What is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion, also known as microderm, is one of the easiest and most effective anti-aging treatments you can get.
Its benefits are many: microderm softens fine lines and wrinkles, helps to smooth coarsely textured skin, decreases the appearance of scarring, decreases pore size, and reduces superficial hyper-pigmentation, also known as age spots.
The benefits of microdermabrasion facial treatments include lessening many of the signs of skin aging such as:
- Dull skin
- Enlarged or clogged pores
- Rough skin texture
- Help build collagen.
The Changing Technology of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is essentially powerful mechanical exfoliation with an expensive machine, generally either the original crystal microdermabrasion technology or the newer diamond-tip microdermabrasion.
Both work by removing the uppermost layer of dead skin cells from the face, chest and hands. True microdermabrasion is usually done in a day spa, medical spa or specialized skin care studio. It gives results you can't achieve with a home microdermabrasion kit, which is basically a scrub for the face that is often too abrasive and can even irritate skin.
The original microdermabrasion technology, which has been around since the '80s, is called crystal microdermabrasion. It uses a wand to both spray and vacuum up aluminum oxide crystals, also known as corundum, the second hardest mineral after diamonds. Crystal microdermabrasion might also appear on a spa menu as particle resurfacing, power peel, dermapeel or Parisian peel. Other types of crystals that are used in some machines, including salt and baking soda, but they are not very common.
Growing in popularity is the newer diamond-tip microdermabrasion. It achieves the same results but with less discomfort and without the crystal residue at the end of the treatment.
The latest technology to hit the market is the HydraFacial, which uses water to exfoliate and extract while infusing the skin with serums but this procedure is not always the best to follow, specially with oily skin.
The Benefits of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, is not as effective on deep wrinkles and scars, because it only removes a very fine layer skin. But the gentle peeling can help remove fine lines, superficial scars, stretch marks, age and sunspots and it can also help with acne. Basically, microderm abrasion improves the overall complexion but also removes some mild imperfections. Aside from this superficial debridement, it produces mild inflammation.
A big pro of microdermabrasion is that, unlike dermabrasion and other procedures (laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, etc), it can be used on the neck. The skin on the neck area is very sensitive and has an increased risk of scarring which is why it needs a gentle procedure (and microderma fits the bill).
They’re one of those instant-gratification treatments that stay with you.
Microdermabrasion facials clearly improves the texture and feel of your skin. Even therapeutic treatments should be enjoyable. The result is skin that instantly feels and looks buffed to a bright and luminous glow. Your products and makeup go on smoothly and your skin looks great..
Microdermabrasion, is a 'lunchtime peel', because it has virtually no downtime. Some minor redness aside, you can go back to work on the same day.
Microdermabrasion can achieve dramatic results, but it is highly dependent on the skill of the aesthetic practitioner.
For the best results, it is generally recommended get a series of treatments. Your aesthetic practitioner should be able to recommend the number that is appropriate for your skin type and condition.
A typical protocol is six treatments but you'll need 10 sessions on average to achieve notable results. So we could say; a full microderm abrasion treatment, has 6 to 12 sessions, scheduled About 10 to 14 days apart (but it also needs a maintenance session every 2-3 months).
Adding a microdermabrasion treatment to a calming facial increases results and makes your treatment an extended sensual pleasure as well.
Pre-treating your skin with microdermabrasion allows us to more easily complete your extractions. The finishing facial and mask then calm and soothe the skin. You can’t help but leave feeling great with all the massage, pampering, and professional skincare products soaking into the deeper layers of your skin.
Combining a facial with a microdermabrasion treatment gives you a delightful and therapeutic 80-minute treatment! A microdermabrasion facial every 4 to 6 weeks is ideal to keep your skin performing optimally 24/7/365!
Because the machine can be adjusted depending on skin type and condition, even people with sensitive skin can get a treatment from a skilled aesthetic practitioner. Doctors with medical spas can own more powerful machines, but more is not always better with microderm.
The crystal microdermabrasion device consists of a compressor that draws in air through a hand-held wand. When the wand touches the skin, a vacuum is created. Aluminum oxide crystals, also known as corundum (the second-hardest mineral next to diamonds) blast across the skin’s surface, picking up dead surface skin cells along the way. The crystals and dead skin cells are quickly sucked up through a different tube in the same wand and go to a disposal bag.
The depth of exfoliation is controlled by the strength of the vacuum and crystal flow, which is determined by aesthetic practitioner. He or she makes two passes over your skin, sometimes a third if your skin is thick enough or if there is an area that needs special attention, like a scar or brown spot.
Crystal microdermabrasion can be uncomfortable, especially around the sensitive tissue of the mouth and nose, but it should not be painful. The aesthetic practitioner should be checking in with you about your comfort level during the treatment. If anything hurts, speak up.
The aesthetic practitioner, who should be wearing gloves, a mask and eye protection, also leaves traces of the crystal on your face, which might be red afterwards. Your eyes should also be protected.
Diamond-tip microdermabrasion uses the same vacuum technology and hand-held wand, but there aren't any crystals moving through the tip. The diamond tip itself exfoliates the skin and the vacuum whisks the dead skin away. There are many different tips with various grades of roughness, and the aesthetic practitioner choose the correct one for your skin type and condition.
