Clear and smooth skin starts with your at-home skincare routine. But sometimes, you need a more powerful treatment to keep your complexion looking fresh and radiant.
That’s where microdermabrasion can help.
It’s one of the most popular in-office skin rejuvenation treatments for a reason.
In this guide, we’ll explore what microdermabrasion is, how it works, and who it’s for. Keep reading to learn if this non-invasive treatment is right for you.
What Is It?
Microdermabrasion is an exfoliation treatment that uses an abrasive tool to gently remove the dead skin cells and impurities from the skin’s surface. As a result, the dull top layer of the skin is removed to reveal brighter new skin underneath. The abrasive process also stimulates new collagen and elastin production to leave the skin looking rejuvenated.
Who Is Microdermabrasion For?
Unlike ablative laser treatments, microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin types and tones. It’s a good option for those looking to get a brighter and smoother complexion. Microdermabrasion can also be used for several specific skin concerns, including:
- Fine lines
- Congested skin (blackheads)
- Acne scars
- Uneven skin tone
- Sun-damaged skin
Depending on the severity of the skin concern you want to treat, your clinician may recommend microdermabrasion in combination with another type of treatment to achieve optimal results.
How Does It Work?
Before the microdermabrasion treatment begins, your clinician will cleanse your skin in preparation for the abrasive process. Then, a handheld device is used to spray tiny crystals on your skin. The crystals remove the very top layer of the skin, clearing away dead skin cells and impurities. Some clinics also use a diamond-tipped handpiece instead of a crystal device.
A vacuum suction device is then used to remove excess crystals from your face and stimulate the lymphatic system. The treatment is often completed with a mask or serum infusion tailored to target the skin concerns you want to treat. The entire procedure usually takes around 30-40 minutes to complete.
Your skin will look more radiant and healthier after a single session. But most people require several sessions to see a noticeable improvement in more stubborn skin concerns like acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
A 2006 clinical study found that microdermabrasion “significantly improved” fine lines and wrinkles after six treatment sessions.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment with minimal risk of side effects. However, it’s not unusual for your skin to appear slightly red and feel tender for the first few hours following a microdermabrasion session. Some people also experience a sensation similar to sunburn, but this only lasts for a couple of hours post-treatment.
You should take extra care of your skin for a few days following microdermabrasion. It’s a good idea to stop using retinoids, facial scrubs, or any harsh soaps to allow your skin time to recover.
If you are prone to cold sores, you should seek advice from your general practitioner before undergoing microdermabrasion. They may recommend a course of antiviral medication before and after the session to minimize the risk of a breakout.
How Often Can I Have Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is usually performed every two weeks initially, depending on your desired treatment goals. However, many people switch to monthly maintenance sessions after the first three treatments.
Because the skin naturally regenerates every 30 days, the results from microdermabrasion are temporary. You’ll need regular sessions to achieve optimal results. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends between 5 and 16 in-office treatment sessions to see a noticeable reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Does Microdermabrasion Hurt?
The thought of having a diamond-tipped or crystal-emitting device dragged across your skin isn’t very appealing to most people. But microdermabrasion involves very minimal discomfort.
You may experience a mild tugging sensation during the treatment, but this is not painful. Most people describe the treatment as quite relaxing, with the abrasive process like the rough lick of a cat’s tongue.
Who Should Not Get Microdermabrasion?
While the treatment is non-invasive and works on the top layer of skin, microdermabrasion is not recommended for everyone. If you have active sunburn, acne, or skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, you should wait until your skin has improved before undergoing microdermabrasion. It’s also not suitable for those with unstable diabetes or any undiagnosed lesions.
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