Microdermabrasion is a skin care procedure which can be performed either in a spa setting or at home with specialized creams. While the initial procedure was reportedly first performed in Italy in 1985, the technique has gained a large amount of popularity since. The procedure became widely used among celebrities but because it costs far less than other treatments like Botox or face lifts, the practice has caught on with the mainstream population as well. So what is the procedure of microdermabrasion and why has it become so popular?
First, we need to have some understanding of the anatomy of our skin. There are two layers to the skin called the dermis and the epidermis. The dermis is the lower layer where new skins cells are developing. Skin cells are being regenerated constantly so this is an ongoing process. The epidermis is the outside layer or the barrier between your body and the contaminants we come in contact with every day. Your skin, the body’s largest organ and the one that sometimes gets the least amount of attention, protects the body from germs, dirt, viruses and other microorganisms 24 hours a day. The very top layer of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum where one would be most likely to find imperfections like wrinkles, lines, and blemishes. Microdermabrasion sloughs off this top layer of battle-scarred skin to reveal the newer, healthy skin cells below. The procedure works basically the same way whether it is done at a spa or at home though the materials used may vary.
In a spa setting, the mediums used to slough off the stratum corneum can be very fine crystals such as aluminum oxide, sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate. The process is called the Venturi Suction process and uses a specialized tool that shoots a stream of the crystals onto the skin and then vacuums the dead skin cells at the same time. This results in mild swelling and redness which causes the body to respond by creating more new, healthy cells. Usually the redness and swelling goes away in a few hours but for some, this can last a few days. Often when the top layer of skin is removed, medicated creams or hydrating lotions are applied. These products tend to be more effective and provide better results when they are applied to the newly revealed skin. Normally, the result is softer skin, fewer wrinkles and finer lines, but in some cases, microdermabrasion that has been performed incorrectly can result in unwanted side effects. These include bruising, discoloration, and permanent discoloration.
For home use, many microdermabrasion creams utilize the same crystals and techniques found in spa settings. The creams are applied and rubbed on the skin to slough of the dead layer instead of using a special tool, though some also come with applicators or vacuums that are similar to what might be used in a spa.
Treatments at a spa tend to cost anywhere from $100-$200 but home treatments can be just $50-$80. With both options it is recommended that the microdermabrasion can be done several times throughout the year for the best results. Microdermabrasion may be a viable option for an affordable skin care treatment whether at home or at the spa.