Microdermabrasion is a mechanical technique used to rejuvenate skin.
Doctors first began using true dermabrasion (as opposed to microdermabrasion) in about 1950 to help people with facial scarring, particularly from acne. This treatment technique was very aggressive and required three to four weeks of downtime. In the 1990s, the technique was modified to make it much more gentle. It is now used for minor skin resurfacing.
The major benefit is in general skin texture. Your skin will feel very smooth after a treatment.
Many claims are made about the benefits of microdermabrasion that are highly suspect. The treatment only goes deep enough to affect the outer dead cell layer (stratum corneum). This results in smooth glowing skin. But the stratum corneum is replaced in about 4 weeks, and the benefits of microdermabrasion are lost. It will not improve acne scars. It will not remove pigment. It will not reduce fine lines. Microdermabrasion just doesn't go deep enough to improve these issues.
This is not to say that microdermabrasion is useless. It does make your skin feel smooth and look more transparent and glowing. It cleans out pores very effectively. We do lots of it, because people love it. Unfortunately, the effects last only a few weeks, and treatments need to be repeated frequently.
Microdermabrasion involves shooting fine crystals over the skin at high velocity and immediately vacuuming the crystals away. As the crystals hit the skin, they cause exfoliation of dead skin cells and other debris. There is stimulation of blood flow, which will improve skin health. The flow of crystals and the degree of suction can be adjusted to vary the intensity of the treatment.
Any skin can be treated, but the most common areas that are treated are the face, neck, chest, and hands.
Almost everyone from 20 to 80 could benefit from microdermabrasion. However, advanced age, smoking, and excessive sun exposure can leave skin severely damaged, and microdermabrasion is not very effective in these cases. Microdermabrasion should be thought of as partially restorative (returning skin to better health) but mostly a maintenance technique.
After cleansing the skin, the microdermabrader is turned on. The crystal applicator is applied to the skin and passed over it in short strokes. Two to three passes are made over the entire face, with the direction of the passes altered slightly to avoid streaking.
Treating the entire face takes 20-30 minutes.
When done properly, microdermabrasion is painless. People describe it as feeling like a cat licking their skin. If the treatment is intended to be very aggressive (rarely the case), cooling and topical anesthetics can be used to reduce or eliminate discomfort.
The beneficial effects of microdermabrasion can be seen immeditely following the first treatment.
Microdermabrasion does not provide permanent improvement, and maintenance treatments are suggested at monthly intervals.
There are virtually no side effects to microdermabrasion.
If the procedure is overly aggressive, there may be skin breakage and bleeding.
Consequently, there is a chance of skin infection.
Rarely, overly aggressive treatment can actually induce pigmentation.
The crystals that are used in microdermabrasion are discarded. They are never recycled, so there is no chance of disease transmission from patient to patient.
The crystals can cause eye irritation, but the system we use is so efficient at removing the crystals from the skin that this risk is very low. You should remove contact lenses before treatment, and we will apply wet eye pads.
Microdermabrasion can trigger cold sores. It can cause the spread of preexisting warts and molluscum contageosum.
There are several treatment options that can improve your skin, depending on the nature of the problem, including photorejuvenation (IPL), peels of varying strengths, laser skin resurfacing, and surgical facelifts. You should also stop smoking, start using cosmeceuticals regularly, and wear sunscreen!
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