Although professional methods are generally the most effective, microdermabrasion is one of the few non-surgical skin treatments that can be readily and successfully performed at home. Hence, microdermabrasion procedures can be performed without the help of a medical professional.
The ease in performing a dermabrasion or microdermabrasion skin treatment procedure has caused it to become very popular in spas and salons. In addition, there are several dermabrasion and microdermabrasion products available on the market today that perform admirably when compared to the other types of skin care treatments that are saturating the market.
Recent evidence has shown that microdermabrasion may be helpful to the skin by stimulating collagen production but these test yielded at best, miniscule stimulation and at worst, no effect whatsoever. Still microdermabrasion has been shown to be very successful in the reduction or removal of scars and stretch marks that occur on the entire body.
The Different Types of Microdermabrasion
- Crystal: This professional type of treatment is the most commonly used for the reduction of scars and the exfoliation of skin. Very small crystals are fired at the skin from a tube to remove dead skin and scar tissue. While this type of treatment is still common, diamond microdermabrasion has often been shown to be more successful.
- Diamond: With this professional treatment type, a single diamond tip is used to literally scrape away dead skin cells and scar tissue. Although it seems painful, the process works in such small increments that there is normally no severe pain. As with crystal microdermabrasion, this type uses a suction system to remove the dead cells.
- Home Based: Usually very cheap and easy to use, home kits are very prevalent in the skin treatment market. While they are not as immediately effective as professional methods of this skin treatment, high quality models have been shown to produce marked results over a long period of use.
How do Microdermabrasion Work?
Your skin is constantly shedding dead cells to make room for growth and to clear toxins. However, some cells stay on the surface of the skin and can cause a dull or rough appearance. Microdermabrasion works by scraping or blasting these cells away to clean and rejuvenate your skin. There is actually a fourth, false layer of skin that you have. This layer (referred to as the stratum corneum) is where small wrinkle and lines begin to form before they dig deeper into the layers of your skin.
The false layer of skin should be removed as it can prevent the skin from breathing properly and reduce the effectiveness of other methods of skin treatment. Microdermabrasion’s sole purpose is to remove this layer of skin while leaving the lower layers unaffecting. Of course, in professional settings, microdermabrasion can go even deeper to remove scar tissue and stretch marks.
The vacuum used during microdermabrasion is employed for several reasons:
- It isolates a certain section of your skin for deeper cleaning (like a vacuum cleaner attachment).
- It can also serve to raise unwanted cells and impurities from the lower layers of your skin.
- It allows the crystals to work solely on the isolated section of the skin and makes treatment sessions shorter.
- It collects and disposes of any materials that are freed from the skin.
Advantages of Microdermabrasion
- This type of treatment is the easiest and safest form of skin treatment. Fast results can be obtained in a professional setting but gradual results are entirely possible at home.
- Home kits are generally cheap with the most expensive costing around $200. Spa treatments usually cost about $75 and medical procedures to remove scar tissue normally ring in anywhere from $150 – $300.
- There are typically no side effects associated with microdermabrasion.
- There is no recovery time following a treatment session.
- Sessions are generally short as the lengthiest appointments usually take no more than 30 minutes.
- Although microdermabrasion is not used to reduce the appearance of many skin conditions, it is one of the most common and successful methods of reducing and removing the appearance of stretch marks after a pregnancy or other weight gain.
Disadvantages of Microdermabrasion
- Results of this type of skin treatment are usually few and far apart. Noticeable changes require multiple sessions over a long period of time.
- While tiny surface wrinkles can be reduced, microdermabrasion usually has no application in the removal of wrinkles caused by age.
- Although many home microdermabrasion products assure the buyer that they will reduce the appearance of scars caused by acne, the results are not typical.
- There have been some cases of infection when patients have used non-professional sources of microdermabrasion to remove scar tissue.
- Sometimes skin can be left very sensitive and must be kept moisturized and away from exposure to the sun for several days.
- There have been some cases of bruising or permanent skin discoloration if the vacuum device was held on the same section of skin for too long of a period or with too much pressure. These cases are extremely rare.
As opposed to collagen creams, microdermabrasion creams have been shown to be somewhat effective in the removal of dead skin cells and the unclogging of pores. The creams work in the same way as the machines by using crystals to scrape away loose material. They typically cost anywhere from $50-$80 per jar and must be used over a long period of time to achieve noticeable results.
For the best “at home” results, consider using a cheap machine in combination with microdermabrasion creams. This combination of techniques has been shown to rapidly increase the effectiveness of home skin treatment sessions. Some creams have other ingredients to serve as a hydration, rejuvenation and cleaning agent as part of your daily skin care routine.
Is Microdermabrasion Right for You?
The low cost and safe nature of microdermabrasion makes it a very viable method of skin treatment. Scars and stretch marks can also be readily removed in a medical setting. However, the applications of microdermabrasion are generally in the upkeep and prevention category rather than the actual treatment of skin conditions. You do not need to see a doctor before beginning a microdermabrasion program but a professional may be required for more intense sessions.
Consider whether the value of prevention techniques outweighs the cost of later skin treatment methods when deciding whether or not you would like to invest in a microdermabrasion treatment. With home methods available at lower prices than many other treatments, you can try several products or types of microdermabrasion before investing in more expensive medical treatments.
While you may not see immediate results, avoiding a chemical peel at a later point may make microdermabrasion a logical skin treatment method. Coupled with the low cost, if you are looking to perform a skin treatment procedure that will provide reasonable results and can be performed fairly quickly, microdermabrasion may be right for you.