We ask licensed aesthetician Cameron if popular at-home devices and DIY skin care treatments are a waste of money or the best thing ever:
- Cleansing wipes
- Extraction tools
- Individually packaged masks & peels
- Light therapy
- At-home hair removal devices
- BioRe pore strips
- Microcurrent devices
- Jade rollers
From chemical peels to microneedling, Cameron runs us through which in-office treatments are a safer and more effective than the DIY skin care you can buy at Target or CVS.
- Read more about Cameron Vessey, licensed aesthetician
- Listen to the skin care success story of Cameron’s patient Destiny
- Book an appointment at our La Jolla or Carlsbad med spa to get your skin in check
Speaker 3 (00:07):
You are listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Monique Ramsey (00:14):
Welcome everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey. And I have one of my favorite people in the studio today who’s a big hit every time she comes on the show. So get ready to welcome our wonderful aesthetician. Cameron Vessey. Welcome.
Thank you so much, Monique. I’m so happy to be here.
Monique Ramsey (00:37):
Oh, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to get into some really fun things today, like D I Y at home or don’t even try. So we’re going to ask your opinion on some really popular devices and therapies, I guess you could call them or treatments at home and see what the expert says. And so how long have you been an esthetician, Cameron?
Oh my goodness. I’ve been an esthetician since 2006, so that’s almost 20 years.
Monique Ramsey (01:06):
Alright, and so tell us everybody, we’ll just give everybody a little overview of what kinds of treatments you do at La Jolla Cosmetic.
So at La Jolla Cosmetic, I do all of the facial treatments, diamond glow, HydraFacial. We also do peels, we do the vi peel, we do the cosmo on. We do take care of patients post laser, and we also do a lot of skincare consultations and skincare protocols to compliment people’s treatments.
Monique Ramsey (01:37):
So for today’s podcast, we are pulling together this top 10 list of D I Y devices and skincare treatments, and we’re going to go through them and then you’re going to tell me if it’s a waste of money or the best thing ever. And so for our listening audience, we’ll be describing it, but if you want to hop over to our YouTube channel, you’ll be able to see our slideshow with actual pictures. So we’ll get going. So let me share my screen.
I’m so excited.
Monique Ramsey (02:06):
I know. So the first one we want to ask you about are these cleansing wipes. And so it seems like a great idea. So Cameron, tell us about cleansing wipes and what you think. Is it a D I Y or don’t even try?
Cleansing wipes. Well, I have to tell you, I’m so excited about talking about all these things because these are the things that my patients ask about all the time. So with cleansing wipes, cleansing wipes really can cause irritation. So cleansing wipes basically will just wipe the dirt and the makeup around your face. It’s not going to lift it off your skin. They also have chemicals and fragrances in them, which are really not good for your skin. I am not a fan of cleansing wipes. I am a fan of oil cleansers before you use a foaming cleanser to take off your makeup and such. But wipes I am not a fan of, nor have I ever been a fan of wipes. I just don’t think that they really clean the skin. And like I said, they have a lot of preservatives and chemicals in them that are not good for your skin.
Monique Ramsey (03:16):
Wow. Well, it kind of makes sense though. I feel like you take a wipe and you’re rubbing everything around.
The thing about it is that I’d much prefer people to use oil cleanser and use something like a cotton towelette to take the makeup off that way and then do a foaming cleanser. The cleansing wipes, like I said, really push the dirt and the makeup around. They don’t necessarily lift it off the skin, and so it gets into the pores. They do have the chemicals and the fragrances and the preservatives and it’s just not good for your skin. Just wash your face.
Monique Ramsey (03:58):
Okay, so our next one looks a bit medieval actually, and it does extraction tools. So is it safe to use something to pop a pimple, like a blackhead remover tool or nail clippers or eyebrow tweezers? I know what you’re going to say, so I don’t even asking the question, but tell us about these medieval looking little tools and is that safe to do on your own at home?
