Skincare tools for sculpted looks

Has anyone else noticed the rising number of skincare enthusiasts rolling or massaging serums into their faces lately? Skincare tools are becoming increasingly popular, with more and more ranges being introduced.

I first noticed a face roller being used by Jennifer Aniston’s character in the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show as part of her skincare routine before applying makeup.

Since then, I’ve noted more types of tools popping up on beauty websites and in retail pharmacies.

Pharmacy assistant Jaclyn Jensen says she and her team have also observed the increasing range of facial tools becoming available for skincare.

“I think social platforms have had a major influence on the increase,” she says.

“There are a lot of people struggling with their skin and they’re willing to try new things to rejuvenate or clear up their skin, [using methods] they’ve seen online.

“I believe most of our customers have some interest in skincare but are unsure where to start. I’ve noticed that more customers waiting for prescriptions will wander to the skincare section to have a look. However, it can be quite overwhelming with all the brands and ranges available.”

Types of tools

Rollers

Key benefits from using a face roller, according to Healthline, include:

  • Improved blood circulation in the face.
  • Help with backed-up sinuses.
  • Decreased puffiness.
  • Skin is cooled and soothed.
  • Skincare products are distributed over the face evenly.

“I’m a big believer in the face rollers,” says Ms Jensen. “I think they’re a wonderful product to use, purely because they promote blood flow and can reduce puffiness in the face – rarely with adverse reactions.

“I typically recommend avoiding products like the derma rollers, because they can be very damaging for your skin if used incorrectly and can further irritate your skin if you already suffer from skin conditions.”

Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon and Dr Kajal Patel from The Skin Health Institute say little published information is available on the topic, so it’s difficult to track the evidence of benefits.

Addressing whether face roller use comes with any concerns, they say the transmission of bacteria may be a theoretical issue given the materials – usually, jade, rose quartz, etc. – are porous materials, although no media or published literature documents this.

Gua sha

Gua sha is a traditional technique used in Chinese medicine that is said to provide a range of benefits for the body. Manicare’s Dermasculpt Gua Sha Stone is promoted as offering facial benefits including:

  • Lifts and sculpts the brow and eye area.
  • Promotes circulation with a massage. Helps to plump out fine lines and smooth skin texture.
  • Targets acupressure points known to relieve facial tension.
  • Ideal for long strokes on the side of the neck to de-puff and detoxify.
  • Contours and sculpts the jawline and brow area.

According to Associate Professor Nixon and Dr Patel, no study has been published looking into skin changes as a result of gua sha use, but one study showed an increase in the microcirculation of surface tissue in pain management with gua sha.

“By improving microcirculation, it’s thought that this increases the nutrients and oxygen flow to the skin,” they say. “However, no published studies have been reported.”

Additionally, Associate Professor Nixon and Dr Patel say that inappropriate use of gua sha can have negative impacts on health, pointing to a case of epiglottitis caused by vigorous use.

Lymphatic drainage

Lymphatic drainage can be a benefit of facial tools. Associate Professor Nixon and Dr Patel explain that the lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that work to maintain fluid levels, transporting nutrients and waste around the body and protecting it from infections.

“In a healthy individual, the movement of smooth muscles stimulates lymphatic drainage,” they say.

“Findings of research sponsored by the beauty company Shiseido report [include that] impaired dermal lymphatic vessel function leads to accumulation of subcutaneous fat resulting in skin sagging (1).

“However, the full study protocol and results are not available to view.”

Associate Professor Nixon and Dr Patel continue: “Lymphatic drainage through massage can help treat a variety of conditions, including lymphoedema and delayed onset muscle soreness. However, there are relatively few situations where lymphatic fluid would accumulate in the face, or be of cosmetic importance.”

Advice on facial tool use

According to Associate Professor Nixon and Dr Patel, it’s thought that facial tools can help reduce facial swelling, resulting in a more ‘sculpted’ appearance. Again, however, “the evidence is lacking”.

“As with all beauty trends, there’s very little (if any) research to back up the claims made with regard to facial tools in skincare,” they say.

“We would be reluctant to recommend such products to the general public without further studies to assess the impact of these tools.

“However, it’s likely that some people would find that they may have a beneficial effect, while others, perhaps those with sensitive skin, may find them to be too irritating. As always, it’s a matter of personal choice.”

To read the full feature as it appears in the September issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine, visit: rpassistants.com.au/magazines/retail-pharmacy-assistants-september-2021/

Reference: 

  1. ‘Shiseido becomes the first to reveal the relationship between impaired lymphatic function and sagging skin’. [press release, 2015].

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