Microdermabrasion. Over the last several years, it’s become one of the biggest “buzz words” in skincare. You can find it in the offices of dermatologists and plastic surgeons, in upscale salons and spas, and you can even find take-home versions at your local drugstore. But what does it really entail?
Microdermabrasion is the most-requested non-invasive (read: non-surgical) aesthetic procedure today. It’s an advanced exfoliation treatment that removes the outer layer of dead skin cells from areas like the face and neck, and has numerous benefits for the skin. There is relatively no downtime to the procedure; most clients experience some mild redness and sensitivity for up to 1-2 days post-procedure, but there is no discomfort or unsightly appearance to the skin if done properly.
Traditional microdermabrasion treatments are performed with a machine that uses a handpiece to spray medical-grade crystals (usually aluminum oxide) across the skin, polishing away dead skin cells, and then vacuums away the crystals and skin cells. The vacuum action increases the flow of blood to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that produce a healthy, youthful glow.
More recently, crystal-free systems have come onto the market that forego the crystal system and instead polish the skin by way of diamond particles enrusted onto a metal tip on the handpiece, but you still get the same vacuum action and healthy blood circulation.
Repeated microdermabrasion treatments can improve a number of skin conditions, including acne breakouts, acne scarring, excessive oiliness, dry/flaking skin, scarring from past conditions like chicken pox, discoloration from sun damage, brown hyperpigmentation (“age spots”), blackheads/whiteheads, and even certain stretch marks.
Many people hear the description and are hesitant, thinking it might be painful or, at the very least, uncomfortable. Anyone who regularly has the treatments done will tell you that this is not the case; in fact, most clients compare it to the feel of a cat’s rough tongue, or light sandpaper being brushed against your skin. Microdermabrasion machines have different vacuum settings, so the technician performing the service can adjust the suction to your comfort.
As mentioned before, you will likely experience some redness and mild sensitivity following a treatment. The redness is nothing that cannot be covered with makeup if need be, and most clients even prefer to leave the makeup off so that they can enjoy their “glow”! You will want to treat your skin as gently as possible for 3-4 days following the treatment. This means no exfoliating on your own with scrubs or washcloths, no at-home peels or acne products, and no prescription products like Retin-A or Differin Gel. You must keep sunscreen on at all times following a microdermabrasion, as the removal of the outermost layer of skin makes your skin much more susceptible to sunburn and damage.
There is virtually no client that microdermabrasion is not good for. Unlike certain chemical peels, it can be performed on all skin tones, including ethnic skins. There are also no allergies that would prevent you from having this treatment. You should, however, steer clear if you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, Rosacea, Eczema or Shingles, or if you have recently had a sunburn. You should wait at least 7 days after electrolysis, facial waxing, or injections like Juvederm or Botox. Finally, be aware that if you suffer from herpex simplex/cold sores, microdermabrasion is not recommended as it can trigger an outbreak.
If you’ve been thinking about trying microdermabrasion or if you think it sounds like the right thing for your skin, don’t hesitate to do it! It’s widely available, and many spas offer packages or specials that reduce the cost. Just make sure when you schedule that your technician has been trained and has the proper certification, and you’re almost sure to love the results!