Real Talk: What's With Facial Rollers?

There's a sudden surplus of odd gizmos in FLARE's beauty cabinets. What's the deal?

From drinkable sunscreen to eco-friendly lube, our beauty editors see some interesting things. Lately, the mailmen have been carting in a surplus of weird, faintly erotic-looking gizmos: Facial rollers. Some look like silver rods with two balls on the ends, others look like electric razors without an actual blade—all come bearing press releases about how the little tools can solve our complexion woes. As more and more ice rollers, firming wands, and vibrating massagers pile up on our desks/hit stores, we ask; godsend or gimmick?

At-home ice rollers aren’t that different from the centuries-old skin icing spa technique, says Dr. Benjamin Barankin, medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre. “Skin icing tightens skin and shrinks enlarged pores by unclogging excess sebum and debris,” he explains. Like frozen peas on an injury, the low temps on your face can reduce swelling and inflammation. “The body responds to the cold treatment by sending an increased flow of warm blood to the area,” says Barankin. If you don’t have a self-cooling roller, popping a metal one in the fridge will do the trick too.

Similarly, the vibrating and massaging devices are inspired by the way aestheticians (gently) prod, pinch and pummel skin to boost drainage, circulation and absorption of serums and creams. “We know that to keep everything running smoothly, our lymphatic system rules the roost,” says Barankin. Though, he does note that the key to a proper facial massage is hitting the proper pressure points. To locate these, he suggests using your fingers to find spots where you can feel a heartbeat. When we reallllly focus, we can find a light pulse just below our cheekbones, but basically ended up rolling everywhere because it’s insanely relaxing.


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