Pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, but damn, has it been taking a toll on my skin. Yes, there are ways to avoid acne while pregnant, but my first-trimester breakouts just gave way to dull, oily skin and blackheads due to hormone fluctuations in my second trimester. My lifelong obsession with skincare means approximately nil when I have to throw away my pricey, heavy-duty products in favour of gentle cleansers sans salicylic acid and moisturisers void of retinoids.
I stocked up on a few of my favourite organic skincare products and gave myself weekly facials, but still my skin had the texture of an old nail buff. Where was that pregnant glow I'd heard about from so many people? Even my mother told me I was probably having a boy, because when you're carrying a girl, you look extra beautiful. (Real cool, Mom.)
Then, like magic, an email landed in my inbox. "Safe Skincare Solutions During Pregnancy," the subject line read. It was a message from PMD Beauty about the brand's signature tool: a personal microderm device that was guaranteed to be safe enough for use during any stage of pregnancy. I could not request this product fast enough, y'all.
If you're not familiar with how personal microderm works, it's pretty simple. The handheld device has a plastic head that you press firmly against your skin. At the very top of the head, there's a small spinning disc coated with aluminium oxide crystals, which buffs away your top layer of dead skin. The key is that the tool also provide vacuum suction, so the disc gets as close to your skin as possible, increasing circulation and stimulating new cell growth. (New cells equals smooth, glowing skin.) Once that layer of dull skin is removed, the products you put on your face will be more effective, because you're not wasting them on skin that is dying anyway; those good-for-you ingredients are going straight to the new, clean layer of skin and making it even healthier.
There are a few different versions of the tool, and PMD Beauty sent me the Personal Microderm Pro ($199), which includes two speed settings and a full range of abrasion discs for your face and body. It also comes in nine colours, natch. It boasts a five-star rating from over 90 reviewers (many of whom included superhelpful photos) on the official website, while the Classic ($159) received a solid four stars on Amazon. It features fewer bells and whistles, but it'll get the job done.
The first time I used Personal Microderm was a bit jarring; it's not like any product I've used on my face before. The vacuum suction is real, and it took practice to be able to move it in smooth strokes across my face. As gross as it may sound, it felt extremely rewarding to see flakes of dead skin rolling off my cheeks as the discs exfoliated that top layer. It's a quick process, as you just want to go over each part of your face once in a swift upward motion. (Do not overdo it — you will end up with a tomato-red face.)
I added the Personal Microderm treatment to my weekly facial routine, and within a month I saw an improvement in the overall tone of my skin. My face was softer, I had fewer small acneic bumps around my chin, and my serums and moisturisers were noticeably soaking into my skin faster. I felt better about the gentle, organic products that I was using, because I knew the ingredients were penetrating below the surface and working beautiful skincare magic. While my skin isn't quite up to prepregnancy status, it might be good enough to trick my mom into thinking it's a girl.