Putting Lancer's At-Home Microdermabrasion to the Test

Burberry Prorsum coat; Lars Nord Studio bodysuit (throughout); Cornelia James gloves (throughout); Anya Hindmarch clutch.

Photographer: Steven Meisel
Stylist: Marie-Amélie Sauvé

With access to medispas on hold for some, and others (understandably) not feeling comfortable visiting their dermatologists, at-home facial devices, tools, and gadgets are a sensible solution for maintaining radiant skin. And it’s a good time to integrate a face tool into your skincare regimen: of late, the market has been flooded with new professional-grade products that promote cell turnover and smooth skin—giving you the same fresh look you’d sport after leaving a facialist’s office. We’d heard lore about the Lancer Pro Polish Micro-Dermabrasion Device, created by the Beverly Hills dermatologist Harold Lancer, and gave it a whirl to see how it stacked up against a trip to the aesthetician. Here are four W editors’ honest opinions and experiences.

Maryam Lieberman, Contributing Beauty Editor

Describe your history with microdermabrasion.

I started doing microdermabrasion about 15 years ago on a consistent basis with Los Angeles facialist Cristina Radu, whom my friend Shelli Azoff turned me onto. Cristina is known for her very thorough European skincare credo, and microdermabrasion was always the focal point of our facials. I stopped a few years ago—for no reason other than I didn’t have much time to care about myself.  About three years ago, I did a melasma control skincare program with Dr. Lancer and regular microdermabrasion was part of the regimen. I was very pleased with the overall results—my skin was smooth and even. What I was not keen on was after the procedure, I had to be diligent about not going outside, shielding my raw skin like a maniac from any possible sunlight for the next day or two. I am sensitive to light, get freckles easily, and I’m prone to melasma, even with sunscreen and a hat. I still liked microdermabrasion, however, and preferred doing it, but I had to make sure the appointments were later on in the day, or even at night; that was often an impossible time slot to get. 

Did you have reservations about using the Lancer at home?

To be truthful, I had reservations that it would not be as good as a professional visit to the dermatologist or facialist; I was skeptical. What intrigued me, though, was that I could have control over when I wanted to perform a treatment according to my schedule at home. But I have done microdermabrasion so many times in the past—at the facialist and at Lancer’s—that I wasn’t concerned about doing the treatment incorrectly. 

What was using the microdermabrasion tool like?

The week prior, I made sure to only use really gentle cleansing and masking products so I would not have any possible irritation. The tool was easy to put together. There are three settings. The first setting did nothing for me and I had to go to setting three to really feel like it did in the doctor’s office or facialist’s chair. You have to pull your skin up and away just like they do in the doctor’s office while you sweep through those areas. When I was finished, I applied my favorite cleansing milk to calm my skin. I touched my face and felt that familiar soft, smooth, feel. I have to say, no other skin tool gets your skin as smooth as microdermabrasion does. 

Did you see results? Would you use the Lancer tool in the future? 

I saw results, yes. There is more of an even tone and my skin is smoother. I would do this again every two to three weeks—at night, of course. Again, there was a huge plus for me when it came to using this when and where I wanted to.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIjGZFEl9tS/

A post shared by Dr. Harold Lancer (@drlancerrx)

Erin Meagher, Senior Designer

Describe your history with microdermabrasion.

I’ve had multiple microdermabrasions in my past, but sparingly and intermittently. I’ve always had a hard time making it back in for timely appointments. Most recently, I had a microdermabrasion paired with a facial at Rescue Spa.

Did you have reservations about using the Lancer at home?

None at all. I have sensitive skin, but I’ve never had an issue with microdermabrasion per se, and was excited to see the results.

What was using the microdermabrasion tool like?

I used the Lancer before bed, and after washing my face with a gentle, all-natural cleanser. The tool is very easy to use and the instructions are straightforward (I definitely recommend reading them nonetheless). You can choose your level of intensity, and I found the highest setting to be the only one that provided results.

