10 Emotional Stages of an At-Home Microdermabrasion

It's not every day a girl decides to try out an at-home microdermabrasion kit, and thank goodness, because that would mean our voraciously anti-aging beauty culture was completely out of control. I am humbled and sorrowed to report that I, however, did try out an at-home microdermabrasion kit the other day — IT'S CALLED CURIOSITY, OK? — and experienced about a hundred different strong emotions during the process.

Any sort of heavy-duty DIY activity is always kind of freaky — DIY haircut? DIY tie-dye manicure? DIY dye-your-wedding-dress-purple? DIY don't-do-the-dishes-for-weeks? — but especially when it involves your face, which experts say you need to treat "like silk." (So…dry clean it and hope to heaven you don't spill red wine anywhere.) And let's be honest with ourselves, the very idea behind a microdermabrasion, which Google defines as "a cosmetic treatment in which the face is sprayed with exfoliant crystals to remove dead epidermal cells," is freaky. Thankfully, there would be no spraying of crystals in the comfort of my own bathroom; I used the PMD Personal Microderm device, which uses "Aluminum Oxide crystals on the patented spinning discs" and"vacuum action to gently pull skin towards the disc for optimum exfoliation."

I stared at the box for about ten minutes before I even opened it, and then the feelings began.

1. Insecurity.

Have you ever worked in front of a computer screen until about 10 PM in the dim, greenish light of your kitchen, only to suddenly look at yourself in the Photo Booth application? I don't care if you're a bronzed Brazilian goddess, your skin will look wan and awful.

2. Bravery.

All of a sudden it hit me like the sight of my little sister being chosen for the Hunger Games: tonight was the night I was going to use my PMD device.

3. Confusion.

I opened the box. There was a cord, there were different shaped disks purportedly covered in crystals, there was a thing and another thing…um…where were the cleanse, tone, and moisturize buttons, guys?

4. Terror.

I read the instructions religiously (note: a very, very important step), but freaked out when I came upon this sentence: "Pain will occur if you have gone too deep."

5. False sense of confidence.

I clenched my teeth and tried out the device on my arm, as per the instructions. Everything worked as it should and my arm didn't fall off. "You were born to do this," I told myself. "You are the microdermabrasion queen."

6. Weirded-out-ness.

It's impossible to explain the sensation to those who haven't experienced it. It's sort of like catfish preying on your skin, but very gently and without smelling like catfish. They weren't lying when they said the PMD uses vacuum action to gently pull the skin towards those spinning discs of crystals. It doesn't hurt, but it definitely feels odd. It's also kind of addicting.

7. Vindication.

…while going over "problem areas." GOODBYE, CRUEL CLOGGED PORES!

8. A strange calm.

I did it. It was over. My skin was a little bit red and streaky, but I had a face.

9. Impatience.

I knew I had to wait till the next day to see any results. So I slathered on facial oil and went to bed, muttering to myself.

10. Victory.

The next day, I thought my skin looked a little bit better, but I wanted feedback. So I crept over to my boyfriend and demanded analysis of my recently microdermabraded skin. He took a long look and gave me the following perfect sound byte: "Your skin is glowing."

Either he's read way too many issues of Adjectives Girls Like and How to Use Them, or I actually microdermabraised properly. And knowing for sure that I still had a face? That was the greatest emotion of them all.