Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion Introduction

Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed today. Over time, factors such as aging, genetic factors, sun damage, acne, scarring, and enlarged pores can contribute to the formation of facial wrinkles and a rough skin texture on the face. Most commonly used to treat the face and neck, microderrmabrasion can successfully reduce the appearance of superficial wrinkles and scars, large pores, acne, and age spots, restoring a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Overview of the Skin

Before you learn how microdermabrasion can rejuvenate your skin, you need to understand what makes up your skin. Your skin consists of two layers known as the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis, or outer layer of the skin, acts as the skin’s primary defense against the environment, and sustains the most damage from the sun. The effects of sun damage are what cause the skin to have a rough appearance. Beneath the epidermis lies the dermis, or innermost layer of the skin, which provides structure and support.

What Causes Skin Damage?

The dermis is comprised primarily of connective tissue, which is made mostly of collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity. Over time, the aging process and sun damage cause a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastin fibers. As this network of fibers breaks down, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes more lax. Together, aging, sun damage, and other factors contribute to wrinkle formation and other changes in appearance.

How Does Microdermabrasion Work?

During microdermabrasion, fine crystals usually remove the superficial or uppermost layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum. Depending on the extent of skin damage, deeper treatment may be necessary; however, treatment rarely extends beyond the epidermis. As a result, microdermabrasion is not appropriate for the treatment of deeper wrinkles and scars, or extensive discoloration as these conditions likely extend into the dermis. In these instances chemical peels and laser resurfacing may achieve more desirable results. As microdermabrasion only causes superficial injury to the skin, the risk of scarring and pigmentation anomalies following microdermabrasion is extremely low, when compared with other resurfacing techniques. Therefore, microdermabrasion can be safely and effectively used on individuals of all skin types.

Procedure Preparation

A microdermabrasion procedure may last approximately thirty to forty-five minutes. Unlike certain chemical peels and laser resurfacing, the procedure is relatively painless; therefore anesthesia is not typically required. Prior to your procedure, your physician may recommend that you treat your skin with products containing alphahydroxy acid or retinoic acid, among others, which may increase the effects and longevity of your treatment. Before the treatment, your face will be thoroughly cleansed, usually using an alcohol-based cleanser. Your physician may also provide you with goggles to protect your eyes during the procedure.

Microdermabrasion Procedure–Part I

During the procedure, the physician uses a device which emits pressurized crystals onto the surface of the skin. Using single strokes, the physician will guide the device over the treatment area to remove damaged skin layers.

Microdermabrasion Procedure–Part II

The hand piece releases fine, pressurized crystals, which much like sandblasting exfoliate the stratum corneum, or the skin’s outermost layer. In areas with more damage, the physician may increase the amount of pressure exerted by the device or the number of passes made in the area. This will cause the treatment, or amount of injury, to extend deeper into the skin. A vacuum sucks the used crystals and exfoliated skin particles back into the device, so that they can be removed and discarded.

Microdermabrasion Recovery

Following your microdermabrasion procedure, you may experience some redness for the first few hours, but you will be able to return to your normal routine immediately after your treatment. Your physician may apply a cream or ointment to the treatment areas to keep them moist as they heal. It is important that you continue to use these products as directed by your physician, as your skin may continue to exfoliate following the procedure. Your skin may appear as if you have a minor sunburn for two to three days and will be more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, it is important that you use sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater as your skin heals.

Microdermabrasion Results

As the new skin cells are revealed, your skin will have an improved texture and overall appearance. It is important to realize that in order to maintain the results from a microdermabrasion procedure, you will likely have to undergo approximately five to ten treatments, depending on the severity of skin damage. Initially, you may receive treatments every one to two weeks. However, over time the frequency of treatment may decrease to once a month, and later to twice a year. Although multiple treatments are required, microdermabrasion is a simple, fast, effective method of reducing superficial skin damage to restore a refreshed and youthful appearance.