I have no poker face, so you just saw it just with my facial expressions. First of all, never use nail clippers on your skin. Don’t ever use tweezers to pop pimples or close comedone or anything. Use those to tweeze hairs. In regards to extraction to tools, first of all, I as an aesthetician am not able to even use the extraction tools on myself. And the reason why is because I don’t have leverage this way. But when I’m working on someone and I have the leverage, so it’s completely different. The problem with tools is oftentimes they’re not cleaned correctly. They can cause infections by just pushing the stuff around, but also in regards to the tools, they can hurt the skin, especially if you are a darker skin type i e four to six because those skin types typically will have what we call post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. So if you traumatize those skin types, it will cause darkening of the skin and it will stay there for a while.
So oftentimes people don’t know how to use the tools properly. The one thing I will say, like I said, is that I have the leverage. I am over you doing it this way also, if you’re looking to do melia, which are those little white heads, but you can’t push them out because the skin needs to be broken before you can push those out. So typically only professionals are able to do that. So if you have a pimple that is ready to be popped, what I really suggest is first of all, put a warm compress on there first, take two Q-tips and just push those Q-tips together and kind of roll it and see if you can get anything out that way that will be the most gentle to your skin.
Monique Ramsey (06:23):
Okay. And when you say Melia, I was thinking of how sometimes you can get milia, like around your lash line. Is an aesthetician allowed? You said you’re not allowed to even do it on yourself. So who do you see to help extract something when you have an issue?
So what I will tell you, if there’s ones around your eyes, I am able to, as long as I can pull the skin outside of the orbital rim, I can get to that. If it’s up around the eye, I tell people to go see an ophthalmologist because they’re going to be the best ones to be able to take care of that. You can also use a real gentle retinol around the eye area, not a Retin A, a real gentle retinol around the eye area to help with that too.
Monique Ramsey (07:13):
Oh, because that’s going to sort of exfoliate and maybe it’ll kind of work its way out. Is that the thought?
Well, it won’t work its way out, but it will help to, once you get those extracted by an ophthalmologist or what have you, you will be able to alleviate that problem period.
Monique Ramsey (07:30):
I see, I see. Now, we’re going to go to our next slide. Now these individually packaged peels, we go to Sephora, you go to C V S, you go to Ulta and they have a whole wall of them and they’re like five to $8. And in my mind I’m like, if I’m paying $5 for something, there’s no way it works. But let’s talk about these individually packaged peels here. This girl has got, she’s a bear and she’s a reindeer. How do these little at home, individually packaged masks or treatments, facial scrubs even, how do they compare to something in the office and can anything go wrong with them or is it just like that you might not get a great result?
So I think we’re talking about two different things. The sheet masks, which is one of the things you’re talking about. And also individual peels. I don’t see a ton of individual peels at places like Ulta and Sephora. These sheet masks are very popular. Have I done them? Not really, but I will tell you, I think that for hydration, I think they’re great. I mean, why not have a little bit of self-care and do that for hydration? If you’re looking for a collagen mask, I have a problem with that. Because there’s no such thing as putting collagen on top of your skin. Your fibroblasts need to be stimulated to create collagen. So I think that a lot of over the counter skincare products like sheet masks or skincare products or what have you, they use a lot of latitude with the language and I think it can be a misrepresentation of what things can do. I do think the sheet masks are fun. I think that if you put, depending on what they’re, I would just really use the hydrating ones. You can put them in the refrigerator. Let’s say you have an event that you’re going to be going to, you can put them in the refrigerator and then put ’em on your skin to tighten everything up. So I think those are great at-home peels. I haven’t seen a lot of at-home peels that are strong enough to actually make a change in the skin.
You might be using, maybe a skincare line has a glycolic salicylic wipe or what have you that can help with exfoliation, but I would not do a peel at home. You really want to know what’s inside the peel. You want to know what the ingredients are, you want to know how long to leave it on all of those things. And if you really are using a peel that has active ingredient, you would not be able to buy that over the counter or on the internet. And again, some of these peels are self neutralizing, some of them or not. So you don’t know whether or not to keep them on or what have you. I would leave that to the professionals truly. That would be my suggestion would be for sure.
