Microdermabrasion is the hit treatment in the world of skin care. This non-invasive skin resurfacing treatment not only rejuvenates the skin and gives it a smoother and fresher look, it also removes blemishes, fine lines and wrinkles, mild acne scars, hyperpigmentation and age spots, melasma, sun damage, and stretch marks. On top of all that, this exfoliating treatment stimulates collagen and elastin production, giving your skin an over-all more youthful looks.

Here’s all you need to know about how microdermabrasion works, and what you can expect from this popular beauty treatment.

Who Qualifies for Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a procedure that doesn’t discriminate between skin types, skin color, age or gender. The treatment is for everyone who has issues with the texture of their skin, mild scarring, or fine lines. Initially, the treatment was sought after mostly by women, but since the social stigma around men and beauty procedures has been removed, and thanks to the popularization of the treatment by Hollywood stars, microdermabrasion has become one of the most popular skin treatments out there. (Read Silkpeel Dermalinfusion Vs. Microdermabrasion.)

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 1 million procedures have been carried out since 2005, with 188 procedures having been carried out in the US in 2017 alone. The success rate of the procedure is very high: 95.4% of clients have reported that they are satisfied with the results of the treatments.

The treatment isn't suitable for those who have serious skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, active rosacea, warts, open sores, skin lesions, or active herpes. The treatment also can't be done if you have any sort of open wounds or fresh scars on your face.

How Does Microdermabrasion Work?

Microdermabrasion essentially exfoliates the skin, and stimulates the production of elastin and collagen through the removal of the very top layer of skin (stratum corneum) which consists of dead skin cells. The removal of the dead layer of skin cells and all the debris associated with it is registered by the body as an injury. The natural biological reaction is rejuvenation – the creation of new skin cells. (Read 5 Effective Exfoliating Techniques for Healthy Skin.)

The new skin that we are left with after the old layer is removed is visibly brighter, smoother, and cleaner. And with the top layer of dead skin cells gone, the fine lines, blemishes, mild scarring and sun damage, and any hyperpigmentation, is removed as well.

What Tools are Used with Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabraison is always performed with the help of a small, hand-held tool, which combines skin sanding and suction. There are several types of microdermabraison tools currently on the market, which result in several variations of the procedure, slightly different from one another. (Read Microdermabrasion Vs. Dermaplaning: 5 Ways to Find What Works For You.)

Crystal microdermabraison

Crystal microdermabraison uses a small hand-held device which emits tiny exfoliating crystals onto the skin. The crystals abrade the skin, and the vacuum machine attached to the spraying wand suctions off both the dead skin cells and the crystals. The crystals used are usually made from aluminum oxide and sodium bicarbonate.

Crystal microdermabraison is considered best for resolving acne-related issues, as the crystals have anti-bacetrial properties. They’re not recommended for sensitive areas around the eyes or the mouth as they can irritate the eyes and cause problems if accidentally inhaled.

Diamond-tip handpiece

Generally used for the more sensitive areas, such as the skin around the eyes, the diamond-tip handpiece gently exfoliates the dead skin cells suctioning them off immediately after, in one movement. The wand of the handpiece has a tip made from natural or synthetic diamond chips, and, in contrast to the crystal microdermabraison, the tip is in direct contact with the skin.

The depth of the abrasion is influenced by the pressure put on the device, which allows the aesthetician to work with more precision and be in full control of the procedure. The diamond-tip microdermabraison is most effective in the fight against the signs of aging and flaky skin.

Hydradermabraison

Hydradermabraison uses a small jet peel machine to distribute air and water over the skin, instead of abrasive crystals. This makes the treatment more suitable for very dry and sensitive skin, as it’s much gentler than the other microdermabrasion methods, and is far more hydrating. The treatment removes any toxins and exfoliates the skin, working to drain the lymphatic system.

What are the Pros and Cons of Microdermabrasion?

Like all beauty treatments, microdermabrasion has its good and bad sides.

Pros:

  • No side effects: other than mild redness which fades away a few hours after the treatment, microdermabrasion has no side effects, and asks for no downtime what so ever.
  • Safety: the procedure is non-surgical, non-invasive, painless, and very safe
  • Painlessness: the treatment doesn’t require any use of anesthetics and clients experience only mild discomfort
  • Swiftness: the whole treatment doesn’t take more than an hour of your time, and this includes the optional vitamin injections and lotions to top off the procedure
  • No downtime: you can proceed with your regular daily activities right after the procedure, there is no particular aftercare or downtime required
  • The treatment doesn’t discriminate: it’s suitable for all ages, all skin colors, genders, and skin types – even the most dry and sensitive skin that can’t handle chemical treatments reacts well to microdermabrasion

Cons:

  • The effectiveness of the treatment will depend largely on the initial state of the skin, so an individualized skin care program is advised in order to maximize the effects
  • The treatment is not helpful when it comes to serious skin conditions such as deep acne, active rosacea, eczema, skin lesions, or dermatitis
  • The skin will be sensitive to sun right after the treatment, as the top layer of dead skin cells that has been removed is the body’s natural sun block; a beach day and a skin care day should not take place at the same time!
  • Microdermabrasion is a treatment that needs to be done on the regular if it’s going to have results – this is due to the fact that our skin has a regenerative cycle, and the removed top layer of dead skin cells will be formed once again, undoing the effects of the treatment
  • For those going in for their first microdermabrasion, the beginning involves an intense treatment plan, and most professionals will advise 6 to 10 sessions with only two weeks apart for maximum effect
  • Depending on your location, the average price of a microdermabrasion session carried out by a professional ranges between $100 and $300 (US dollars).

While microdermabrasion is usually done at a salon and performed by either a professional aesthetician or a dermatologist, it is possible to carry out the treatment by yourself, at the comfort of your own home. The microdermabrasion devices can be purchased by private customers, and a vast array of microdermabrasion home kits are on the market.

It is, however, recommended that the first treatments are done by a professional, as incorrect use can cause scarring and have side effects like swelling and more aggressive redness. The home-kits are perfect for follow up and brush up treatments, as they spare you the long wait and the hustle of appointment making, and definitely help out your beauty budget.