Gadgets for the skin

Gadgets for the skin
Model using a Carat face care gadget.

There's no denying that the at-home beauty devices market is booming. In China alone, it is translated into an almost US$1.3billion (S$1.6 billion) market in 2012, with a double digit growth last year; other countries boasted a similar global growth trend.

While major international brands have made their way into most markets, brand success depends on the region, with names like Nu Skin and Olay charting phenomenal growth in markets like China and South Korea, says the website Cosmetics Design-Europe.

Many of these devices tout to give such wonderful results that you no longer need to consult professional aestheticians, physicians or buy mirable creams.

According to a Kline market research report on From Crow's Feet to Calluses: At-home Beauty Devices Cover it All: "As the market becomes more mature, marketeers are now tasked with truly scouting out pockets of opportunity to expand their reach, whether it is through the second, third and even fourth generation devices featuring new product technology, more ergonomical designs, or trying to break through distribution channel barriers."

Clarisonic, for example, a cleansing device, is now into its third generation.

Other devices are created through mutual benefit ventures with their own brand or a complementary label to boost sales and you wonder if it's all a clever marketing ploy to make their products go further. For example, Panasonic recommends Shiseido cosmetic products for use with its devices.

Devices can cost anything from RM100 to thousands, and they promise to cleanse, exfoliate, un-blemish (really?), lift, shape or make your face look younger, and a whole lot of other claims besides. While the convenience of bringing home the beauty experience is attractive, you wonder if these devices really work.

According to physician Dr Jason Yip, "home care and devices usually have to be made mild and safe enough for home use without any side effects or complications. Generally, they work in a limited manner so its effectiveness and efficacy is compromised."

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