic has had out on the market for some time, is harmless.

It uses low pressure to suck impurities out of the skin and at the same time promote blood circulation. You cannot go wrong, but you can’t achieve a lot either, according to Germany’s consumer products testing organisation in Berlin, which has taken a closer look at the appliances.

“There are false representations made across all lines,” the consumer products testing group said. “The skin of our test subjects looked exactly the same after a treatment as before. The money can be saved for other purposes.”

Kirchberger said that regardless of what appliance is used - a steam cleaner for the face or pimple killer designed to destroy acne-causing bacteria - it should follow the same principle applied when selecting creams and match the user’s skin type.

There are special skin analysis devices that a consumer can use to determine the skin’s texture and its moisture and oil levels.

However, Liebich wonders what a lay person should do once he knows these values. Without the help of a specialist, a skin analysis is not of much use.

“Everything that the cosmetic industry offers in skin care products on the shelf, is sufficient for taking care of normal skin,” he said.

“As soon as a consumer decides to enter the area of self diagnostics, he should turn to a specialist for assistance.”

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