I am a huge advocate for at-home beauty treatments. They extend the results from in-office treatments and empower people to take their beauty routine into their own hands. But even as an experienced beauty expert, I think that there are some treatments that should be left to the professionals. One of the treatments that come to mind is dermaplaning. No matter how hard I try to get the scalpel at a 45-degree angle, there are inevitably knicks that occur due to the topography of my face—or worse, I remove too much skin.
With that said, I decided to tap into professionals of varying backgrounds to see what their thoughts on the matter are.
Celeste Rodrigues Skin Care
Celeste Rodrigues is a trusted and highly sought-after skin care expert and aesthetician loved by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skin care obsessives everywhere. “I’ve been a licensed esthetician for 14 years. I’ve been in the plastic surgery space since the beginning of my career. I ventured out on my own and opened my first space/medspa in December 2019,” she tells me.
At her Beverly Hills practice, Rodrigues specializes in corrective skin care with a holistic approach that puts an emphasis on nutrition and its internal and external benefits. “Corrective skincare is acne clearing, pigmentation reversal, and antiaging. For anyone seeking out better skin quality, all ages, all skin types.”
When it comes to aesthetic treatment that should be left to the pros, Rodrigues shares, “I really feel at home chemical peels should be left in the past. So many times, I get text messages from clients and or friends telling me that they ordered a peel online and they have burnt themselves. It’s just best to leave it up to professionals and not something to guess about.”
Curious to know what some of the most extreme cases she has seen with at-home peels gone wrong she tells me, “A client had used an at-home peel which resulted in a burn that left her skin discolored. This took months of recurring in office treatments and peels to get her skin to even back out.” In her personal experience the worst cases Rodrigues has seen have been from both at-home face and body peels.
“As a practitioner, you must be so careful figuring out a plan to correct this. Please do your research or consult with a professional before attempting at-home treatments. I’ve personally taken on some cases that have taken months to a year to fix/correct.”
Alexa Maestrone, FNP-BC
Alexa Maestrone, based in New York, is a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner who transitioned into aesthetics nearly eight years ago. She specializes in overall skin health and injectables, with the overarching goal of assisting her clients in appearing as youthful as they feel.
“I began my career as an RN working in critical care for a neurosurgeon. I always wanted to get into injectables,” she tells me. “At 16, I was assaulted by a man on the street and had to have plastic surgery. I started to get lip fillers to repair some of the damage. Around the age of 24, I knew that I wanted to get into plastic surgery, so I took a job with a plastic surgeon and trained under him before moving over to a med spa. Currently, I am in the process of starting my own private practice where I will focus on injectables.”
When I ask her what her general sentiment is about at-home devices and treatments she responds, “I think at-home devices are great. They help people who may have scheduling issues and cost wise, they make treatments more accessible. However, with that being said, there are certain devices that require a certain level of training if not, medical backgrounds and years of clinical proactiveness to properly conduct treatments.”
One of the treatments she feels most strongly about leaving to medical professionals is Hyaluron Pens, which is a needle-free device used to inject hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers. “It’s something that is concerning. Even the FDA issued a warning,” continues Maestrone.
“Hyaluronic fillers are meant to be used by medical professionals and should only be distributed to medical professionals. So, if people are purchasing these to use on themselves or bought by someone not qualified to do the injection, there are no safety measures.”
Maestrone shares that in her experience the biggest issues that she sees when unqualified individuals perform the injections is infection.
“Part of the concern is that who knows what the conditions are when the injection was done. Chances are the unqualified injector has not been trained on pathogens, so we really worry about disease transfer. Another huge concern with dermal fillers not being performed by medically trained professionals is vascular occlusion, when the filler is injected in a blood vessel, which can cause tissue death. If the dermal filler goes any deeper, it can cause blindness or a stroke. Everyone has seen that woman on TikTok who had an allergic reaction to the filler, and she had to go to the hospital.”
Maestrone emphasizes that in the case of an allergic reaction, it is crucial that the proper medication is used to treat it, which is something only a medical professional would be able to determine. “The biggest concern with those not medically trained is not having the training to spot adverse reactions and it could be too late by the time that they do.” Maestrone also has strong feelings about at-home dermarollers. “These at-home microneedling devices can cause infection if not cleaned properly! The way we clean them at home isn’t always the right manner. Just think about how we wait to wash our make-up brushes!”
Another concern will dermal fillers injected by individuals not qualified to do so is disfigurement. “This can be lumps in the skin, discoloration of the treatment areas, even scarring,” explains Maestrone. “The way these lumps can be treated is by using the antidote, as long as we know what was injected. There are various antidotes for hyaluronic acid to dissolve it. With that being said the reversal agent can be quite uncomfortable and it’s costly. In fact, it costs more money to do corrective work when compared to having a qualified person do the injection in the first place.”
She also raises some concerns with at-home microneedling and lasers when used on darker skin types. “When it comes to darker skin types, we are always concerned about hyperpigmentation. I have not seen this yet in my practice, but my guess is that when these devices become readily available, we will see the effects. Even though these devices come with specific instructions, how often do we pay attention? Most would assume that since they are available for home use, that they are safe.”
Dr. Sherwin Parikh, MD at Tribeca Skin Center, Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer at A.P. CHEM
Dr. Sherwin Parikh is a Board-Certified dermatologist, founder of Tribeca Skin Center, a thriving multi-physician practice of more than twenty years, and co-founder of a new skincare brand, A.P. CHEM®. Inspired by his upbringing as a first-generation Indian American, his family’s Ayurvedic practices and Eastern beliefs inform his guiding principles in his approach to skin health where food is medicine and health is wellness. Recognized by Castle Connelly Top Doctors as one of the best dermatologists in New York City, I thought he would be a great resource for which aesthetic treatments should be left to the professionals.
“Micro-needling is a procedure that induces collagen production, targets fine lines and acne scars, creating fresher skin as it heals. It is not advisable to attempt it at home, as only devices used in-office are FDA-approved for such purposes,” shares Parikh.
“Puncture wounds from home items, often made from rollers, can create tears in the skin. Irregular wounds can leave the skin open to infections and may result in abnormal healing, including hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones.
Procedures in-office such as SkinPen combined with PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) have reproducible reliable results with improved healing, growth factors, and almost no side effects in any skin tone.”
In any aspect of life, there are inherent risks, even when seeking services from professionals. Despite some aesthetic treatments being accessible to consumers, certain procedures are best entrusted to properly trained professionals. Whether you’re a consumer seeking a treatment or a business owner hiring a skincare professional for aesthetic services, it’s advisable to consult your state’s licensing laws to determine who is legally authorized to perform specific procedures.
Regardless of your role, experts caution against attempting certain treatments at home to prevent potential risks such as infection, scarring, discoloration, and other undesirable side effects. The insights shared by these professionals provide valuable guidance on what to avoid for a safer and more effective approach to skincare.