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Pore vacuums are the next big Korean beauty trend—but do they work?


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Graphic: Abby Maker for Well+Good
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If a beauty product is big in Korea, it’s only a matter of time before we go gaga over it it here in the States. (For proof, look no further than the boom in sheet masks, double cleansing, and facial essences.) The latest K-beauty craze? Pore vacuums.

A pore vacuum is just what it sounds like: a suction device that promises to pull gunk out of your pores, much like how your typical vacuum clears dust and dirt from your rug. It gently exfoliates, helps repair scars and wrinkles, and evens out your complexion after only a few minutes of use. At least, that’s the big claim—and as someone who’s spent some time, ahem, poring over my reflection in a magnifying mirror, I had to find out if this gadget lived up to the hype.

A pore vacuum literally pulls gunk out of your pores, much like how your typical vacuum clears dust and dirt from your rug.

Before diving in, I checked with a dermatologist to see whether the beautifying claims had merit. Samer Jaber, MD, of Washington Square Dermatology admitted he had never heard of a pore vacuum. After reading through the product information, however, he told me, “It probably just removes the dead skin cells by sucking out the air.” Okay, doesn’t sound too terrifying.

But is the pore vacuum truly strong enough to clear all of the New York City filth from my face? There’s only one way to find out.

Here’s what happened to my complexion when I tried out the pore vacuum.

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i tried a pore vacuum for my skin
Photo: Stocksy/Do Juri Pozzi

First impressions

When the Silk’n ReVit At-Home Microderm ($99) arrives at my desk, I unzip the package to find a neatly arranged, slender white vacuum and its interchangeable attachments. It looks pretty sleek and futuristic—a bit like an oversized electric toothbrush, minus the bristles—and I’m relieved it doesn’t seem all that intimidating.

Standing in front of my bathroom mirror later that evening, with a freshly washed face ready for vacuuming, I realize the Silk’n Revit didn’t come with an instruction pamphlet. (Would this experiment be over before it even began?) Luckily, I soon find it’s pre-stocked with batteries and there’s only one button on the device. I press it and the vacuum starts vibrating—it’s go time.

First I try the vacuum on the back of my hand, since I have no idea how strong the suction is going to be. (Honestly, I’m worried it’ll distort and pull my skin so much I’ll look like a cartoon.) Thankfully, it isn’t so bad—I’d say the force is slightly weaker than a Roomba. I hold the machine up to my cheek and move it slowly up and down. The strokes leave red track marks on my cheek—is this normal? A quick Google search reveals it is, and that the discoloration won’t last long (phew—sabotaging my complexion is definitely not the goal here).

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pore vacuum
Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio

The verdict

Vacuuming your face is a weird sensation, to be sure, but with clear pores at the finish line, I power through with the treatment. After about five minutes, I’ve gone over my entire face three times. When I lean in closer to the mirror to examine my handiwork, I’m pretty sure my pores look smaller and my complexion is noticeably clearer (if cherry-hued).

The bad news? My skin’s about as dry as my mouth after a killer HIIT workout. I quickly slather on more oil than usual in an effort to quench the dehydration—fingers crossed my newly cleared skin will soak it right up.

The next morning, I check the status of my pores. The Silk’n ReVit was no miracle worker, but I see a subtle upgrade in the evenness of my complexion. My skin’s still on the dry side (that vacuum really pulled a lot out of me), so I make sure to sufficiently hydrate with my go-to serum (for the record, Marie Veronique Protective Day Oil). Other than that, I’d call this a success.

Will I be doing this on the reg? Well, considering how often I vacuum my apartment (hint: it’s a rare occasion), chances are my laziness will win out and I won’t keep it up. But when I’m feeling inspired to give my face a deep clean, I’ll be glad to have this vacuum in my supply closet—er, medicine cabinet.

But can you actually shrink your pores? Here’s the answer once and for all. And this is what happened when I tried an at-home microneedling device for a week.

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