5 Skincare Treatments You Should Know About: For Better or for Worse
Skincare options used to be a lot simpler. There are too many skincare treatments, trends, and suggestions to keep up with these days.
At Primally Pure, we like to keep things as simple as possible.
We’re constantly getting questions from our community on the safety of conventional skincare treatments. So we’ve spent the last few months diving into the most noteworthy of the top trending skincare treatments. We’ve done our best to assess their safety + efficacy from a holistic standpoint. Because more information leads to more empowered decision-making for everyone.
And while we don’t always agree with the modern notions about skincare, we did find some interesting results from our research. Surprisingly, some of these skincare treatments have a place in the right situations/context.
Let’s dive into five of the most popular skincare treatments you’re dying to know about.
Skincare Treatment #1: Botox
Botox is probably one of the longest-standing skincare treatments. It’s been around for a while, and it’s commonly accepted as the answer for anti-aging and wrinkle reversal.
What it is: Botox is an injectable skincare treatment applied through a needle syringe into specific layers of your skin. It works to “freeze” muscles and smooth wrinkles. Botox is derived from a life-threatening neurotoxin called botulinum toxin that can exist in the wild. But if exposed in the wild, it could easily kill you – by paralyzing you slowly until you suffocate.1
This may sound intense, but it’s true.
What it’s used for + how it works: Botox eliminates wrinkles by paralyzing the injected muscles. Remember how we said in the wild this toxin would slowly paralyze you? Yep, it’s like a mini version of that, isolated to your face.
It can be used in some medically necessary situations to alleviate chronic migraines or fix crossed eyes.2 But these days, as you probably know, we mostly see it used for cosmetic purposes.
Our safety assessment: This skincare treatment is a big no for us. Yes, it works, but at what cost? We just don’t feel comfortable about pumping a known toxin into your body.
→ Here are just a few of the recorded side effects:3
- Drooping skin
- Swelling and allergic reactions
- Muscle weakness
- Chest pain or pressure
We have enough exposure to toxins throughout life as it is. So we don’t agree with intentionally injecting a toxin for cosmetic purposes. Skincare treatments should improve skin health, without putting your whole-body health at risk.
Alternative skincare treatments: Here’s what we’d recommend as an alternative to Botox skincare treatments:
- Facial gua sha stone – Arguably the best alternative. This gentle practice brings increased lymph flow to the face to restore nutrients + plumpness.
- Plumping serum – Helps with moisture retention and contains bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative. A moisturized face = a youthful face.
- Facial massage – Stimulates blood flow and relaxes muscles. Over time, facial massage builds muscles, restoring volume to the face.
- Red light therapy – Supports collagen production, overall skin complexion, and fine lines and wrinkles.4 Done in a full infrared sauna setting, you can get the full body benefits too.
For even more information on Botox, check out our full in-depth post.
Skincare Treatment #2: Dermaplaning
You’ve probably seen this skincare treatment before. Dermaplaning is often listed as an add-on option for facials. It’s best loved for its ability to give you an immediate, noticeable glow.
What it is: A skincare treatment that uses a specially-administered scalpel tool to remove the outer layer of dead skin and remove peach fuzz hair.
What it’s used for + how it works: Dermaplaning improves texture, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. It can also enhance your skin’s moisture retention.5 It’s similar to shaving but requires much more skill (and a different tool).
Having your skin exfoliated professionally with a dermaplaning tool means a fresh layer of smooth skin is revealed. It works by naturally kickstarting your cell’s turnover process. Doing so speeds up the grand entrance of your beautiful + newly formed skin cells.
Our safety assessment: We give this one the green light, with one important condition. Make sure only a licensed professional does this. It’s easy to feel like you could do this at home, but please don’t. You could accidentally overdo it or knick your face, leading to skin damage.
Dermaplaning has the power to address more persistent issues like acne scarring without being invasive to your skin. What we love about it: It doesn’t use a controlled injury response to bring healing.
Instead, it supports the natural healing powers of the skin.
Alternative skincare treatments: Even though this is generally safe, not everyone is a candidate for dermaplaning. You should not get dermaplaning if you:
→ Currently take Accutane or have been on it in last six months
→ Use a chemical exfoliator (retinol/Retin-A) or have used one in the last 48hrs6
→ Have a sunburn
→ Have extremely sensitive skin
If dermaplaning is just not your thing (or not in the budget to have it professionally done), here are some other ways to achieve similar results:
- Facial dry brush – Similar to dermaplaning, it gently sloughs off dead skin cells but is even more gentle. Dry brushing also boosts lymph flow to bring healing to areas that need it most.
