Your skin is exposed to environmental elements every day. Over the years, the sun's rays, pollution, and other damaging agents can take a toll on your skin. Microdermabrasion treatment can help reduce or eliminate the wrinkles and fine lines, "crow's feet," age spots, light acne scars, and undesired pigmentation that may appear on the skin over time.
What Is Microdermabrasion ?
Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that uses a spray of microcrystals to remove the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells and reveal younger, healthier-looking skin. Microdermabrasion also encourages the production of a new underlying layer of skin cells with higher levels of collagen and elastin, which further improves your skin’s appearance. Microdermabrasion is much gentler than dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is a more intensive procedure used to treat deeper facial lines, extreme sun damage, and scars.
Patients with fine facial lines or wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, uneven pigmentation, clogged pores, skin texture problems, or minor scars are good candidates for microdermabrasion. Patients with rosacea or acne may also benefit from microdermabrasion treatments. The gentle spray of microcrystals can eliminate or improve skin imperfections and conditions by removing the upper layer of dead and damaged skin cells to reveal new, fresh skin.
Ideal Microdermabrasion Candidates
The ideal candidates for microdermabrasion are healthy adults who have relatively minor skin conditions or imperfections and realistic expectations about what microdermabrasion can and cannot do. Because microdermabrasion is a mild, non-invasive procedure that cannot remedy sagging skin or correct deep facial creases or folds, such issues must be addressed with procedures such as face lift, laser skin tightening, and Thermage®.
Microdermabrasion for Acne
Microdermabrasion can be used to treat acne and the scars that acne causes. Microdermabrasion treatments can eliminate or greatly reduce the appearance of lighter scarring. However, for deep acne scars (known as "pock marks" or "ice-pick acne scars") microdermabrasion may not be able to provide desired results. Deeper scars can usually be effectively treated with dermabrasion or an acne chemical peel. Patients with active acne may also benefit from microdermabrasion treatments, which exfoliate the skin and clear clogged pores of oil and dirt. Because the polishing action of the crystal and the removal of skin cells can aggravate acne, however, a consultation with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon is advised to help determine whether a patient's acne or acne scars can be effectively treated with microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion for Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of facial skin characterized by redness, prominent blood vessels, swelling, and/or skin eruptions that look similar to acne. Microdermabrasion can be used to decrease the redness associated with rosacea. However, if you have been diagnosed with rosacea and are considering microdermabrasion, you should consult a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon prior to treatment because microdermabrasion can negatively affect active rosacea.
Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is not recommended for people who have deep scars, active keloids, undiagnosed lesions, a recent herpes outbreak, warts on the face, active acne (stages 3 and 4), an auto-immune system disorder, or unstable diabetes. Pregnant women should not undergo microdermabrasion. Candidates who have had a recent chemical peel or other skin procedure such as collagen injections should wait a two to three weeks before undergoing microdermabrasion. Prospective patients should also refrain from waxing or tanning the skin to be treated for a few weeks before microdermabrasion treatment. Individuals with deep scars, facial creases, or other moderate-to-severe skin defects should consider a stronger treatment such as a chemical peel, dermabrasion, or laser skin resurfacing.
Cost of Microdermabrasion
The cost of microdermabrasion depends on factors such as the amount of microdermabrasion a patient needs, the number of treatments, the fees of the treating physician, and the geographic region where the treatment is administered. The cost of microdermabrasion is less expensive than that of some other cosmetic options for facial rejuvenation, particularly surgical procedures such as a face lift.
Risks and Benefits of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is a safe, non-surgical, "lunch hour" procedure that provides many benefits. Microdermabrasion reduces or eliminates fine facial lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging; it improves the appearance of acne scars and other light scarring; and it gives skin of all colors and types a fresh, healthy-looking glow. It does all this with virtually no side effects. And because microdermabrasion uses non-allergenic crystals to treat the skin, it is an excellent treatment for skin that is sensitive to chemicals. Microdermabrasion does not present any serious risks when it is performed by a qualified provider. Some people may experience slight skin irritation after microdermabrasion. Since everyone's skin and health history differ to some degree, the risks and benefits of microdermabrasion must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Microdermabrasion Procedure
During a microdermabrasion treatment, the clinician directs a stream of tiny ("micro") aluminum oxide crystals through a hand piece that is placed against the skin. These dermabrasion crystals exfoliate the skin, and the mild suction created by the microdermabrasion system removes the skin debris and crystals.
Microdermabrasion helps produce thicker, healthier skin layers; multiple treatments are vital because they encourage the production of a new layer of skin cells that contains higher levels of collagen and elastin. Both of these components are essential for vibrant, healthy skin, and they will further improve your complexion and the overall appearance of your skin. Approximately five to twelve treatments spaced two to three weeks apart are usually necessary to reap full microdermabrasion benefits. Convenient and virtually painless, the microdermabrasion procedure takes only 30 to 60 minutes and is commonly referred to as the “lunch hour facial.”
Is the Microdermabrasion Procedure Painful?
