In 2016, over 550,000 microdermabrasion treatments were performed in America alone, making microdermabrasion one of the top non-surgical cosmetic procedures performed across the country. The technique is considered to be minimally invasive and works to rejuvenate skin by improving its texture and appearance. It falls under the same treatment category as botox and chemical peels, but has fewer side effects, and no down time.

What is microdermabrasion and how does it work?

The process of microdermabrasion involves shooting micro-crystals at your skin, causing dead skin cells to be released and new cell growth to be promoted. This process is achieved through the use of a small wand-shaped device – as sort of ‘vacuum cleaner for the skin’. The exact combination of powered crystals can vary depending on where you go, but often includes crystals of aluminum salts, sodium chloride, or sodium bicarbonate. Such crystals are said to have a sand-papering effect whereby the outer layers of skin are removed. The removal of the outer layers of the skin is said to trigger the production of new skin cells, renewing the surface layer for a radiant glow.

What is microdermabrasion used for?

Microdermabrasion is used to refresh the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is not a harsh treatment, and results are subtle. Some people also use microdermabrasion to reduce the appearance of stretch marks or brown spots. It is not suitable for use on deeper wrinkles, scarring, deep hyper-pigmentation issues, or broken veins.

What should you expect during treatment?

  • An initial consultation where you will discuss your concerns, your medical history, and your expectations of treatment
  • An anti-viral drug may be prescribed if you have a history of cold sores
  • Skin is cleaned and protective goggles will be provided for your eyes
  • A microdermabrasion machine will be passed over the skin in smooth, stroking motions
  • Crystals are rubbed on the face and then ‘vacuumed away’
  • The entire process usually takes 10-30 minutes. Stretch mark treatment can take upwards of 2 hours

How often do you need to get microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion can be repeated once a week. For maximum results, a series of five to ten weekly sessions is recommended. Regular maintenance treatments can be scheduled thereafter, approximately 3-4 months apart.

Does it hurt?

Microdermabrasion is not thought to be a painful treatment.

Are there any side effects or risks to treatment?

You may experience some tightness or redness of the skin following treatment, but this should last no longer than 1-2 hours. In rare circumstances, redness may persist for a day or two and eyes can become swollen. Deeper treatments like those used to treat stretch marks may take a longer time to heal (3-4 days) and could produce some bleeding. On very rare occasions microdermabrasion can cause mild pigment changes, but these should fade within a month.

Is microdermabrasion suitable for everyone?

Microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin types. But it should not be used by those with active skin infections, those with a history of scarring, or those who have taken isotretinoin in the last year (to treat acne). Microdermabrasion is not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Where can I get microdermabrasion?

Lighter forms of microdermabrasion can be performed in a salon or spa by a trained beautician. Deeper forms must be performed by qualified doctors or nurses.

Does microdermabrasion work?

Microdermabrasion helps to rejuvenate the look of skin, but is not a permanent solution for specific skin problems. If you are hoping for skin that feels light and refreshed, microdermabrasion is a great treatment option. It improves your skin overall. But it’s not a cure for specific skin problems such as acne or deep fine lines and wrinkles.


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