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Hard truth: Not all skincare yields fast results. Take retinol, for example: If your goal is to reduce acne lesions, you'll have to wait at least three months to see results. And if you're using retinol to target fine lines and wrinkles, you won't notice a marked difference until the six-month point. Patience is a virtue with many products, which can feel frustrating and discouraging, especially in a fast-paced world where consumers want results now. So when a unicorn product comes along that serves up instant gratification, you can bet we're going to sing its praises from the rooftops.
One product in particular that deserves an encore tune is Dermaflash's latest launch, the Dermapore Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser ($99). The brand's known for its namesake product, an electric dermaplaning tool that removes dead skin cells and peach fuzz to not only smooth the skin, but also help forthcoming skincare penetrate deeper as any barrier-forming buildup has been removed. I'd heard team Byrdie rave about that tool so much that when I'd gotten word that the brand would be launching the Dermapore, I excitedly RSVPd to the launch party.
Dermapore Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser
Best for: Oily skin with enlarged pores or blackheads
Uses: Clears pores and improves product penetration
Star Rating: 4.5/5
About the brand: Founder Dara Levy centered her brand around her personal love of dermaplaning, an in-spa treatment known for its instant skin-smoothing results. Levy created the namesake product Dermaflash as an at-home solution, and the brand has expanded to include Dermapore.
The Dermapore is incredibly lightweight and sits comfortably in my hand, making it effortless to use. It's fairly quiet as well, making only a slight buzzing sound as it works over my skin.
The Feel: No discomfort with proper use
Since I always splash my skin with water before using the Dermapore, I don't feel any unpleasant sensation when the tool glides over my skin. But some reviewers have noted it hurts to use on dry skin, so be sure to thoroughly wet your skin before using.
There is slight redness at first from applying pressure, but it's important not to press too hard to avoid damaging the skin.
Sensitivity: Be gentle
You'll want to do a test area first to see how your skin responds. If your skin is quite dry and prone to irritation, this product may only exacerbate those issues. If you're at all concerned about sensitivity, use the lightest pressure possible, gliding the Dermapore ever so gently over your skin.
How to Use
At the event, I had the pleasure of getting "'Pored" so I could feel (and see!) the magic of the product in action. After misting my clean face with water, the brand rep placed the metal spatula at a 45-degree angle against my skin (bent-side up) and slowly ran it across, particularly in areas of congestion along my nose and chin. After a few passes, she showed me the surface of the spatula, which had a satisfying amount of gunk along its edge. Turns out that by working on a wet surface, the sonic current of the device pushes water into the pores which is then shot out like a geyser as you slide the spatula along. This, along with the pressure you apply—in tandem with the ultrasonic waves—pushes dirt, gunk, and oil out of pores.
To minimize discomfort and get the deepest possible cleaning, thoroughly wet your face with warm water before using the Dermapore.
But wait—there's more: Flip the tool around and give the power button another press, and this side of the spatula can be used to push your skincare deeper into your skin: Rather than a constant "buzz" that's emitted in "extract" mode, the "infuse" mode lets off a series of short, quick pulsations to break down your serums and essences into nanoparticles and drive them deep into the epidermis.
The time each session takes varies depending on the level of congestion. To give you an idea, focusing on my nose and chin areas takes about five minutes in total. If you have significant congestion, it may take additional time to fully clean each area.
The Science: Do ultrasonic waves clear pores?
"The device works by applying physical pressure along the skin and pushing the sebum or oil out of our pores; it also has a sonic vibration that enhances penetration of ingredients in products such as serums and creams," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD of Schweiger Dermatology.
Pertaining to frequencies above 20,000 hertz, or at the level that the human ear can discern. Ultrasonic skincare devices like the Dermapore use ultrasonic waves to penetrate skin.
Nazarian notes there is some evidence that supports the company's claim that ultrasonic waves can help topical ingredients permeate into skin.
"This is a generally safe and effective way to enhance your skincare regimen—applying the waves to the skin allows the skin barrier to temporarily decrease, and allows better penetration of serums and other skincare products," Nazarian says.
In terms of treating blackheads, Nazarian adds that the gentle lateral pressure may help pull out the mix of oil and keratin that fill pores, removing blackheads. But she does stress that topical ingredients need to be used to prevent more blackheads from forming.
Safety: What dermatologists say
It’s safe to use in the right hands, but there’s a lot of room for user error.
The fact that I can physically see the product working renders it effective in my eyes, but I wondered what dermatologists thought of using a product at home that licensed skincare professionals also offer in-office. Is it safe? Are there any drawbacks?
"It’s safe to use in the right hands, but there’s a lot of room for user error. With too much pressure, the skin can break and tear, pores can permanently enlarge, and small blood vessels can break," Nazarian says. Nazarian warns that if your goal is to deeply remove blackheads, this tool is better used as a physical exfoliator for the surface of the skin and should only be used once or twice a week so that the skin has time to heal and regenerate.
David E. Bank, MD, FAAD of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery also recommends proceeding with caution, but is a bit more lenient about use frequency. "As long as sonic spatulas are not used too frequently (no more than every other day) and light pressure rather than heavy pressure is applied, they are generally safe to use. They also improve the absorption of products, as the pores are more open after exfoliating the top layer of skin."
The Results: Decongested pores, glowing skin
In addition to visibly pulling buildup out of my pores, the duality of the product is the one-two punch I need for clean, dewy skin; after just one use, I was hooked. In fact, after raving about it to my husband (who could care less about skincare and considers a routine putting body lotion on his face once a year), I caught him using it multiple times.
I've continued to use it over time and found that it is still is a great extraction tool that doesn't damage my skin or cause irritation.
Products to Use With Dermapore
Both dermatologists recommend gently cleansing prior to use (Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar for Nazarian and Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser for Bank). After rinsing, use the spatula on wet skin. Then, Bank suggests applying a product such as Environ Focus Care Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream to further assist with gentle exfoliation of the skin while moisturizing.
For hydration in "infuse" mode, try a serum with sodium hyaluronate (which is smaller than hyaluronic acid and therefore better able to penetrate the skin) like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel or other actives like niacinamide (for its hydrating, brightening, and antioxidant properties) or squalane, an emollient that also reverses UV damage.
How to Clean the Dermapore
Cleaning your Dermapore after and in between each use is a cinch—just wipe the metal spatula down with some rubbing alcohol.
The Value: Very fair
For under $100, this tool cleans out my pores and gives me an overall more radiant complexion—that's a bargain in my book. A single trip to an aesthetician will likely cost more than that, and although the Dermapore may not deliver exactly the same results you would expect to get from a professional pore-cleaning, it's really close for an at-home product. I've been using this tool for over a year and it's still going strong.
It also comes with a 1-year warranty.
Battery Life: Easy to charge
The Dermapore comes with a USB charging cord so you can keep it charged. Once it's fully powered, it should last for multiple sessions—about two weeks of regular use.
Foreo Luna Mini 3: This $159 device also cleanses using gentle vibrations to remove dirt and oil. Reviewers say it leaves their skin feeling soft and smooth, but without as heavy-duty of a cleanse as the Dermapore. It's also solely meant for cleansing and exfoliating, and doesn't have the capability to push serums deeper into the skin like Dermapore.
Our Verdict: Worth it for large pores
The Dermapore is a great investment if you have oily skin with enlarged pores or blackheads and congestion. It's easy to use and clears pores without any discomfort as long as you properly saturate your skin. Over time, it makes skin glow and appear clearer.