You may have heard about the benefits of microdermabrasion. It helps treat wrinkles and fine lines, acne scars, age spots, large pores, dry skin, and can also be used on the body for scars and stretch marks. It is essentially a process that polishes the skin with tiny crystals. You can do a microdermabrasion treatment at home, or you can visit a salon for a series of professional treatments. It is not a very invasive procedure and requires no recovery time. It should not be confused with regular dermabrasion, a much stronger process that is only done by professionals.
Although you are likely to see noticeably smoother skin after just one session, you will see better results after a few months of weekly or bi weekly use. The more serious damage you are treating, the longer it will take to see significant improvement. If you are dealing with acne scarring it will take much longer than if you are just trying to alleviate dry skin.
This form of exfoliation is manual or mechanical abrasion. Like all abrasion, you are doing controlled damage to the skin to stimulate your skin’s own healing processes. The damage is minor and heals easily, but your skin’s reaction is to begin rejuvenating faster than it was before. Microdermabrasion, done over time, will cause your skin to produce more collagen. This is how you are able to receive substantial benefits for wrinkling and scarring. Collagen production is a slow process, which is why it takes so long to see results for serious skin issues.
Another benefit you’ll receive from a microdermabrasion treatment is that it will actually make other skin care products work better. Because you are removing the dead skin and even the first layer of live skin, your other skin treatments are able to penetrate better and get deeper into the skin. You’ll get the best results by combining exfoliation such as microdermabrasion with a skin product designed to renew the skin, such as a Vitamin C cream.
Microdermabrasion Scrubs, Cloths, and Kits
A microdermabrasion treatment can come if several different forms. Professional treatments are the strongest option available and are done in office by skin care professionals. These are usually done every two weeks for a course of 10-12 sessions depending on your skin’s needs.
You can mimic this process at home by using one of the many home microdermabrasion treatments available. You can purchase a kit or machine similar to the ones used by professionals. These are typically the strongest choices available for home use. There are many models to choose from and are priced between $30 and $500 or more.
A microdermabrasion scrub is a cream or gel that contains microdermabrasion crystals, typically corundum, aluminum oxide, or silica crystals. You use this scrub as a body or facial polish, massaging gently in upward circular motions and rinsing clean. This usually isn’t as strong or as expensive as a kit and can be a good way to see if microdermabrasion is for you.
Another popular option is a microdermabrasion cloth. This is a polishing washcloth of a specially designed fabric that abrades the skin. This is a great way to exfoliate deeply without the expense of a home kit or mess of a scrub.
No matter which method you choose, if you are doing the microdermabrasion treatment at home, don’t use excessive pressure or use the treatment too often. Follow the instructions of the product concerning the polishing motion used. Moving a rotating head in the wrong direction can remove too much skin. In general, use microdermabrasion once or perhaps twice a week. Sometimes you can use a milder product every other day, especially if you are using it on your body to treat stretch marks or scars. Full results for acne scars or wrinkles will take several months of consistent use. There is no way to speed up this process, so don’t set yourself back by unnecessarily irritating your skin.
Diamond vs Crystals
Mircodermabrasion machines and kits typically use a rotating head with a crystals (often a separate cream) or a diamond headed wand. Most home kits use the crystals, and most professional machines use the diamond wand, which is stronger. You can now purchase a diamond machine for use at home, though they are significantly more expensive than the crystal systems.
Diamond wands are the best choice because they best replicate the strength of an in office procedure and can be used around the eyes and mouth. Crystal systems can be problematic when used on these areas because the abrasive crystals can get into the eyes or mouth. There is also some concern about inhaling the crystals as well.
Just because a diamond microdermabrasion treatment machine is the best option, don’t discount the crystal kits. You can still receive substantial benefits from continued use of these systems, and they are affordable.
You can do some things after your microdermabrasion treatment to improve your results and reduce irritation. If you are getting a professional treatment, follow the directions of your skin care professional.
If you are using a home method, you’ll need to come up with your own regimen for aftercare. You will want to wash your face to remove excess dead skin and any remaining crystals. Use a gentle face wash and blot dry. Once your skin is dry and cleaned, apply a moisturizer. Be careful not to use one with strong actives than can peel or irritate the skin, such as some retinoids and strong Vitamin C products (high percentages), or anything that contains acids, such as glycolic acid creams. Gentle rejuvenating creams containing low levels of Vitamin C or copper peptides are good choices as these stimulate healing. Botanical moisturizers can soothe irritation.
It is best to avoid wearing make up for 2 or 3 days after a strong microdermabrasion treatment. You should also avoid chemical exfoliation for 3 days or more. This may not be necessary with a moderate or mild product.
You’ll also need to wear sunscreen for a week following the treatment to avoid sunburn. Heavy exfoliation can expose fresh skin, which burns easier than normal.
A microdermabrasion treatment has fewer side effects than more invasive procedures like dermabrasion or chemical peels. You should experience some redness, which can take several hours to fade. In the days afterwards, you may experience dryness and flaking, which is normal.
Like with most other forms of exfoliation, it is best to work your way up to stronger products, or using it multiple times a week. You’ll experience less irritation if you go slowly.
Other skin care products will become more effective when combined with exfoliation such as a microdermabrasion treatment. This is a great way to reduce wrinkles and acne scars. Be sure to use a rejuvenating product to speed healing.