Treatment guide

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a handheld instrument containing fine crystals and suction. The instrument creates a mechanical sanding effect to remove dead skin cells from your outer layer of skin.

The content has been reviewed for quality and accuracy to the best of our knowledge by Qunomedical and its Medical Board of Experts.

Microdermabrasion Quick Details

WHO IS THIS FOR

  • Microdermabrasion is best for people with superficial wrinkles, scars, stretch marks and lighter acne scarring.

  • People with age spots.

  • People with large or clogged pores.

  • People with hyperpigmentation or melasma.

TREATMENT DURATION

  • Depending on how many areas are treated, microdermabrasion takes 30 to 45 minutes.

RECOVERY TIME

  • There is little to no downtime from your regular activities. You can return to them immediately after microdermabrasion.

SUCCESS

  • The success of microdermabrasion can vary based on the depth of the wrinkles and scars you want to target.

POTENTIAL RISKS & SIDE EFFECTS

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Flaky, dry skin

  • Bruising

  • Sun sensitivity

How Does Microdermabrasion Work?

Microdermabrasion uses mechanical exfoliation to help remove dead skin cells rather than a chemical reaction, like chemical peels. There are two types of microdermabrasion:

Crystal Microdermabrasion

A wand sprays a type of fine crystal or microparticle, which has a suction or vacuum built in. As this wand is passed over your skin, the crystals exfoliate the top layer of your skin (epidermis) while the suction mechanism vacuums up the exfoliated skin and the fine crystals at the same time.

Diamond Microdermabrasion

Diamond microdermabrasion uses a diamond-tipped wand, also with an in-built suction to vacuum away the exfoliated skin and fine crystals. However, since this wand is not spraying out crystals, it can be safer for your eyes and prevent you from breathing in crystals.

Microdermabrasion can help achieve brighter skin tone that looks healthier and refreshed. It can also make the skin smoother and improve the effect of skincare products since they can penetrate the skin easier.

NOTE: Microdermabrasion should not be confused with dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is much more invasive as it reaches the deeper layers of skin and typically requires the use of local anaesthesia.

How Do I Know if I Can Have Microdermabrasion?

You will have a consultation with your specialist to determine if microdermabrasion is the right treatment for the outcome you want. You should let your specialist know about any medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking and any previous cosmetic procedures.

Although microdermabrasion is non-invasive and can be used on many different skin types, it might not be appropriate for you if:

  • You scar easily

  • You have a mole that appears to be changing in any way, growing, or bleeding

  • You’ve taken isotretinoin (an acne medication) in the last 6 months

  • You get cold sores easily

  • You have rosacea, eczema, or are prone to broken blood vessels

  • You’re having an active acne breakout

What Are the Steps of a Microdermabrasion?

Preparation

Your specialist may recommend that you treat your skin with alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or retinoic acid prior to having a microdermabrasion to increase the longevity of the treatment. They will also likely recommend that you stop using any tanning creams, exfoliating creams or masks and do not wax before the treatment.

When you arrive for treatment, your skin will be cleaned first. You might be given goggles or eye shields to protect your eyes.

Treatment

Once your face is clean and dry, the specialist will begin to sweep the microdermabrasion wand across the areas to be treated in a pattern of lines. The wand needs to be applied with some pressure in order to properly exfoliate dead skin.

You may feel a mild scratching sensation from the crystals and a slight vibration from the suction of the wand. Imagining a fine sand blaster or a cat licking your face gives you an idea of the sensation you may feel.

Cleaning

When all areas have been treated, your face will be wiped down and cleaned to remove any residual crystals. Your specialist will apply a moisturizer and sunscreen for you as well.

What Should I Expect After Microdermabrasion?

You skin may be a little red or swell a bit. The effects are similar to having a sun- or windburn. Your skin may be a dry or flaky for 1 or 2 days after the treatment, possibly longer if you have sensitive skin.

Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after microdermabrasion so make sure you use a high-factor sunscreen immediately after the treatment (if your specialist has not already applied one for you). You will also be advised about what types of products can help you prolong your results from microdermabrasion.

When Can I See Results From Microdermabrasion?

Results should be immediately visible and become a bit more evident once and redness or flaky subsides. However, they only last about 2 to 4 weeks.

Depending on the severity of your skin damage, microdermabrasion will require multiple treatments. Many people start with 2 microdermabrasion sessions per month for a period of time before moving to a maintenance schedule of 1 per month and then 1 per year. Your specialist will discuss a maintenance plan with you based on your skin.

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