Monique Ramsey (10:33):
So that’s good to know, cuz I would’ve just thought, oh, it’s not going to do anything for $5. But it is fun and if you can get some hydration out of it. And we have the Skin Medica eye masks, eye bright masks, and I love those. I think those, and of course it’s medical grade, but you’re talking about getting ready for a party and you put that on for 20 minutes and it just feels really good.
And it helps with bags around the eyes too. And the holidays are coming up and we’ve got a lot of parties that we’re going to be going to if you keep those in the refrigerator as well. It’s nice because it will de-puff your eyes too.
Monique Ramsey (11:11):
Oh. That’s good to know. Alright, I’m going to throw mine in the fridge. Okay, the next one is light therapy. And we see this a lot now, Cameron, tell us what the deal is with light therapy. And in this case we’re talking about light stem.
So there are a lot of light therapy devices out there. What I do love about light stem and why I love working at La Jolla Cosmetic is we really research what we bring into the office, into our practice. Light stem is actually tested by NASA. It’s the real deal. It’s not something that you get from Sephora or what have you. It’s the real deal. Now with that said, I think what’s hard about these handheld devices is that you need to have, for the red l e d light, you need a lease like 16 to 20 minutes. Blue, l e d light, you need about 13 minutes. So with the handheld devices, their instructions are to just put it in one area for three minutes or what have you. You’re not getting the benefit. So I do like going into professional practices where they put the entire light stem over your skin and you sit there for 16 to 20 minutes for the red l e d for the anti-aging and for the help with the inflammation. Also the blue l e d, you need about 13 minutes, but all over. And I think sometimes at home devices, I’m not going to sit at home for 16 minutes in one area and these kinds of devices need to be used consistently, not just once in a while. So I think the light stem is great, but I think that having one that actually covers a panel I think is what you need if you’re going to do at home.
Monique Ramsey (12:57):
Alright, Cameron, so now let’s talk about at home hair removal devices. So I have to ask you, and I’m dating myself with this question, do you remember the epi lady?
Of course I do. Monique, I mean you and I are at the same age. Of course I remember the epi lady.
Monique Ramsey (13:16):
I know we don’t like to talk about our birthdays, but yeah, we’re born in the same year.
Yes. And you know what I say, bring it on. I mean as far as my birthday and my age, but yes. Do I remember epi lady? Absolutely. And it was revolutionary, right? Yes, exactly. What I will say about at-home hair removal devices is the lasers that we use are classified as classification two or three. You cannot buy those classification lasers that really work for at-home use because it would be illegal. So the devices that you have for at-home use are very low level lasers, meaning, and they’re not really lasers, but meaning the results that you’re going to get are not going to be going to get hair removal at a medical practice. It’s just going to be completely different. So I think what happens with a lot of these at-home devices, Monique, is a lot of people will purchase them. They use them for a few weeks a month if we’re lucky.
And these gadgets you really need to use consistently, most of them every single night. And I don’t know about you, but I have a busy life. I’m not going to do these devices every night and this is what I do for a living and I just wouldn’t do that. So a lot of these at-home devices, they’re not going to give you the results that you want. You’re going to spend money on these and we’re spending money on this device and this device and that device, and then it goes into the skincare graveyard drawer where we bought all these things. So in the long run, it’s just much better to go have a consultation with the provider who performs the laser hair removal and get it done professionally. I had laser hair removal done years ago and I never have had to go. And it’s amazing. I mean, I’m always ready for a jacuzzi party. It’s fantastic. So I just say, why jack around with these devices that really don’t work well? That’s my opinion.
Monique Ramsey (15:29):
Well, I have to say your device graveyard, I have one, but you’re right, that handheld is too small. You’re trying to do your whole face. It takes an hour and a half if you’re trying to really cover everything. And we do, we always have that eternal hope that that thing will be our savior from whatever we’re trying, whether it’s wrinkles or hair or aging spots or acne. It’s sort of like a diet. We always have hope, but I think you make a really good point. Get it done professionally, be done with it. You never have to think about it again. And it’s done in a few treatments, not months and months of trying to play around with it. So that at home, hair removal devices, don’t even try.
No, do not even try.
Monique Ramsey (16:16):
Alright, so we’ve got a funny one, but it’s actually not funny because some of the people really do use these pore strips. So biore, pore strips, is that a D I Y or a don’t even try?
