What Is Microdermabrasion And How Can It Be Done At Home
By Linda Olsen
Microdermabrasion is a form of mechanical skin exfoliation – it works by using a hand held wand that is tipped with crystals or diamond chips to create a sandblasting effect on the skin. This takes off the top layer (Stratum Corneum) of the skin and its dead skin cells. This is interpreted by the body as a micro-injury, stimulating new skin cell growth. Healthier looking skin cells underneath are thereby revealed.
Microdermabrasion provides a much deeper exfoliation than a regular facial, home exfoliation and is in fact much more stimulating than many chemical peels. Microdermabrasion can be considered a combination of exfoliation and stimulation of blood circulation, which results in a rapid rejuvenation of the skin. You can either opt for microdermabrasion done for you in a spa/ dermatologist office, or you can purchase a home microdermabrasion machine and perform microdermabrasion on yourself.
When Can I Expect To See Results?
Results can usually be seen within one session of microdermabrasion – the skin becomes softer, smoother, and is also accompanied by an increased radiance and glow. However, to see significant results on a variety of skin problems, including dull skin, clogged pores, acne and aging skin, a number of sessions are usually required.
Who Can Benefit From Microdermabrasion?
Microdermbrasion is suitable for almost all skin types except for very fine skin with a lot of visible broken red veins.
Another benefit of microdermabrasion is that it serves as an excellent pre-treatment procedure for other treatments like skin peels, allowing those treatments to penetrate deeper into the skin and thus enhancing their results.
What Can I Expect The First Time I Do Microdermabrasion?
Expect to feel a suction force applied on your skin, like a tiny vacuum cleaner on your skin if you can imagine that, and a scratchy feeling as the crystals or diamond chip abrade your skin. You do not have to worry about any pain or serious discomfort. In fact, most people find the process and sensation rather therapeutic
After the session, you can expect to see a mild to moderate redness (similar to the flushed look one gets after exercising in warm weather) of the skin that will go away in a matter of minutes to hours, depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Skin Care After Microdermabrasion
The most important after-care you can do would be to apply sunscreen on your skin if you expect to be exposed to the sun. This is to protect the tender new skin cells that are revealed after the treatment.
How Often Do I Need To Do Microdermabrasion?
Depending on your skin type and your objectives, treatment can be done every couple of weeks, or every week. For example, if you intend to fade blemishes that are relatively deep, you might need to do it at a higher frequency of once per week. Conversely, if you have relatively healthy skin and only want to enhance the appearance of your complexion, you could undergo microdermabrasion as a monthly maintenance.
Microdermabrasion at Home
It used to be the case that you can only receive microdermabrasion treatment at a dermatologist’s office or at a professional spa. These days, there are a variety of home microdermabrasion kits that you can purchase and use at home, making microdermabrasion potentially very affordable and convenient. We examine the main types home microdermabrasion kits below:
Diamond Microdermabrasion Systems
These are machines where the dermabrasion wand comprises of a tip that is etched with diamond chips. The advantage with diamond based systems is that dermabrasion strength is the highest, and that they generally do not require the replacement of tips or refills of crystals. The main disadvantage is that they involve higher upfront costs, may have a steeper learning curve, and can be less portable (though certainly still much more portable compared to full-fledged professional machines)
Crystal Microdermabrasion Systems
Instead of using diamond tips, these kits use crystals such as aluminium oxide to exfoliate the skin. Generally these are found in handheld devices such as the PMD Personal Microderm. The advantage with these systems is that they can involve lower upfront costs, and are also extremely portable (they can be easily carried around in a handbag). However, their disadvantage is that once the crystals have been expended, you have to purchase refills and hence there is an ongoing maintenance cost. Moreover, the strength of dermabrasion you receive with these kits is generally significantly lower than that of diamond machines.
Mini Microdermabrasion Kits
The last category of microdermabrasion kits are the mini microdermabrasion kits like the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System that uses what it calls rejuvenating puffs, which are essentially a paper or cardboard surface with exfoliating crystals stuck on them. The obvious advantage with these devices are that they are extremely cheap – the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System costs less than $20, and the refills are also very inexpensive. The disadvantage with these is that the dermabrasion power is very limited. Think of them as very strong exfoliating scrubs. That said, because of their lower abrasiveness, they can be used more frequently as a general skin maintenance regime.