Can At-Home Technologies Replace In-Office Treatments?

Recently, a slew of high-tech beauty treatments offering patients the opportunity to skip the waiting room and enhance their look from the comfort of their own homes have hit the market. From skin-tightening and laser hair removal to microdermabrasion, acne and fine line improvement, these at-home apparatuses promise convenience and results. But do they deliver? And are they a safe substitute for seeking professional treatment? We spoke to La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, to find out. 

“It’s a growing segment globally,” Dr. Singer says. “At-home treatment options have become very popular in areas like China, and that popularity is increasing in the U.S.”

Why? Dr. Singer explains that it’s more than just the promise of convenience. “Patients like to feel empowered that they’re making their own decisions about treatment.”

He says the allure of a lower cost is also part of the draw.

However, Dr. Singer is quick to point out the drawbacks. “The concern is safety and efficacy,” he says. “If these devices are used too frequently or aggressively, they can cause scars or burns. There are also marked limitations of what these things can do, and they often require ongoing use over weeks and months.”

One effective use, he says, is to aid the results of other treatments. “They can enhance the effectiveness of topical skin care and provide greater penetration.”

The bottom line? Dr. Singer says that while at-home treatments may have their place and benefit appropriate patients with realistic expectations, they are not a replacement for in-office procedures. “They can’t produce the same results that your doctor or licensed aesthetician in a plastic surgery office can,” he adds. 

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