You know what, I’m going to tell you something. If they work for you, do it. Absolutely. If you feel that you get a good result, anything that you feel that you get a good result from, I’m all for truly. I mean your skin, what’s going to work for you? And if you’re really honest about it, I mean my 12 year old niece who loves these biore strips, it’s not hurting you. If in fact they make you red and irritated, then don’t use them. But the best way to keep your pores clean is to see a professional every four weeks to make sure that your pores are clean. Also at home skincare, you can never go wrong. And if you have a propensity to have black kids, we can work with you. And I always tell people we want to get to the root of the problem here in the US it’s almost like we want to take a pill, we want to have a fast track or what have you. And skin is the long game. So instead of making sure that you get those removed, let’s not even get the blackheads. We all have a few because that’s normal, but nothing beats at-home skincare.
Monique Ramsey (17:48):
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Preventing it before it even happens. I love that. Alright, microcurrent devices.
So there’s a bunch on the market, but I think new face has been around the longest and some of them talk about de-puffing the eyes or they’re talking about lymphatic drainage or they’re talking about lifting and tightening. So are these microcurrents, a D I Y or a don’t even try?
So microcurrent, it’s supposed to lift. And I will tell you, the new face if you do it every single night is fantastic. Are you going to do it every single night? I’m not going to do it every single night. But if you’re going to do it every single night, I think that that’s great. These kind of devices that are at home, they’re not real active, so you have to do them every single night. And as I said before, this is what I do for a living and I have never done any of these devices at home. I’ve always gone, even before I became an aesthetician, have been going to an aesthetician God every four weeks since I was 17. I really believe in being consistent.
So when you’re consistent about doing those things, and then as you get older doing more, I don’t want to say aggressive, but more effective like old therapy or things like that, nothing compares. So you’re going to be spending money on all these little devices where if you could have just put it all together and spent something on a procedure that’s really going to truly work. So if you are going to use these every night, I say fantastic. I have yet to meet one of my patients who has committed to doing this every single night, like I said, two weeks to a month, and then it goes in a drawer.
Monique Ramsey (19:39):
Yeah, yeah, you’re right.
I mean, that’s the truth of it. I, and I think if everyone’s honest about it, they will say that’s the truth of it. Now they do have some l e d masks. Priori has one that’s really great, but that you’ll wear. And if you will do that every night, I think that’s great. But otherwise, I just think you have to be honest with yourself. Is this something you’re really going to do or do I just want to go to a professional once a month, have them do their thing and be done with it.
Monique Ramsey (20:10):
And with medical grade products and with medical grade equipment and things that you can’t, becauseI feel like sometimes they are allowing more and more things to sort of be available to the general public. But again, just because they’re allowing it, I feel like if they’re allowing it, then maybe it’s so benign that you’re not going to get a result. They don’t want you to hurt yourself.
That’s exactly it.
Monique Ramsey (20:36):
I feel like all those products that you would see at C V S, you could probably drink them and they’d be fine. They’re not going to really do what a retinol that we sell could do.
Because they want the general public not to hurt themselves. So moving into something that is going to really bring everybody back, and it’s something we used to sell in our practice a long time ago, which is the Clarisonic, and that was that handheld device that would scrub your skin and we’re thinking, Ooh, we’re getting so clean. And everybody had them. Everybody used them and it was like $200 or something. And in 2020 the New York Times wrote an article and we’ll put it in the show notes talking about it’s not a good idea. So Cameron, tell us about sort of the rise and fall of Clarisonic.
I didn’t know that New York Times wrote a thing about it not being a good idea. I think that what happened with Clearsonic, I actually really liked Clearsonic, but I think what people did is they used it incorrectly. So with the Clearsonic brush right in the middle, it would oscillate back and forth, back and forth, but people would do circles with it. You don’t want to do that. You would just want to hold it and let it do its thing. And you don’t want to push hard. Just like with the toothbrushes that are electric, you don’t want to push hard. It’s Ill damage your gums. It’s the same thing with this. But what we do is more is better, more is better, more is better.
