Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive skin-exfoliation procedure designed to treat sun damage, scars, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. In addition to its cosmetic benefits, microdermabrasion helps to enhance circulation and lymph flow. Results are immediately visible, and there is no downtime for the patient, who can immediately resume regular activities. Performed in-office, microdermabrasion does not require anesthesia, and can be combined with other procedures such as chemical peels or laser treatment.
Microdermabrasion is a much less invasive procedure than dermabrasion, which is used to treat more serious skin problems. Dermabrasion, in which several layers of skin are removed, is considered a surgical treatment.
The Microdermabrasion Procedure
During the microdermabrasion procedure, which is usually performed by an aesthetician, a handheld device is used to transmit tiny crystals of aluminum oxide across the targeted treatment area. The crystals and dead skin are then suctioned away with a vacuum tool, revealing fresh underlying skin. A treatment session can last from five to 60 minutes. The results of a single microdermabrasion treatment are temporary. For continued improvement, treatment should be repeated every 2 to 4 weeks.
Risks of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is considered safe for all skin types, and is appropriate for Asian and dark-skinned patients who may be at risk for skin discoloration with other types of treatment. There are no serious risks associated with microdermabrasion, although some patients experience mild redness and irritation, and patients older than 70 may have a slightly escalated risk of bruising and skin abrasions. Avoiding sun exposure after microdermabrasion is important because it may have removed some of the skin's natural protection.
In patients who have a history of cold sores, undergoing microdermabrasion may reactivate the virus that causes them. In those cases, avoiding treatment around the lip area and/or taking preventative antiviral medication prior to treatment may be recommended.
What is microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive exfoliation treatment for skin. During treatment, a gentle stream of aluminum oxide crystals exfoliates the outer layer of skin, after which the dead skin cells and crystal particles are vacuumed away to reveal healthy, fresh skin. Microdermabrasion is less invasive and has a faster recovery time than many other skin resurfacing treatments.
What does microdermabrasion treat?
Microdermabrasion is used to treat a variety of mild-to-moderate skin problems, including acne, scarring, sun damage, age spots and fine wrinkles. Because it only affects the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), it is not effective for repairing deep tissue damage, or removing congenital marks, tattoos, moles and scars.
What are the benefits of microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion safely and effectively, with no pain and no downtime, improves the color, tone and texture of skin.
Microdermabrasion is considered safe for all skin types, and is especially effective for Asian and dark-skinned patients who may be at risk for skin discoloration with other types of treatment.
The vacuum used during dermabrasion enhances circulation and lymph flow, rejuvenating the skin internally as well as externally.
Is it necessary to wear sunscreen after microdermabrasion treatment?
After microdermabrasion is performed, the newly exposed layer of skin is vulnerable to sun damage, so wearing sunscreen is necessary. Avoiding the sun the first few days after treatment is recommended.
How long do microdermabrasion's results last?
Microdermabrasion's results are temporary. To sustain results and/or for continued improvement, microdermabrasion should be repeated at 2- to 4-week intervals.
What are the risks of microdermabrasion?
There are no serious risks associated with microdermabrasion. Possible minor side effects of microdermabrasion include skin tightness, redness, minor bruising, fine broken blood vessels, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and cold sore reactivation around the lips. Patients older than 70 may have a slightly escalated risk of bruising and skin abrasions.