Reviewed by Marta on January 15, 2014


There is a bad smell when I use my DermaWand ($289). My experience is probably not uncommon since DermaWand’s website acknowledges that there is a smell, but says that I will “recognize” it as “that fresh, clean after a rainstorm fragrance.” Actually, I don’t; it smells like singed cat fur.

I bought my DermaWand for $289 and I don’t like it one bit. It isn’t just the smell  (which, given the cat isn’t in the vicinity when I use DermaWand, makes me wonder if I am burning peach fuzz), I don’t like the sensation of using it on my skin. Oh, and it doesn’t work (for me, so far).

DermaWand is an at-home radio frequency device, sold solely — at the time of this review — by DermaWand and on Amazon. This technology is best explained by how machines in dermatologists’ offices worked in the past and how they have evolved. High frequency radiowave technology used to be best known as systems such as Thermage. These used high temperatures, were very painful and not terribly effective. New versions of this technology include the Pellevé Wrinkle Reduction System and they cause heat to build up where the skin and fat layer come together. Enough heat is required to cause a process called denaturation - collagen fibers contract and, because they believe they are undergoing a trauma, they start stimulating new collagen.

There’s a nasty zap (that always has me jumping off my seat, more due to the surprise factor than any pain) when DermaWand first comes into contact with the skin. Once in contact, the device is moved over the face in rapid circular motions. Although neither hot, nor painful, I found that the sensation to be uncomfortably prickly.

The thing is that “denaturation” takes place at 41°C — at least for the professional Pelleve treatment. I once had one of those and, trust me, the thing gets very hot. There is no way that DermaWand is operating at that temperature. This is the issue I had with Silk’N FaceFX, which has an operating temperature of 15°C to 35°C — too low for denaturation.

DermaWand promises to remove wrinkles, soften lines, reduce pores, diminish cheek puffiness and plump lips. I found DermaWand much too uncomfortable to use on my lips or anywhere near my mouth area. When DermaWand touched a zit on my forehead, I nearly jumped out of my skin. And overall, I just found it unpleasant even for the mere three minutes per session suggested.

This means that to be fair to DermaWand, I have not given it a full and fair trial over the past month or so. DermaWand recommends two three minute treatments a day. There have been few days when I managed this and I so actively disliked using DermaWand that days would go by before I could galvanize myself to give it another go.

Given no discernible results, nasty sensations and the burned cat pong, DermaWand is back in its box to stay.