LOS ANGELES - You can get the latest beauty treatments to make your skin look brighter, younger and tighter at the doctor's office. But now, many of those same treatments are available with at-home versions.
One such at-home treatment is microneedling. That's a therapy where tiny holes are drilled into your skin, to damage it, which then encourages healing. It may sound drastic, but doctors say the science behind it is solid.
"It stimulates your body to create new collagen," said Dermatologist Shirley Chi.
Dr. Chi's patient, Matthew Sandlin, is trying microneedling for the first time. It helps improve the appearance of fine lines, and he hopes it will help smooth out acne scars, too.
"I had really bad acne when I was a teenager, up until I was about 20, so I was left with a bunch of pits and scarring on my cheeks," Sandlin said.
He describes the treatment as feeling like sandpaper. Experts say the deeper you go with the tiny, sterile needles, the better the result. And while microneedling may sound like something you'd only want to do in a doctor's office, now at-home versions promise to offer the same type of treatment.
To compare - a procedure at a dermatologist's office averages $375, and usually three to four visits are recommended. The at-home devices range from $40-$200.
Since the at-home versions are personal devices and not shared, hygiene isn't an issue. But at the doctor's office, there are some concerns.
"Some of the earlier pens have actually been cited by the FDA and are no longer able to be sold because of contamination of blood," Chi said.
That's why, to prevent infection, experts say it's important to ask the doctor or technician doing the microneedling to use a device that has a removable head.
"Disposable tips mean only you can use it," Chi said.
But microneedling is just one of many trending beauty treatments you can home. For example, there are devices for removing peach fuzz and smoothing fine lines.
There are also skin-brightening devices, but Chi says there are some drawbacks to those.
"Both of these technologies work when done at a doctor's office, but when it's a handheld device that you get from a department store, it's just not strong enough," Chi said.
So, while some at-home treatments may be more convenient than going to doctor's office, they may have to be done much more frequently to achieve measurable results.
As for Sandlin, he says he's most comfortable getting treated at the doctor's office.
"I wouldn't trust myself to do something like this," he said.