- Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the top layer of skin
- It effectively treats several skin complaints including scarring, enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation, melasma and signs of aging
- This procedure is safe for all skin types and tones
- While at-home treatments are cost-effective, they can’t achieve the same results as professional treatments
Microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliating procedure that can soften the look of scars, fade dark patches and age spots, and brighten a dull complexion. They can also effectively clear pimples and blackheads and reduce the appearance of large pores. Microdermabrasion results will vary depending on the severity of your concern and the number of treatments you receive.
This procedure is effective and safe for all skin types and tones, even darker skin, when used with care.
What Is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive procedure that rejuvenates the skin by removing the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis. By doing so, it corrects irregularities, and strengthens and brightens skin.
In comparison to dermabrasion, which completely removes the epidermis and penetrates to deeper levels within the dermis, microdermabrasion is considered a gentler option that is painless and has mild side effects. As such, it is better-suited to treat superficial skin imperfections such as shallow scars, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as fade hyperpigmentation and stretch marks.
Skin is resurfaced by using one of two types of microdermabrasion; a handheld diamond-tipped handpiece or a very fine spray of crystals to gently abrade the skin’s surface.
Benefits of Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion can effectively treat various skin concerns by resurfacing the skin. A secondary benefit is that this treatment stimulates collagen production to increase skin’s density and elasticity. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful appearance.
In one study, researchers examined the effects of microdermabrasion on patients with melasma, scarring, stretch marks and photoaging. They found mild-to-moderate results for all skin conditions save for photoaging, which were mild. However, all groups experienced an increase in collagen density and distribution.
In individuals with melasma, this procedure decreases areas of accumulated melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color) and evenly distributes melanosomes, structures that store melanin in the epidermis.
Microdermabrasion can clear pores of oils and dead skin cells; this also allows topical products to better penetrate the skin for greater effectiveness.
Mechanical abrasion of the skin removes surface irregularities such as scars, body marks, hyperpigmentation and blackheads. It encourages skin cell turnover to replace damaged skin cells with fresh, healthy ones.
Lastly, in addition to achieving mild-to-moderate results with microdermabrasion, patients also report a radiant complexion, soft skin and decreased pores size.
How many treatments does it take to see results?
As microdermabrasion only treats the top layer of skin, typically, a series of treatments scheduled several weeks apart are required to see significant results. As well, the outcome will be determined by your skin complaint and its severity. For example:
- As an anti-aging treatment to address fine lines, sun damage and dull skin, 5–12 treatments may be needed to reveal a brighter, smoother and more even skin tone and texture
- Hyperpigmentation requires 2 or more treatments
- Melasma requires 5 or 6 treatments, followed by maintenance treatments of 2–3 times a year
- Shallow scars can require anywhere from 6–12 sessions
- Stretch marks require at least 3–5 sessions
While it may take several sessions to treat your specific skin concern, anyone undergoing this treatment can expect their skin to appear softer and smoother immediately after one visit. Over the following weeks, skin tone and texture will improve due to the larger amounts of collagen stimulated by the procedure. Skin will appear rejuvenated, as it will be plumper with more elasticity.
In addition, when combined with another treatment, such as a topical retinoid, you can expect to have greater results.
Microdermabrasion Results: Before and Afters
How Long Do Microdermabrasion Results Last?
Microdermabrasion treatments typically last 1 month since skin normally regenerates every 30 days. However, every person is different and results are influenced by age and how well you take care of your skin.
In addition, microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment with repeated sessions needed at set intervals to obtain optimal results.
Aftercare to maintain results
To maintain results between sessions, follow a good skin care regime. It is especially important to apply a rich moisturizer after a microdermabrasion session as this will minimize peeling.
Your skin will be sensitive after a treatment and will be especially vulnerable to the sun. With this in mind, the following tips will help you protect your skin and allow it to heal more quickly:
- Gently cleanse your face after a treatment and use a rehydrating toner to remove any flaking and residue from the treatment
- Follow with a rich moisturizer, and apply as needed throughout the day if your skin feels tight
- Avoid direct sunlight for several days after treatment as your skin will be fragile
- Wear sunscreen every time you go out as microdermabrasion increases photosensitivity
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water each day
- Do not pick or scratch at your skin
Results of At-Home Microdermabrasion Treatments
At-home microdermabrasion devices are an affordable and convenient alternative to in-office treatments. These devices typically feature a diamond tip handpiece to gently exfoliate your skin.
While these devices may seem cost-effective, they cannot compare to the results achieved in a professional setting. You would also have the benefit of expert advice and the skill of a qualified care provider.
There are also more risks involved when performing an at-home treatment such as infection or applying too much pressure, which can lead to painful abrasions.
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the top layer of skin to treat several skin complaints including melasma, hyperpigmentation and signs of aging. It is an effective and safe treatment that can address superficial skin imperfections. It requires multiple sessions to achieve and maintain results.
However, after one treatment, skin appears softer and smoother and over the following weeks as increased collagen formation will plump the skin and provide elasticity for a more youthful complexion.
Between sessions, it’s important to take care of your skin by gently exfoliating and cleansing, and by applying moisturizer and sunscreen to protect your skin from moisture loss and sun damage. These steps will help maintain your results and keep your skin healthy.
At-home treatments are a cost-effective alternative to professional microdermabrasion sessions, but are less effective and carry some risk.
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