I Suctioned My Face For Better Skin

I’m pushing 30 — a milestone that I’m at ease with in terms of my career and social life, but not 100% prepared for when it comes to my skin. That’s not because fine lines freak me out (well, not completely), but as so many "anti-aging" treatments do. These days, wrinkle-fighters don’t just come in a jar — they're in the form of infrared lasers, injections, needle rollers, and high-tech gadgets. Knowing which ones to invest in, or, run like hell from, can be intimidating.

That said, one at-home device recently piqued my interest, primarily because it claims to diminish signs of aging quickly and painlessly — two things I can totally get behind (did I mention my pain threshold hasn’t caught up with my age?).

It’s called the Conture Skin Enhancing System and it basically behaves like a miniature vacuum. As you run the device along your face and neck — there’s even a “mild” setting for your delicate eye area — it suctions up and releases skin, stimulating blood flow and “exercising” muscles in order to produce a brighter, firmer appearance. Think of it as a workout for your face.

These days, wrinkle-fighters don’t just come in a jar... Knowing which ones to invest in, or, run like hell from, can be intimidating.

“If you go to the gym and work with a trainer, you target different muscle groups,” explains Conture R&D scientist, John Tedeschi. “[This device] focuses on another part of the body that needs to be exercised." Meaning, all of that manipulation can help depuff, debloat, and even tone droopy areas.

Unlike a sweaty session on the elliptical, however, this tool is pretty effortless and user-friendly. It looks a bit like a hairdryer, and charges through a USB that you plug into your computer. I test-drove it for the recommended period of 30 days, and noticed that my skin was plump, glowing, and noticeably brighter almost right away. Granted, my few, new wrinkles aren’t deep or pronounced enough yet to provide an accurate picture of how it affected them (if at all), but there was something viscerally satisfying about the feel and the sound of the suction against my skin. This is progress, I thought. This is doing something.

To make sure my enthusiasm wasn’t entirely misplaced, I spoke with New York dermatologist Julie Russak about the benefits (real or imagined) of skin suctioning. She conceded that all of that tugging and pulling does indeed increase blood flow and can certainly bestow a healthy glow — albeit a temporary one.

But New York dermatologist Neal Schultz, creator of BeautyRx and host of DermTV.com, had more cautionary words, noting that overuse may result in “premature failure of elastic fibers,” which could cause laxity, rather than firmness, of the skin. The solution? Stick to the recommended twice-daily use, and don’t go overboard.

In all honesty, I’ve never found a product that instantly brightens my skin the way this one does...

Then again, not going overboard is the tricky part. In all honesty, I’ve never found a product that instantly brightens my skin the way this one does (I discovered that it also helps lotions, serums, and creams absorb better, resulting in an even healthier flush). My devotion is so complete that I recently dragged my Conture through airport security (earning some weird looks and extra inspections in the process). But it was worth the hassle. The combination of travel and sun sucked the life out of my skin; the Conture plumped it right back up again. Fire with fire, you know?

Now, is the device right for you? That partly depends on how much you're willing to drop on a gadget that pulls on your face like a pocket-size Dyson (the Conture costs a cool $249, online). But, if you're interested in taking a proactive approach to anti-aging without a major commitment, the Conture seems like a safe, easy, and satisfying way to go.

Personally, I'm more than happy to tell my fine lines to suck it, for now.

Conture Kinetic Skin Toning System, $249, available at Conture.

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