Microdermabrasion (or ‘microderm’ as people in the business like to say) is one of the more popular methods of exfoliation in a spa or medical setting.  Typically, when you look at exfoliating the skin, there are 2 methods of making that happen:  chemical or mechanical.  For those of you that are faithful followers of Sweet Life Skincare (let’s just assume that’s everyone shall we?), I am sure you have not doubt read “To Peel or Not to Peel.” In that post, I explained the different types of peels that estheticians may use to exfoliate the skin via chemical means.  So like chemical exfoliation uses acids or enzymes to dissolve the dead corneocyte layers of skin, mechanical exfoliation uses friction to scrape and lift off those same corneocytes.

Now, I know what you are thinking:  who the heck wants their face scraped?  I was one of those people saying ‘um yeah no thanks I don’t need sandpaper on my face!’. The truth is, microdermabrasion is a super effective technique and does not have to leave you looking crazy.  The thing is, just like peels, you need to understand how it works and what results you can expect.

There are 2 methods of microdermabrasion:  crystal and diamond (or crystal-free).  No doubt a woman coined those names because who else would come up with crystals or diamonds associated with skin care?  The truth is that the ‘crystals’ are often made out of aluminum oxide or cordundum powder.  The machine sprays these crystals onto the skin at the same time that the suction tip moves across the skin in short vertical and/or horizontal lines.  This process helps to scrape and lift the dead cells off the skin and the suction then takes the dead cells and excess crystal away.  The suction is also helping to stimulate blood flow in the tissue.

The diamond method of microdermabrasion works similar with the exception that it does not spray crystals onto the skin.  In this version, an abrasive tip often made up of crushed crystals is used to scrape and suction the dead cells off the skin’s surface.  Some estheticians and clients prefer the diamond tip method, because there is less chance of inhaling the crystals or the crystals causing an allergic reaction.  I’m a big fan of the diamond method myself!

After receiving a microdermabrasion, your skin may feel a little tender and even show some erythema (redness).  Some clients have that redness for 1-2 days along with some peeling.  This is normal and oftentimes a good sign that the treatment has been effective in removing the dead layers of the stratum corneum.  It is very important to properly care for the skin after a microdermabrasion by doing the following over the next 24-72 hours:
-avoid sun exposure as much as possible
-slather on the sunscreen!
-avoid saunas, really hot showers, hot tubs
-no vigorous exercise immediately after the treatment (aw shucks!)

So if you have never experienced a microderm and you are a good candidate for it, here are the kinds of conditions it can help improve the appearance of:
-pigmentation from sun damage
-acne scarring
-enlarged pores
-coarse skin
-fine lines and wrinkles

Who couldn’t use a little help in that department?  Check it out!  The effects of a microdermabrasion treatment are smooth and luminous skin and I’m pretty sure that’s what the lady in the picture above is smiling about 🙂

Priya Crumpton
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