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What is Microdermabrasion?

A microdermabrasion treatment gently removes the top layer of dead and damaged skin cells and vacuums them away.

It’s a well-tolerated skin rejuvenation procedure that can help even out pigment and discoloration, tackle sun damage, brighten dull skin, and diminish the appearance of mild acne, fine lines, and age spots.

The result is brighter, more even-toned skin that has a smoother texture. It also improves the performance of your skin-care regimen by allowing products to penetrate the skin more easily.

It’s typically performed by a licensed aesthetician at a spa, but you can also find the procedure at many dermatologists’ offices. It can also be administered by medical assistants and nurses.

How does Microdermabrasion work?

Before your aesthetician or provider begins the microdermabrasion session, they’ll cleanse and steam your face, to soften skin and open up the pores. Then, working counterclockwise, they’ll begin the exfoliating process.

There are two methods: crystal microdermabrasion and diamond microdermabrasion. Both range from 20 minutes (for the quickest facial) to an hour (if the treatment includes your face, neck, and chest). 

  • With crystal microdermabrasion, fine crystals, typically made of aluminum oxide, are sprayed over the skin. Because the system is on a closed loop, the crystals and dead skin cells are simultaneously vacuumed into a receptacle in the microdermabrasion device and discarded. To protect your eyes, you’ll need to remove your contact lenses and wear goggles.
  • Diamond microdermabrasion uses a wand with a diamond-encrusted tip to exfoliate and resurface the skin with each pass. As with crystal microdermabrasion, the particles are vacuumed away with the same wand, but it’s safer for your eyes.

Who's a good candidate for microdermabrasion?

Most people are good candidates for microdermabrasion. It’s not an invasive procedure and is typically gentle. 

However, people with rosacea or who are prone to broken blood vessels should avoid this treatment and consider a light chemical peel instead. 

It’s also not recommended for people with active cystic acne.

If you’ve recently had a facial laser treatment or completed an isotretinoin regimen (or are still on it), hold off on microdermabrasion for a few months. It can aggravate already sensitive skin.

How would you prepare for Microdermabrasion?

While microdermabrasion is gentle, there are some steps you should take to make sure your skin is prepped for the treatment.

  • Don’t use Retin-A or exfoliators for three days before your treatment.
  • Avoid sun tanning or using tanning creams/sprays during the week beforehand.
  • Wait two to three weeks after getting injectables (including fillers and neurotoxins).
  • Refrain from waxing or tanning the treatment area for a few weeks prior to microdermabrasion.
  • Wash your face and neck with a nonoily, non-soap-based cleanser before your treatment.
  • If you get red welts or hives when scratched (called dermatographism), you may have a similar reaction after microdermabrasion. Take an oral histamine before your appointment to alleviate it.

What should you expect after a Microdermabrasion?

t’s normal for skin to be dry and tight following a microdermabrasion procedure, and some people say their skin was flushed pink. These side effects should subside over the next day, with the use of a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. 

To get the maximum effect of the treatment, avoid anything that overheats your body—including showers, a sauna, steam rooms, and exercise—for the first 24 hours. 

You can somewhat resume your regular skin-care routine after 48 hours, but you should avoid topical anti-aging, exfoliating, or anti-acne products that contain salicylic acid, AHA/BHA acids, retinols, vitamin C, or benzoyl peroxide, for seven days due to prevent possible irritation.  

In the next few weeks, your skin may be more sensitive to sun exposure, so it’s important to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. 

Aestheticians recommend monthly sessions because your skin cells naturally turn over every 28 days.

Is Microdermabrasion safe?

2016 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that microdermabrasion is safe, with benefits that include increased collagen density. People with very sensitive or thin skin might notice light bruising, scabbing, or flaking, but there isn’t any evidence of long-term damage in these cases. The crystals used are also considered safe and are nontoxic if accidentally ingested, though they can be irritating to the lungs. 

The biggest risks would stem from an unsanitary environment or inexperience. Your aesthetician or provider should always wear gloves and use sterilized tools. Read consumer reviews and check before and after photos prior to booking an appointment—and steer clear of anyone who has injured or overexfoliated their clients.

Does Microdermabrasion work?

Doctors say that microdermabrasion works to brighten, even out, and smooth skin, but results are temporary, lasting only about four weeks (until your skin cells have turned over again). When it’s used as part of a regular skin-care regimen, you will notice a clearer complexion, with improved tone, that looks healthy. 

This procedure can provide some improvement in the appearance of stretch marks, but the effects are usually very subtle. 

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting this form you agree to be contacted via phone/text/email.

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