Microdermabrasion can be defined as the application of tiny rough grains that scrape away the surface layer of the skin. All kinds of treatments and products use this technique, including medical procedures, salon treatments as well as creams and scrubs that you can use at home. Generally, the technique is applied to the face, nech, chest, arms and hands but it was also be used all over the body.
A person’s skin consists of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The first of these is the layer that is closest to the surface; it is composed of dead skin cells lying on top of another layer of cells that are in the process of ripening (the dermis). The stratum corneum is the topmost layer of the skin which acts as a barrier for the lower skin layers; i.e: the layer that makes contact with the world around you. It keeps all the smaller particles from getting through.
When you apply lotions or creams on your skin, this barrier takes in some of the moisture but not all of it. This layer is where many minor skin imperfections occur, for example, blemishes or wrinkle lines.
Microdermabrasion acts precisely on this outer layer of the skin since it only targets the epidermis. If the deeper layers of the skin were to be affected, it would painful and harmful, risking the permanent embedding of tiny grains into the deeper layers of your skin. The principal of microdermabrasion is always the same; it doesn’t matter if it’s done with a product at home or in a professional setting with a specialized tool.
The principle is that if you remove or break up the stratum corneum, the body interprets that as a mild injury and rushes to replace the lost skin cells with new and healthy ones.
It also has beneficial effects. With the stratum corneum gone, the skin’s surface is enhanced. The healing process brings with it newer skin cells that look and feel smoother. Some of the skin’s visible imperfections, like sun damage, blemishes and fine lines, are removed. Also, without the stratum corneum acting as a barrier, medicinal creams and lotions are more effective because more of their active ingredients and moisture can find their way down to the lower layers of skin. As microdermabrasion temporarily removes some moisture from the skin, it is always followed by the application of moisturizing creams.
- It has no side effects.
- Provides the skin with an overall fresh, healthy-looking glow.
- It is a nonsurgical procedure; a safe, effective “lunch hour” treatment.
- It works on all skin colors and types.
- No anesthetic required.
- It is an ideal treatment for skin sensitive to chemical procedures.
- There is no downtime.
Microdermabrasion is an ideal procedure for people whose skin too sensitive to use anti-acne drugs. However, you must keep in mind that this procedure is unsuited for patients who suffer from: active rosacea, fragile capillaries, vascular lesions, widespread acne, herpetic lesions (herpes), warts, eczema, psoriasis, diabetes mellitus, etc. Your doctor will be able to determine if this procedure is adequate for your case during your initial consultation.
The dermatologist or specialist will use a specialized tool for the procedure. The tool shoots a stream of tiny crystals, like aluminum oxide, sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate and collects the leftover dead skin cells and used crystals.
The tool is steadily moved over the target area, applying even and steady pressure to remove the stratum corneum without affecting the lower skin layers.
A standard session usually consists of one to three passes with the tool. Usually, the patient is then asked to apply specialized lotions and creams to the affected area between sessions.
This re-hydrates the area and promotes healthier new skin growth.
After The Treatment
There is no real downtime and thus, you may resume your normal activities after a microdermabrasion treatment immediately. You will need to apply moisturizer after the treatment as well as sunblock to protect the skin from UV light. You may experience a mild sunburn-like sensation for a few days but this will disappear eventually.
The procedure does not involve any serious, known risks. Some patients with very sensitive skin may experience some irritation. Microdermabrasion can bruise or discolor the skin if done incorrectly. The vacuum action tends to cause blemishes if the skin tension is let up or uneven. The lip area is especially vulnerable to bruising, and the eyelids should never be treated using this technique. Treatment that is too deep or intense can cause permanent discoloration to the skin.