What is Microdermabrasion?

by Linda Robison

What's this micro-exfolation device all about? And is it worth it?

What is Microdermabrasion

Are you ready to uncover the secret to smoother, more radiant skin? Well, forget about grabbing a sandblaster – there's a more gentle (and less noisy😊) solution for you.

It's called microdermabrasion, and it's like a spa day for your skin.

In this article, we'll tell you all about microdermabrasion, including the history and the science behind this sought-after youthful-glow machine.

Microdermabrasion Facial Machine.

What does microdermabrasion do

To put it simply, it's a minimally invasive skin treatment that utilizes tiny crystals to exfoliate (sort of like sandblasting) and rejuvenate your complexion.

During this cosmetic procedure, dead skin cells are gently scraped away, revealing fresh, youthful skin underneath.

The process triggers your body’s natural healing mechanism, stimulating collagen production for improved health and vitality of your skin.

This can help reduce the look of wrinkles, age spots, and acne scars and leave your skin with a super radiant glow.

I can tell you the glow is incredible. I know because I've had several in-office treatments and I loved it

Like any other procedure, it also has potential side effects, including minor skin irritation and redness.

Why was this crazy "sandblasting" device invented?

Microdermabrasion was originally developed to improve the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation.

Over time, it expanded to include addressing signs of aging, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as enhancing overall skin texture and radiance.

But, today's procedures are much gentler, with less side effects which makes it a popular "lunch-time" anti-aging treatment.

Older Version Were Very Abrasive

The older versions of microdermabrasion, particularly those using hard, jagged aluminum oxide crystals, were relatively rough on the skin.

This often left the face red and swollen, requiring a recovery period. 

On the other hand, today's machines come with adjustable settings, allowing skincare professionals to customize the treatment's intensity based on the patient's specific needs and skin type.

This reduces the risk of skin irritation and makes the procedure more comfortable.

And, today, all are totally free from aluminum oxide crystals, as this caused issues with breathing and allergic reactions for some people.

Microdermabrasion wand across the forehead.

How is it used

The microdermabrasion machine has a handheld device that's swept across your face in a sweeping circular motion.

Working on small sections of your face, the device either sprays tiny crystals or uses a diamond-tipped wand to scrape off dead cells.

It's a bit like very fine, sophisticated sandpaper.

The handheld device has a built in vacuum system, that immediately sweeps away the dead cells and the crystals. 

How long does it take 

Treatments usually take about an hour, give or take. After treatment, your skincare tech will likely apply a soothing moisturizer cream to help soothe and encourage recovery.

Microdermabrasion doesn’t involve any downtime or recovery, which means you can go back to your usual daily activities right after the procedure.

How many treatments needed

For best results, multiple sessions are suggested. These are typically about 6-10, spaced about 1-2 weeks apart, for best results. But these factors will be thoroughly discussed during your consultation with the skincare professional prior to treatment.

Different types microdermabrasion machines

Diamond tip microdermabrasion tool on a professional machine.Rotating diamond microdermabrasion disc.

There are three types of exfoliating methods:

  • crystal spray
  • diamond tip
  • hydrodermabrasion

All are used to exfoliate thoroughly. But what does each do, and how do these facial treatments different?

Here is a breakdown:

  • With the crystal spray facial, microfine crystals are shot onto your skin and simultaneously vacuumed away. The effect is similar to a high-powered scrub.
  • With the diamond facial, an exfoliator with diamond tip or disc is used instead of crystals.
  • In hydrodermabrasion a jet of oxygenated water pressure is used to exfoliate the dead cells. It is a gentler alternative compared to the other methods, which can be harsh for those with sensitivity issues. 

What method is best for you? Click here for more details about each treatment.

What are the benefits of microdermabrasion

A microdermabrasion facial can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. It can also help to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne scars. 

The treatment is safe for most people.

The first thing most people notice is how smooth the skin feels with an increased glow and shine. My two favorite benefits were how "glowy" my skin looked and how my makeup sort of melted into my face. 

What type of issues can this facial help with:

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • dull or uneven texture
  • blackheads and whiteheads
  • enlarged pores
  • age spots
  • sun damage

Risks of microdermabrasion

This procedure is safe for most people and requires no downtime. It's a minimally invasive procedure with few risks.

The most common side effects include:

  • mild redness
  • irritation
  • flaking
  • light peeling
  • bruising (which is pretty rare)

Note: However, if you have issues like acne, open sores, or rosacea, it is important to consult with a dermatologist or other skincare professional to ensure that the procedure is right for you.

If you're looking for a way to improve the appearance of your skin, this facial may be right for you.

What does microdermabrasion cost

The average cost of a facial treatment can range anywhere from $100- $300 per session. Many salons offer a package deal including several treatments for discount.

So when you look at the cost of other non-invasive anti-aging treatments or even some high-end wrinkle creams, the cost for a session isn’t bad at all.

But, cost can be an issue for many. The other option to consider is using at home dermabrasion devices. You give themselves a facial on a monthly basis for much less cost. 

However, the results are not as impressive as a professional treatment, but the benefits are cumulative – so over time – results are impressive. Click this link to learn about at-home microdermabrasion devices.

Is microdermabrasion worth it: Cost and benefits

Is it worth getting regular treatments, considering that the cost can be high?

That really depends on your complexion and your budget.

Exfoliating the upper layer of the dermis is a great way to keep it looking healthy and smooth. I noticed a huge difference after just one facial, and it was beautiful!

Those wrinkles and tiny lines are greatly reduced, and the overall texture of the skin is much smoother and rejuvenated.

However, to keep it this way, you'll need repeated treatments.

What are the advantages

Compared to other anti-aging treatments, this low risk procedure offers many advantages. 

  • it's chemically free, so it's safe for pregnant women
  • it's pretty comfortable with little or no pain
  • it's quick, treatments can be done in less than an hour
  • there's no downtime, you can go about your day right after treatment
  • it offers immediate results

What is Microdermabrasion: Key Takeaways

Today's professional microdermabrasion machines offer a safe, quick, minimally invasive treatment that can significantly enhance your skin's appearance.

There is very little down and many people are able to go back to work right after a procedure.

While it can be costly, it might be worth doing a series of treatments once a year and then maintain your results with home microdermabrasion treatments.

What is Microdermabrasion: Q&A

Q: Can you get microdermabrasion during pregnancy?

A: Many dermatologists say it's safe for most women since there are no chemicals involved. But, you should always check with your doctor first.

Q: Is microdermabrasion good for dark spots?

A: Yes, I found that regular facials can help lighten dark spots. However, make sure to avoid the sun shortly after a treatment and always wear a sunscreen.

Also, I found that using a vitamin C serum daily along with monthly exfoliating treatments can help lighten them too. 

Q: Does microdermabrasion remove blackheads

A: Yes. The combination of the rotating diamond tip and the fine stream of blasting crystal salts helps to remove the upper layer of dead cells, exposing the clogged dirt inside the pore.

Q: What is better diamond or crystal microdermabrasion?

Both are pretty effective, and it's a matter of personal preference and skin type. The diamond-tip is considered to be a more gentle form of exfoliation than the crystal spray.

The difference between the two is that diamond microdermabrasion uses a diamond-tipped wand to exfoliate. While the others uses a fine spray made of aluminum oxide or sodium chloride crystals.