Monique Ramsey (22:05):
And that’s not the case. I think Clearsonic went out of business because the devices lasted so long and the only way that they could make money was by the brushes. And I think that they also diversified too much and did the body brush and all that other stuff. I just think that it went over and beyond. But I think what happened with people is that and why it might’ve been considered bad for the skin. I think that people would push down and overuse because we love to overuse things.
Monique Ramsey (22:41):
We do. Like you said, more is better.
More is better. And that’s not the case and that’s not the truth.
Monique Ramsey (22:48):
Okay. Derma rollers. Now microneedling has become huge. We offer it at our practice. It could be an amazing tool to help for anti-aging and helping with textures. So derma rollers, so people are needling their own skin at home. It looks kind of scary. Again, we’re going to go into something that looks like I’m in Old England and I’m in the torture chamber, this thing is coming at me. So tell us about these derma rollers or microneedling at home and is that a D I Y or don’t even try?
So first of all, I don’t think that people are doing the microneedling at home. I hope to God they’re not, because that’s just not good. The thing with these particular devices is that first of all, people don’t clean them properly. And so what they’re doing is they’re leaving it out. It’s actually getting bacteria which you’re then putting into your skin. So any of these devices, they’re not going to really, like I said, the FDA is not going to approve something like this if it can really go deep enough to make a difference. Does that make sense?
Monique Ramsey (24:01):
Yeah, yeah it does.
So the thing about it is that, like I said, another tool that if used improperly, for example, if someone has acne and they’re trying to use these, that’s not good at all. You’re spreading it all over. What if you have a fungus on your skin or what have you, you’re going to be spreading that all over. It’s not good for people to use things like this with rosacea. They don’t know if they have that. If you have broken capillaries, intelligentsia is not a good thing to do. This. Let the professionals do this. Microneedling is fantastic, especially when paired with the P R P and you can only do that in professional practices. It’s not something that I would do at home.
Monique Ramsey (24:45):
Yeah, don’t even try. Yeah, I think your point about spreading around bacteria is just terrifying.
Monique Ramsey (24:56):
If we’re in the month of October, it’s like scary. Alright, so our last one, number 10 is jade rollers. Now you can find these during a walkthrough, TJ Maxx or Target or in a high-end skincare store. So what is the theory behind it and do they work and what do you think? Is it a D I Y or don’t even try?
So I think that with the rollers, the jade roller, Jade is supposed to have healing properties. I always thought of Jade as for abundance and wealth. So I have jade crystals because I really love that. But as far as rollers go, I think they’re fine. I think they’re great. What they’re really doing, especially when you keep them in the refrigerator, they can de-puff the skin too, and you really want to follow the lymphatic drainage. So I was always taught from a very young age while putting on my skincare products to really do it and put that on that way. Because if you do lymphatic drainage massage, which you can look up on YouTube, which is great, or you can actually go to a professional, we know a lot of lymphatic drainage, massage therapists as well. What it does is really detoxify your skin. So when I’m putting on skincare and I was taught this God when I was I think 17 years old, I put it on in a way that is going to help with that lymphatic drainage. So I think that those jade rollers, the guasha and stuff, again lightly, you do not have to push really hard. When you get a lymphatic drainage massage, you’ll notice how light light they go on your skin. So the jade rollers and any other rollers I think are great. I would keep it in a little refrigerator and just kind of de-puff my skin, but always going out with it, not going back and forth, always going out, coming to the neck, coming down to drain the lymphatic.
Monique Ramsey (26:55):
And how do you recommend people clean them? Because as we were talking about bacteria, I’m thinking, okay, well just because it’s Jade doesn’t mean it is antibacterial.
You can actually use antibacterial wash and wash them every time you use them. And I would store them in a safe closed container so no bacteria gets in there, but you can absolutely use antibacterial soap on those jade rollers.
Monique Ramsey (27:25):
So that was kind of fun to go through some of the things that are new, the blast from the past. So really at the end of the day, Cameron, what’s your advice to somebody who might spend a lot of time online and is sort of influenced, and this is, I’m talking about myself actually, I’m influenced to buy and try some of these at-home treatments. They’re obviously much cheaper than going into an office, but overall, is the price tag worth it ever versus in office?