I used Lancer’s The Method: Nourish Cream directly after use—the first time, it caused a burning sensation on my skin. It’s an issue I regularly have with many moisturizers, because my skin is extremely dry and sensitive. Someone with less sensitive skin might not have had an issue. Still, I swapped it out during subsequent treatments, and used a hyaluronic acid serum afterwards instead, or a calming toner, followed by a simple moisturizing oil—or if I was feeling super dry, my favorite, Weleda Skin Food. 

Did you see results? Would you use the Lancer tool in the future?

Yes! My skin afterward was extremely smooth—more so than the results I’ve experienced from any exfoliating scrub. I found that afterward, my serums were more effective than before, and my pores were much more open, which made extractions easier. The texture of my skin felt fresh and rebirthed. I honestly don’t plan on buying another exfoliating scrub again, as this does the job way better, and in the end, it’s much more cost-efficient.

Julia McClatchy, Assistant to the Editor in Chief

Describe your history with microdermabrasion.

I have never done a microdermabrasion treatment before. However, I was interested in using this tool due to its listed benefits, especially improved hyperpigmentation and decreased appearance of enlarged pores.

Did you have reservations about using the Lancer at home, or was it not a concern?

I did have minor reservations about using the Lancer, as I am new to microdermabrasion in and of itself. Personally, I found watching tutorials and reading the instructions a few times over to be especially helpful and settled any concerns I had. 

What was using the microdermabrasion tool like?

I would compare the microdermabrasion tool to a mini skin vacuum—designed to maneuver on both a confined and large scale, covering every inch. I used the Lancer tool during my evening skin routine once I had a clean and fresh base. The tool includes multiple settings and I found the highest setting to be the most beneficial for my skin. After using the Lancer tool I always rinse my face with cold water and apply The Cream by Augustinus Bader for the best results. I did try using the Lancer Method: Nourish Cream instead, but it left my skin feeling very warm with a stinging sensation. Despite that, the cream did smell lovely and would likely work best for someone with less sensitive skin. 

Did you see results? Would you use the Lancer tool in the future?

Absolutely! The Lancer device has a guaranteed spot in my nightly routine, as it consistently leaves my skin feeling smooth, clear, and even-toned.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIRWxqMlxSz/

A post shared by Dr. Harold Lancer (@drlancerrx)

Stephanie Eckardt, Staff Writer

Describe your history with microdermabrasion.

Zero history! I just associated it with exfoliation, which I also wish I knew more about.

Did you have reservations, using the Lancer at home?

No concerns at all until I used it, especially as I read the instruction booklet cover to cover at least twice. But the first few times I turned it on, I immediately thought I was doing something wrong. Initially, I definitely was, stupidly mistaking the swivel neck’s rotation button for the power button and giving up when it wouldn’t turn on. Feeling like a fool, I was more than ready for my next attempt. But the suction was powerful to a degree that I was confident I was making another mistake. After revisiting the instructions—and appreciating how thorough they were—yet again, I decided I needed some time before determining how to proceed.

What was using the microdermabrasion tool like?

As mentioned, it felt way too intense. So you can imagine how baffled I was upon learning that people not only actually used the highest setting, but that it’s also what my coworkers prefer and recommend. Clearly, it wasn’t for me. My skin is very dry, and I worried my face would get red and raw—especially since I can’t seem to maneuver a tool with such an intense degree of suction. No matter how tightly I hold my skin, it occasionally gets stuck—thereby leaving behind a red mark, just as the instructions promise.

Did you see results? Would you use the Lancer tool in the future?

My skin was definitely, and immediately, smoother. But I was right about it getting a bit red and raw, and therefore stingy, which of course was a major drawback. I’d love for someone to show me how to properly use it, because in my experience, the recommended “gliding” technique simply isn’t possible. Still, once I find a good lotion and am finally moisturized again, my coworkers’ experiences have convinced me to give it another (cautious) attempt.

Related: The 6 Best New Beauty Tools and Facial Devices

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