Lip re-shapers, jaw-enlargers, nasal-slimmers. These are but a few of the DIY cosmetic tools available for home-use after a quick buy on Amazon and Alibaba. The scene is huge in South Korea and other advanced Asian countries where the population at large is all-in on finding products they can use at home.
The question on everyone’s minds: Do any of these products work? Board certified plastics surgeons discuss on the latest episode of No Spin Live.
Self-Improvement: From Home Facials to Self-Surgery
There is a diverse spectrum that these products lie upon. One on end, there are tools to help facial skin and advanced skincare technologies available at home. On the other, devices that begin to look something like self-surgery.
“There is a spectrum of self-improvement from make-up and hair-coloring to self-surgery,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Dan Del Vecchio. “Where we live on that line depends on how crazy we are. I think there are some gimmicks at home that you can use to make your nose stick up more. I’ve seen patients who have under-projecting tips with these nasal struts that they put in their nostrils. It’s like putting heel elevators in your shoes! I think there’s a spectrum and I think it’s reasonable.”
While the internet-purchased devices may or may not work, DIY surgery is a disturbing trend that those curious need to absolutely watch out for. Attempting to perform injections and even surgery at home is quite literally a threat to life.
“I have to tell you, there is a lot of crazy stuff that goes on in South Florida,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Pinsky. “People doing buttock augmentation with materials that you can buy at the hardware store, in someone’s garage. There are non-certified plastic surgeons doing bizarre stuff, and people just doing things on their friends! Some places it’s the Wild, Wild West. The things Dan is talking about, that’s fine. Nobody gets hurt; no harm, no foul. But a lot of people are crossing the line and trying to charge money injecting products into the face and the lips. It can be a nightmare.”
Products That Work
While many of the items that claim to be able to reshape the face, nose, lips, etc. are dubious at best, there are many treatments at home borne of new research that can provide great improvement. One in particular is skin rollers, a derivative of microneedling technology that helps to rebuild collagen in the skin. Those afflicted with acne and acne scarring may see some very positive benefits from these devices, although DIYers need to do their research as to the science behind their effectiveness.
“I think that there are some very valuable home-use devices out there, starting with skin rollers that are used for acne and acne scarring,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner. “There are home hair removal devices that work, there are home acne devices that work. I think there are some very valuable home-use devices out there, but it’s hard to figure out what’s good and what’s a bunch of crap. That’s why I think things that are sold in doctor’s offices, that are recommended by board certified plastic surgeons, have a bit more merit than what you might find on Alibaba or Amazon.”
At the end of the day, it’s the onus of the consumer to responsibly try these devices at home. It’s always good advice to be wary of large claims, or of devices that are sold as an alternative to surgery. Many cosmetic procedures require surgery, and, at the least, information from the experts.
If patients want to try out at-home microneedling with a dermal roller, that’s great and probably worth a shot. At-home buttock augmentation with hardware store materials? That’s something else.