The microdermabrasion procedure exfoliates dead cells from the skin’s surface. While it is not painful, the treatment can cause a slight warming sensation as the abrasive microdermabrasion crystals gently slough away old and damaged layers of skin. Some patients have likened the experience to having a facial massage. After a microdermabrasion treatment, the newly revealed layer of skin is usually more sensitive and requires extra protection from the sun. You should not feel uncomfortable, but you should be particularly careful about wearing sunscreens. Applying moisturizing creams to hydrate and calm the skin can also prevent any potential irritation. A good aesthetician, registered nurse, or dermatologist will be able to suggest a facial cream or lotion that is best suited for your skin type.
Microdermabrasion Recovery and Results
Microdermabrasion is often called a "lunch hour" treatment because it's a quick procedure that can be performed at a doctor's office during your lunch hour with little or no discomfort. The treated skin may be pink after the treatment, but this will usually fade within a few hours. You can apply makeup soon after undergoing microdermabrasion to conceal any visible signs of the treatment. Microdermabrasion recovery and results are among the most favorable of all the noninvasive facial treatments available today.
Before undergoing any cosmetic dermatology procedure, it is important to learn as much as possible about all aspects of your treatment. By staying informed, patients are able to make better decisions about their skin care and avoid undergoing procedures that might not be beneficial. Patients interested in microdermabrasion usually have specific questions or concerns about the system. Below, we have provided answers to some of the most common microdermabrasion FAQs asked by patients.
What is the average cost of microdermabrasion treatment?
The price of microdermabrasion treatments depends upon several factors, including the experience and qualifications of the person performing the procedure and the location of the spa or clinic. On average, microdermabrasion cost ranges from $75 and $200.
Who are the best candidates for microdermabrasion?
Although microdermabrasion is a very safe procedure, it is not the best option for everyone. Certain skin types and conditions can be negatively affected by the treatment. For some patients, microdermabrasion can even result in significant scarring. Patients with severe rosacea, active acne, eczema, or dermatitis are not good candidates for microdermabrasion. For patients who cannot undergo microdermabrasion, non-ablative facial treatments such as Thermage®, photofacials, and Portrait® Plasma Skin Regeneration can provide excellent results without damaging the skin.
How long will a microdermabrasion treatment session last?
A microdermabrasion treatment typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. Patients should see improvements in their complexion after a single treatment, but lasting results are only achieved through a series of sessions performed over the course of several weeks.
Is microdermabrasion painful?
No. Because the procedure uses tiny aluminum oxide crystals to gently exfoliate the skin, microdermabrasion should not be painful or leave the patient with any lingering discomfort. However, microdermabrasion does cause a mild warming or tingling sensation that most patients describe in positive terms.
What type of results can I expect following treatment?
The results of microdermabrasion can be seen almost immediately. Just one microdermabrasion session can improve the skin's color, tone, and health. After treatment, the face should have a fresh appearance and a smooth, soft texture. However, the microdermabrasion system is most effective when a patient receives multiple treatments at intervals of two to three weeks.
Is microdermabrasion safe?
Yes. One of the important benefits of microdermabrasion is its safety. It is a non-invasive procedure with minimal risks. When performed by an experienced aesthetician or dermatologist, microdermabrasion can significantly enhance the complexion without affecting the deeper layers of the skin.
Should microdermabrasion only be performed by a physician?
Not necessarily. Microdermabrasion can be safely performed by a trained aesthetician or registered nurse as well as by a cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon. However, a physician is more likely to diagnose and care for any skin problems that could be negatively affected by microdermabrasion.
Will microdermabrasion eliminate acne scars?
Microdermabrasion can improve minor acne scars, but it is not intended to completely eliminate deeper scars or keloids caused by severe acne. Treatment is available to improve these types of scarring, and one of the best methods is the acne chemical peel.
What are the side effects associated with microdermabrasion?
Normal side effects associated with microdermabrasion are increased skin sensitivity and risk of sunburn. However, these side effects are usually mild and brief. Microdermabrasion risks are minimal, but problems such as infection can occur if the treatment is not properly performed.
Are microdermabrasion at-home systems effective?
With the recent increase in popularity of microdermabrasion, numerous home systems have become available to consumers. These kits can be purchased at drug stores or pharmacies, and range in price from $10 to $300. Some include a small mechanical or battery-operated applicator, while others simply consist of a jar of product to be applied by hand.
Because it is a relatively mild treatment, these microdermabrasion home systems are safe for use and can provide noticeable improvements in the skin's health and appearance. However, it is important that consumers know that at-home results may not be as remarkable as when the treatment is performed by a qualified physician or aesthetician using a professional microdermabrasion system. Furthermore, consumers should be aware that too much dermabrasion can damage the skin, and should closely follow all package directions.
Can I return to work after a microdermabrasion session?
Yes. Microdermabrasion is often referred to as the "lunch hour facial" because the procedure is so brief and the side effects are hardly noticeable. After a microdermabrasion treatment, your skin should look and feel refreshed, and be only slightly flushed.
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