Diamond-tip microdermabrasion is much less uncomfortable, but achieves the same results. It is also usually better for sensitive skin.
Microdermabrasion treatments exfoliate the top layer of your skin, removing unwanted dead cells and debris. The best results come from using a powerful, specialized, medical office-strength microdermabrasion machine.
The back and forth motion of the professional grade microdermabrasion tip removes dry, dead skin cells, lifting them off the stratum corneous. Clogged pore plugs are lifted from the pore openings as well.
This dull and lusterless material is then vacuumed off of your skin, leaving you with a fresh, clean, bright and new complexion!
Microdermabrasion treatments also involve a powerful skin vacuuming and suctioning process which increases micro-circulation in the skin. With regular treatments, the simultaneous motions of micro-abrasion and micro-circulatory stimulation can aid in rebuilding collagen in the skin
Cautions on Microdermabrasion
*Check on the training of the person who is going to give you the microdermabrasion treatment. Results depend on their expertise. Bad technique can lead to abrasions and pin-point bleeding that means the treatment was too aggressively.
*Do not get microdermabrasion if you have extremely sensitive skin, diabetes, vascular conditions like rosacea, skin inflammation, bacterial infections, lack of tactile sensation, keloid scarring, cuts and abrasions, or have gotten Botox within 72 hours. Other contraindications to microdermabrasion include sunburn, viral infections like herpes simplex, and acne. If you are taking anti-coagulant drugs. Patients who have an active skin disease such as acne should not receive treatment to the affected skin with this procedure. Microdermabrasion has few side effects, but it is prudent to avoid treating patients who are taking isotretinoin.
*Apply sunscreen and stay out of the sun after your treatment. Along with the dead skin cells, you have removed some of your protection.
It is important to realize that you have taken off the outermost layer of the skin, which is also its protection, so this is not the time to go to the beach. Be careful with your skin a few days after the microdermabrasion treatment: don't do vigorous exercise and don't expose your skin to the sun. Wear a gentle physical sunscreen, even if it’s a cloudy day.
Don't expect to get the same results with a home microdermabrasion kit, which works more like a scrub. In fact, you can easily overdo it and irritate your skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Microderm Help Even Out Facial Scars?
A: Microdermabrasion pulverizes away the dead skin layer (the outermost layer) in order to even out skin texture and improve superficial facial scars. More severe facial scarring requires more invasive non-surgical techniques, like deep chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing.
Q: Can I Use Microderm Abrasion After Glycolic Acid Peels?
A: You should not have microdermabrasion if you've had glycolic acid peeling (or any other kind of chemical peel) in the last 14 days because the two exfoliating procedures combined are too aggressive and might affect your skin's ability to recover. This applies to OTC kit and office treatment.
Q: How Frequently To Use Microderm For Biggest Improvement?
A: At-home micro abrasion should be used according to the instructions that come with the product (some are made for every-other day use, others can be applied only once a week). Dermatologist-performed micro derma abrasion is a whole different thing: the sessions need to be scheduled at least 1-2 weeks apart, so that the skin has enough time to heal. After you finish your treatment, you will need a maintenance session once every 2-3 months.
Q: Does Microabrasion Help Restore Pore Size?
A: Microderm products stimulate collagen growth which is why it's effective on enlarged pores. Collagen production is stimulated through skin exfoliation. Furthermore, the vacuum function of most micro dermabrasion machines sucks out hardened oil, dust and other dirt which may clog your pores. This way, the oil in the glands can again reach the surface of your skin and your pores can return to their natural shape and size.
Q: Does Micro Abrasion Help Cure Hyper pigmentation?
A: Microderm abrasion kit works on hyperpigmentation. The micro-crystal flow abrades the top layer of the skin where unevenly pigmented skin cells are stuck. Several specialist microdermabrasion sessions are required to even out skin tone and get rid of hyperpigmentation.
Q: Micro Abrasion Is It Recommended For Getting Smoother-Looking Skin?
A: Smoother-looking skin needs elasticity and density, both achievable through skin cell renewal. Microdermabrasion product abrades the outermost skin layer and stimulates skin renewal. An effective skin renewal process results in increased elasticity and density. Moreover, the vacuum function of the micro skin abrasion tool sucks up dirt and hardened oil to reveal an even skin texture and tone.
Q: How Do You Use Microderm Abrasion On Your Face?
A: The face is the most common treated area. If you choose beauty salon microderm. the specialist who performs it will adjust the settings of the machine for face microderm abrasion. If you decide to do the procedure on your own, be sure to search for a specially designed facial microderm system.
Q: Is Personal Microbrasion As Good As Professional?
A: Both personal and professional micro derma abrasion work on the same principle and have the same reported results: reduction of fine lines, superficial scars, age spots and acne scars. But personal micro dermabrasion procedures cannot offer the same effectiveness you get from professional microderm treatment on more severe skin imperfections.
Q: Does Microderm Help For Young Women?
A: Micro abrasion is safe for young women (and men) of all skin types but most doctors recommend it for girls aged 14 and older, mainly because they want to make sure that all major hormonal changes are over and the results of the procedure are as good as they can be.
Alkhawam, L., and M. Alam. "Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion." Facial Plastic Surgery 25 (2009): 301-310.