- Moisture-rich serums, creams + balms – Give your skin moisture, and a glow will follow.
- Hydration – Internal moisture is just as crucial if you want to glow on the outside, friends. (Check out gel waters for an added kick of moisture absorption.)
- Facial gua sha stone – Many swear by the glow they get from using their facial gua sha stone daily (on top of other benefits).
- Facial masks – A plumping mask gives you a noticeably smooth complexion and glow – some say even after a single application.
For even more information on dermaplaning, check out our full in-depth post.
Skincare Treatment #3: Fillers
Fillers have gained popularity, particularly in the lip department. If you know someone whose lips suddenly seem very plush, they’ve probably gotten some filler injected. Fillers are loved for being a versatile skincare treatment, tackling multiple issues at once. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
What it is: Similar to Botox, it’s an injectable skincare treatment that administers a synthetic material into the skin via a syringe. There are many different types of fillers, but the main and most common one is synthetic hyaluronic acid.
What it’s used for + how it works: Fillers are used for a variety of purposes like:
- Anti-aging skincare treatment
- Contouring the face (or other body parts)
- Plumping a “sunken” area
- Reducing acne scarring
Instead of paralyzing a muscle, the filler does what it sounds like. It “fills” sunken places that show age or interfere with the desired definition of the face. Essentially, fillers add volume to your tissue. They can be injected at different levels of your skin for varied results.
Our safety assessment: We don’t recommend this treatment unless you find a natural option, like Dr. Chesnut's fat-stem cell fillers. This special filler uses your own fat to seamlessly blend into your face’s “fat pad.” It can bring back volume and definition.
Many professionals will tell you synthetic fillers are safe because they mimic your body’s natural hyaluronic acid, but it’s just not true. It’s still a synthetic version that your body can decide to “attack” as a foreign invader at any time.
Our trusted reference, Dr. Chesnut, has seen this first-hand.
Here are a few typical side effects of fillers:
- Perception drift – A phenomenon that causes you to lose touch with the reality of what you look like. This causes an addiction to “modifying” your face. It can get out of hand quickly.
- Side effects on the local area – Bruising, development of hard lumps, “overfilling”7, blindness (if injected into the wrong area)8, loss of muscular function, or thick scarring.9
- Migration – Sometimes, the actual filler substance shifts to an unintended place in your face. It’s a scary and common byproduct of face fillers. And despite the rumors that you can just “dissolve” fillers, that isn’t the whole story. Fillers are extremely complicated to remove and/or resolve.
Alternative skincare treatments: Here’s what we’d suggest to give you a contoured, plump, and “full” look, naturally:
- Facial cupping and/or buccal massage – This TCM practice is known to sculpt and plump your skin + increase blood flow.
- Cosmetic acupuncture – Stimulates collagen production to rebuild tissues.
- Firming skincare – Our plumping line, which contains astaxanthin and bakuchiol, is a powerful agent for volume and taut skin.
- Facial gua sha stone – Brings healing, volume, and muscle definition through gentle, manual stimulation.
For even more information on Fillers, check out our full in-depth post.
Skincare Treatment #4: Lasers
We had to include lasers in our skincare treatment research. Face lasers are becoming more common. Lasers are no longer just a dermatologist tool used to burn off skin tags on the body.
What it is: A single beam (wavelength) of light that can reach past the skin’s outermost layer to target specific skin issues.
What it’s used for + how it works: Used for various issues like scar treatment, wrinkles, veins, skin texture, or sun damage. There are many different forms of lasers. Each functions differently, but they all bring heat to an issue (target), stimulating a controlled injury response.
The injury response creates collagen, elastin, and other necessary products for your skin to heal and “reset.” It’s even possible to reset aging genes.
All the specific laser types work differently. Some lasers leave the outer layer of skin untouched and deliver heat directly to the epidermal layer. Others target both layers of the skin.
→ Important note: There are also skincare treatments commonly called “lasers,” but they’re not actually lasers. The true name is a photo facial (like IPL, BBL, and LED). While they can do some of the same things as lasers, they do not qualify as a laser since they emit multiple wavelengths of light instead of one. (Maybe we’ll cover this topic more in-depth at some point if you’d like to know more.)
