Our Rating: 4 stars

I would never have embarked on testing the at-home microdermabrasion kit, PMD Personal Microderm System ($179), if Nisha (a licensed esthetician) had not written such an intriguing review. I tend to believe that there are some treatments best left to professionals and microdermabrasion can seriously damage skin if not performed properly. However, Nisha’s experience with PMD made me want to try it for myself, and after a month of testing, I am rather impressed by it.

In esthetician or derm offices, crystal systems have been the traditional microdermabrasion treatment of choice. Tiny crystals are blasted onto the skin to perform an exfoliating process. Although still widely used, the introduction of alternatives has led to a trend towards diamond microdermabrasion systems. The diamond tipped head makes contact with the skin and abrades against it. A skilled user will know where to place the head and how much pressure to use.

PMD uses aluminum oxide crystals on a flat, sandy disc, similar to a professional diamond-tipped head. There are two disc sizes, one for face and a slightly bigger one for body (although they are both rather small), and color-coded: sensitive (blue) and medium (green) – I used blue on my face and green on my neck.

I diligently restricted myself to two passes on each area – forehead, crow’s feet, around the mouth and chin, and neck. I did not treat my cheekbone area as I have a tendency to rosacea. Overall, I found the device to work better – more evenly – if moved it in a downward direction. The disc head, unsurprisingly feels like sandpaper, but I did not experience any discomfort (although the suction takes a bit of getting used to). Nor did I inflict any redness or welts, only a little nick above my lip. The latter was during the second session, and I confess I became a bit too self confident in my wielding of the device – lesson learned, this is a powerful little thing.

I used the PMD as instructed once a week. Immediately afterwards the skin looks clear and, well, exfoliated. It feels soft too. The effect on wrinkles is subtle but cumulative and after a month I have seen a difference – enough to incorporate the PMD into my routine. The only thing I might caution is the need to purchase replacement tips (6 for $14.95) and I haven't yet worked out how long they last.