I Used a Skin Spatula to Unclog My Pores—Here’s What Happened
It’s not as scary as it sounds.
If you, like me, read the words “skin spatula” and pictured a terrifying device resembling a midieval torture instrument rather than a skincare tool, prepare to be surprised. Despite its fear-inducing name, I can tell you from personal experience that the little gadget is nothing to be afraid of. The skin spatula doesn’t hurt; it simply uses ultrasonic vibrations to clean and exfoliate the skin while prepping it to better absorb serums.
Dubious of the device’s supposed benefits and wildly intrigued after watching a few close-up videos of a skin spatula in action on Instagram (if you find zit-popping content satisfying, you’re going to want to watch these), I tried the LaBelle Ultrasonic Skin Spatula from Trophy Skin ($149; amazon.com) for myself.
Not a spatula at all, the device features a sleek handheld design with a stainless steel blade (it’s not sharp, I swear) and a button to operate its two settings—a skin scrubber mode for cleaning pores and an infusion mode for applying serum deep into the skin. After charging it and thoroughly reading through its user guide, I was ready to begin.
Per the instructions, I washed my face with my usual cleanser and made sure my skin remained damp as I turned on the skin scrubber mode. Once on, the device oscillates at 30,000 hertz, using ultrasonic vibrations to deeply clean the skin while emitting a quiet buzzing sound. With the spatula blade angled down, I pressed it to my skin, gliding across areas of my face prone to clogged pores (like my nose, forehead, and chin). Careful to keep my skin moist throughout the treatment, I watched as the blade collected water and small amounts of what can only be described as gunk, which I wiped off the blade with a dry cloth as needed.
The treatment left my face looking a little red, mostly from the pressure of applying the blade to my skin. Other than that, it appeared smooth and unirritated, so I continued on to the next step: the infusion mode. I applied a serum to my skin without rubbing it in and tapped the button on the handle once again to activate the second setting. This time, I used the flat side of the spatula in a circular motion to gently rub in the serum, all the while feeling a faint pulsing of ultrasonic waves designed to help the serum absorb deeper into the skin.
When I was finished, my skin still looked a bit red, but felt seriously clean and fresh. The redness quickly faded, but I still wondered how well the skin spatula really worked and if the investment would prove worth it.
According to New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, the main benefit of the skincare tool is that it’s more hygienic than using a face cleansing brush. “It won’t collect bacteria such as a brush would collect on its bristles,” she tells Health. However, she does note that those with sensitive skin or who are on acne medication like Retin-A should steer clear of skin spatulas since they can aggravate dry, irritated skin.
Of course, a skin spatula is no replacement for professional extractions in a dermatologist’s office, but if you don’t have sensitive skin and are looking for a new way to deep clean pores and exfoliate your skin, you might consider giving the ultrasonic skincare tool a try. One of the more splurge-worthy skin spatula options, the Trophy Skin tool costs just under $150, but you can also shop more affordable devices, including Dermaflash’s Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser ($99; nordstrom.com) or the Skin Scrubber from Kingdom Cares ($36; amazon.com).
Whichever one you go with, these skincare tools work best when used one to two times a week as the final step in your regular skincare routine. Personally, I’ve added it to my Sunday self-care regimen and love how clean and radiant my skin looks after the quick, at-home treatment. I have a feeling it’ll be a staple in my skincare arsenal for years to come.
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