Microdermabrasion is one of those cosmetic procedures that most people have heard of, but don’t really know much about. Even if your skin-obsessed friend swears by it, or you’ve seen it listed on spa menus, the procedure is still one of those best discussed with a dermatologist.
Allow us to clear up any misconceptions. Microdermabrasion is a procedure that exfoliates and removes the superficial layer of dry, dead skin cells. Microdermabrasion machines can buff and polish the skin using a stream of fine crystals or a diamond tip. Some systems have suction to vacuum loose skin cells from the face.
Doctors and Medical Estheticans believe that patients with fine lines, uneven pigmentation or clogged pores may benefit most from a series of microdermabrasion treatments. They also recommend it for melasma patients and individuals using retinoids such as Retin-A.
“Patients with melasma, a form of pigmentation caused by a combination of hormones, ultraviolet light and inflammation, risk aggravating the pigment with almost any type of irritation.
How often you should get a microdermabrasion facial depends on your skincare needs and finances. Most in-office procedures pack a bigger punch and treatments are often scheduled at 1-2 month intervals.
Microdermabrasion is not painful. “It may leave the skin slightly red for a few hours and possibly more sensitive. A calming moisturizer and sunscreen should be applied after treatment.
For anyone with dermatographism, or those who get red welts at the sites of scratches, you are likely to see hive-like lines or blotches post-microdermabrasion.
You shouldn’t expect the results of a deep chemical peel or fractionated resurfacing laser with microdermabrasion. “It is an excellent procedure to help maximize the benefit of a regular topical regimen, keep skin feeling smooth, help pigment look more even and speed clearance of whiteheads,” she says. “However, it will not help deep wrinkles, dark brown spots, redness or growths.”