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Microdermabrasion is a professional exfoliation treatment that gently removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells. It’s performed with a small machine that has a fine abrasive tip and a gentle vacuum suction that draws the skin against the abrasive tip as the esthetician glides the device over your face. Sucking your skin up against a rough surface and scraping it across your face might sound like weird torture to some, but when done well it’s actually painless and shouldn’t cause any irritation. The result of this deep exfoliation is vibrant, glowing, healthy-looking skin.
Over time, Microdermabrasion can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone, and lighten the appearance of brown spots. A microderm facial at a spa like Bliss in NYC will run you about $290. But, recently, a few at-home microderm devices have hit the market. The Riiviva Microderm ($299) device is considered top-of-the-line and, while some might think that at-home microdermabrasion is a risky venture, I was willing to give this little bad boy a test run.
The Riiviva is equipped with medical-grade diamond-tip technology. The kit comes with three tips for your face: fine, medium and coarse, 50 filters, tweezers, a charger, and a black velvet carrying case. I read the manual cover to cover, and although the whole process is actually quite simple, there’s a lot of information that’s daunting at first.
Editor's Note: The Riiviva kit now comes with 2 tips instead of three. The tips have also changed to free rotating tips for a better treatment.
I started with the fine tip, as everyone is recommended to do. Depending on your skin, you may or may not eventually move up to the more coarse tips. I decided to start with just half of my face. The first thing you need to do is put in a new filter. This is what captures all of the dead skin and muck that gets sucked off your skin. The back of the tweezers is used to open the filter canister (this was actually the hardest part). You really needed to use some muscle to get it open. The manual has a photo that shows the different paths along the face you want to “glide” the device on. I put the word glide in quotes because it didn’t exactly glide. In fact, the first time I used it, the device sort of skipped and pulled in places. It didn’t hurt, but I will say there was a small learning curve to getting it right.
After a few minutes, I was done. And although my skin was ever so slightly red (this is normal), it felt amazing. The microderm-tested side of my face felt refreshed and awesomely tingly. It felt deeply scrubbed, but not in an irritated way; it was definitely smoother to the touch than the other side. I decided to wait a day – to make sure no overnight irritation developed – before I did the other side. The next day I was a bit more graceful with gliding the device, but I wasn’t an expert yet. Needless to say, my skin did appear to be glowing and felt smooth (I was already starting to love this little thing).
You’re only supposed to use the device once or twice a week, so that your skin has time to rejuvenate naturally. You really don’t want to overdo this type of exfoliation, even though you might be excited by the results.
I have been using the Riiviva for several months now and I really like it. Once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly quick and easy to use. My skin always looks noticeably fresh and vibrant after using it, especially the next morning. I love that it’s cordless. I am definitely a fan, but I do feel the need to say a few things:
1. I don’t think I’ve noticed any cumulative results in the form of reduction of lines or lightened brown spots.
2. I have always occasionally gotten redness around my chin area. This is unrelated to using the Riiviva, but when I do have a flare up, I absolutely avoid using the device in that area. I think if you have any sensitivities you need to be very cautious.
3. Just putting this out there – I think my skin gets similar results (although definitely more short-lived) when I use the Royal Nectar Face Mask with bee venom ($65 in the shop).
I should also note that I tried using one of the coarser tips on the back of one of my arms where I have small bumps, Keratosis Pilaris (Riiviva actually makes a tip that’s specifically designed for this area). At first I thought it was helping, but after a few weeks I didn’t see much of difference between the two arms. I also got lazy and wasn’t so consistent with the usage.
At $299, it’s not cheap, but considering the cost of salon treatments, it’s a pretty great deal. After using the Riiviva, the thought of at-home microdermabrasion is no longer intimidating and seems totally logical! With definite noticeable results, the Riiviva gets two thumbs up from me.