Well, I think that everyone chooses what they spend their money on. I think it’s really interesting how we start going to dentists when we’re young, why our teeth are fine. It’s for preventative. So it’s the same thing with our skin. And so as I’ve said before, many times skin is the long game. What I find with a lot of people who will go online, first of all, these individuals are not professionals. You’re going to listen to an influencer. They’ve been paid by a certain company to make certain claims. Or what I will tell you is that, for example, you can get great exercise by doing old school jumping jacks, right? There is no fancy, we want it, like I said, we want to take a pill, we want to make it fast or what have you. That’s just not the way it works.
What I suggest is find a really incredible aesthetician, find really a great practice that you can go to where you know that they have your best interest in mind. And we take into consideration people’s budget. Absolutely. When I can make suggestions for over the counter products, I will definitely do that. But there are certain things that you need in your protocol that long-term are going to change your skin. You’re not taking care of your skin today, you’re taking care of your skin 10 years from now. And I think that’s what we need to start thinking about. It’s not walking into a place at age 50 and say, I’m ready to start. We’ve got to start what? Start your kids wearing sunscreen at a young age. That’s the best thing you can do. My nieces all wear sunscreen. My 22 year old niece remembers me asking her to do that years ago. And her skin is beautiful. She’s 22. But it’s beautiful. But I think that this is my wheelhouse. I could never walk into and do your job. You’ve got a busy life. Let the professionals take care of you because we want to and we are invested in the best for your skin and your skincare journey.,
Monique Ramsey (30:05):
Yeah. That’s so perfectly said because I think it’s either you can think, oh, I’m too busy or whatever, all the myriad of excuses. But we’ve been around for 35 years plus and you’ve been on our team for 10, right? 10 years.
Monique Ramsey (30:22):
And our med spas won awards and we have thousands of five star reviews. And you can go to Cameron’s bio on our website and you’ll see all the reviews of people who love you. And we survey all our patients. And so having that, it lends that credibility and it’s like, okay, like you said, you got to be honest with yourself. And is that really going to work? Or do you want to just do it the right way and keep it up? And like you said, you’ve got your patient’s best interest at heart. And I think that comes through loud and clear in these reviews. And we did an episode with one of your clients who just said, this changed my whole life, this changed my skin. And we can link to that in the show notes. But really thinking about the long game and preventative and looking great for many years down the road. And so thank you, Cameron. This was super fun.
Well, let me just say one more thing. I’m so sorry. But what I want to say is that you also, we also do have patients who do not want to do injectables. They don’t want to do other lasers. They don’t want to do non-invasive procedures. But skincare can be huge. And oftentimes what I will do is I’ll start people off on one product at a time. I’m not going to give you a whole thing list of things that you’re going to do, especially if you haven’t done anything in the past. We want you to see, I gain your trust, I get to know your skin. You start trusting me. And I will tell you, it is the most satisfying when I have patients like Destiny who feel that it changed their life. I’ve had patients cry on my table, they’re so happy, they get compliments. This is what we live for. It’s wonderful to be able to help people that way.
Monique Ramsey (32:17):
And you do it so well and so well that I can’t ever get in to see you. But that’s okay.
Monique, I’d come in early for you. You know that.
Monique Ramsey (32:27):
I do. I do. So everybody thank you for listening and watching and if you have any questions, pop them in the chat over on YouTube. We’ll reply. We’ll check the show notes for all the links of things we talked about today and leave us a review. Speaking of reviews, we would love to have you subscribe, but also review our podcast or let us know what you want to hear about next. And if you show the office that you’re a subscriber to the podcast, you get $25 off, 50 or more in our skincare department. So that’s a good little carrot to dangle so that you can both keep up on really great content, but also save a little money. So thanks again, Cameron. It was fun to be with you today and we’ll see you guys all on the next one.
Thanks so much, Monique, and come and see me everyone. Thank you.
Speaker 3 (33:26):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code PODCAST to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I-5San Diego Freeway in the XiMed Building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to lj csc.com or follow the team on Instagram @ljcsc. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.