Microdermabrasion is a beauty treatment that was introduced and became popular in the 1990s. Also called dermabrasion, it was used quite extensively for treating acne and traumatic facial scars.

It’s considered and accepted as a reliable treatment for facial rejuvenation. Dermabrasion may be used along with other treatments of the skin. Back in the 1990s, the first type of microdermabrasion that was used was called crystal microdermabrasion. Read Microdermabrasion: Your Ultimate Guide to Effective Skin Rejuvenation.)

In crystal microdermabrasion, a special device that fits in the surgeon’s hand is used on the skin. It sends aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin, causing an exfoliation. The device generates rotation speeds of 18,000-35,000 revolutions per minute. Different end pieces such as wire brushes could be attached to the device for better resurfacing results.

At the same time, the device acts as a vacuum and sucks up the debris and dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin.

There was and still is a problem with crystal microdermabrasion: it can worsen inflammation that is already in the skin or leave it inflamed. Thus, those with acne rosacea should stay away from crystal microdermabrasion. It is also difficult to remove all the crystals that were “shot” into the skin.

Diamond Microdermabrasion: Next-Gen Microdermabrasion

Diamond microdermabrasion is a later procedure. In this one, the tool used is diamond-tipped. It also has a vacuum and the cosmetic or plastic surgeon applies pressure on the wand to control the treatment.

The purpose of this device is to slough away the top level of the skin and the vacuum then follows, leaving no deposits on the skin. It’s a lot more precise and manageable on the skin, making it easier to exfoliate areas near the eyes and mouth. Diamond microdermabrasion is quickly replacing crystal microdermabrasion.

Other procedures that may also replace crystal microdermabrasion include chemical exfoliation and non-ablative laser resurfacing. (Read Your Ultimate Guide to Chemical Peels.)

Dermabrasion is surgeon dependent. This means that the surgeon has to have the appropriate skills to use the device. A topical anesthetic is used to avoid any pain during the procedure. The re-epithelization of the skin is complete in 5-7 days but redness is common for up to 4 weeks. The skin must be protected from the sun after dermabrasion.

The Diamond Microdermabrasion Process

Doctors testing at the University of Michigan used high-tech laboratory testing on a molecular level to see what exactly was happening in the skin when it was treated with diamond microdermabrasion.

They found that in the 40 adults aged 50-83 with photodamaged skin, microdermabrasion causes dermal remodeling changes similar to that seen when there’s a surgical wound from an incision. They concluded that most likely the results were from a more aggressive type of treatment with a more abrasive handpiece.

Benefits From Diamond Microdermabrasion Reported in Medical Studies

Better Quality of Life

In one Poland study, doctors at the dermatology department at two universities performed diamond microdermabrasion on 101 women aged 19-29 years. All the women had acne vulgaris for anywhere from 3 to 15 years.

They were given the dermabrasion after other treatments such as intensive pulsing light, alpha-hydroxy acids peeling, ultrasound (sonophoresis), and needle-free mesotherapy. The surgeon’s treatment depended on each individual case. The patients were given questionnaires about quality of life and their acne before and after the treatment.

The dermabrasion significantly improved the general quality of life in the patients with acne and their skin condition, as well.

When Antioxidants Are Used After Diamond Microdermabrasion

Another study performed by plastic surgeons in Virginia tested the results of six diamond microdermabrasion facial treatments spaced 7-10 days apart on 10 female volunteers between the ages of 38-52.

The women received a topical antioxidant (polyphenol) treatment right after the dermabrasion on one side of the face. Skin biopsies and polyphenol antioxidant levels in the skin were determined both before and after the treatment.

The skin treated with the topical antioxidants showed much better results than the side of the face without it. The epidermal and dermal thickness was greater and the fibroblasts in the skin were in greater numbers. The dermis had many more deposited collagen fibers.

The antioxidant levels in the skin increased 32%. And clinically, the women looked significantly more improved. Since this time, many surgeons have decided to implement a similar topical antioxidant strategy.

The Skin Barrier Function After Microdermabrasion?

Skin barrier function can be measured by looking at hydration, redness in the skin, and water loss in the skin. At the Catholic University of Korea, 28 patients were tested to see what microdermabrasion did to the skin barrier function.

The patients had diamond microdermabrasion on one side of the face and no treatment on the other side of the face. Right after the treatment, there was water loss from the skin that lasted for 24 hours. On the second day, the water loss was totally restored. Their results show that skin barrier function recovers within two days of the procedure. Thus, if the procedure is done on a weekly basis, there is sufficient time for healing in most parts of the face.

If you are looking for better-looking skin or skin that is resurfaced, consider diamond microdermabrasion.