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Derma Pen vs. Derma Roller - A breakdown of what you need to know! (Home or Office?!)


I hope all is well, and that you have been able to escape the flu, which seems to be rampant right now.

I wanted to take a moment and comment on a growing trend, which was brought to my attention by one of my patients on Friday.  The patient and I were discussing the Candela radiofrequency skin treatments that we offer, and she inquired about the differences between our machine and the "at home" devices she sees advertised on Amazon. 

Admittedly, I couldn't speak to the actual results from the Amazon or Ebay machines as I have never tried any of the inexpensive devices.  I can say, however, that we have the finest equipment, purchased new from such manufacturers as Candela, one of the giants in the industry.   

Furthermore, the quality of the technology affects results.  I also know that a lot of the rollers or microneedling pens being sold to the general public are quite inferior to what is generally sold to medical practices. 

For instance, the needles in these other microneedling devices do not oscillate and penetrate the same way.  This leads to inferior and unpredictable results.  But that doesn't mean that harm cannot be done and that skin injury cannot occur.  In fact, there is a greater change of unwanted injury to the skin with these inferior pens/rollers and we are actually hearing of cases where patients are causing significant harm to their skin with such home remedies. 

I have attached below some pictures that demonstrate the differences between the Dermapen in our office at the "other devices."   In a similar way, a 40% TCA peel can even be purchased on Amazon, but a chemical peel of this strength can cause serious complications and scarring in untrained hands, especially when you consider that the intent of such a peel is to create a burn to the skin in a controlled fashion.

As my conversation with my patient on Friday continued, who happens to be a nurse, she informed my of the growing numbers of people watching YouTube videos at home and injecting themselves with filler and Botox.  I was horrified for several reasons.  For starters, the injection of these medicines and products are not risk free.  Botox should be injected in a doctor's office because it carries a real, albeit very low low risks of a catastrophic heart event, which is why there is actually a black box warning on the product. 

Fillers injected in the wrong way or place can cause infection, blindness, stokes, and  tissue necrosis.  Allergan even explains those warnings on every commercial for the filler products that they are currently running on tv.  There was a little phrase that was ingrained in me over and over when I was in general surgery training, many years ago..."don't ever perform a procedure when you are unable to treat the possible complications."

I would caution against people simply following a Youtube video to inject filler purchased from some online pharmacy that may be selling counterfeit and potentially harmful product unless you can treat possible infection, skin loss, or something even worse.  A few years ago, you may remember that people in Miami became seriously ill from counterfeit Botox.  And then there's poor Priscilla Presley, who reportedly had someone inject industrial grade silicone into her lips at someone's house.

At the Mount Pleasant Medispa, we understand that it may sound appealing to save some money and do so skin care treatments in the comfort of home, but we advise against having anyone other than a trained a professional, in a professional environment (ie not someone's kitchen), perform your treatment. 

So as one of our "Valentines's Week" specials, we are offering 25% off of miconeedling packages.  Also, keep a lookout for other specials being offered this week, as well as the laser special that Leah launched on Friday.

Have a great week!

Heidi Williams, MD

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