Our safety assessment: For us, this one is a bit inconclusive and may come down to personal comfort level. It also depends on the context around your skin concerns.
For some people, a one-time treatment done correctly could help repair damaged skin and fix a more serious issue. In other situations, laser treatment might be too intense. Sometimes it’s not worth stimulating an injury response.
Similar to dermaplaning, the biggest issue we see here is the provider. Lasers are extremely powerful. If you decide to get one, make sure an experienced professional is administering your laser skincare treatment. When done incorrectly, face lasers can have serious side effects such as:
- Bleached spots/scarring10
- Skin color changes11
- Oral herpes activated10
Alternative skincare treatments: If a laser doesn’t feel worth the risk to you, or it’s not a match for the intensity of your issues, no sweat. Here are some excellent alternative skincare treatments:
- Red light therapy – Can significantly improve skin without invasive methods. Also known to boost collagen production.
- Dry brushing – Smoothes fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone, and blemishes. It also stimulates your body’s innate healing pathways.
- Facial gua sha stone – Can bring healing to a variety of skin issues that lasers would also address – without causing damage.
For even more information on laser skincare treatments (including photo facials), check out our full in-depth post.
Skincare Treatment #5: Microneedling
Microneedling is one of the most popular skincare treatments right now. People rave about the results, but we have concerns about the way it addresses skin issues as a bandaid fix.
What it is: A skincare treatment where a tool with tiny needles is rolled over the face, creating mini puncture wounds.
What it’s used for + how it works: Most commonly used to treat acne scarring. It’s also used for fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and overall skin texture.
It works by creating “controlled” wounds to stimulate your skin’s natural stress response. Your skin then produces collagen to “fix” the wound. Sometimes specific serums or platelet infusions are also applied to speed up the healing process or provide better results. The new skin “grows/develops” back as smoother skin.
Our safety assessment: We prefer to stick to our holistic roots here. We don’t love that this skincare treatment focuses on manually injuring the skin, even if it’s controlled.
Similar to facial lasers, there are risks. Especially if an unqualified or inexperienced person is administering the microneedling treatment.
In our opinion, there are better ways to get the same results without invading your skin. Besides the fact that we have safety concerns, it’s just not a permanent fix. As we know, collagen isn’t permanent. So your skin will still age normally (aka lose collagen content), even after microneedling.
Alternative skincare treatments: Here are our favorite non-invasive skincare treatments to replace microneedling:
- Our clarifying line paired with a facial gua sha stone – We’ve seen the results of this first-hand with one of our own PP team members.
- Facial dry brush – This can help improve textural issues and stimulates lymph flow to heal other areas of concern.
- Infrared light therapy – It’s known to reduce inflammation, boost collagen, and increase blood flow all over the body, not just on the face.12 Yes, please!
For even more information on microneedling, check out our full in-depth post.
Skincare Treatments Are Personal – Make the Best Choice for Your Skin
At the end of the day, our advice is to make the best choice for your skin + your situation. As long as you’re doing your due diligence, researching, and asking questions, you can feel confident in your decision-making.
Maybe some of these skincare treatments feel appropriate for you or perhaps none of them do. Either way, we would encourage you to understand how your skin functions and make the best choice for yourself.
Resources are your best friend in a world full of marketing jargon, confusing claims, and misleading information. Hopefully, this helps shed some light on a meaningful discussion about skincare treatments and their natural alternatives.
Thanks for trusting us with your time + skin,
The Pure Team
P.S. – Come back to this post regularly, as we’ll keep updating it with further skin trends/treatment resources in the future!
- National Library of Medicine | Botulinum Toxin
- Verywell Health | The Remarkable History of Botox
- Drugs.com | Botox Injections
- National Library of Medicine | A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase
- Clinical Dermatology Research Journal | The Use of Advance Dermaplaning in Clinical Skin Care and Treatment
- The International Dermal Institute | Exfoliants Get Down to Business
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons | Dermal Fillers
- Journal of Dermatology and Skin Science | Vision Loss and Blindness Following Fillers
- National Library of Medicine | Managing Complications of Fillers: Rare and Not-So-Rare
- RealSelf | Moxie Laser: What You Need to Know
- Skin Tour | Ultimate Guide to Laser Treatments
- Joovv | Red Light Therapy for Skin Health
Pin your fav blog post below: