What is microdermabrasion (MDA)?

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive superficial exfoliation treatment that removes the uppermost layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum.) 

The two methods of microdermabrasion are crystal and diamond tip.

How does microdermabrasion work?

First, the skin is thoroughly cleansed and steamed. Steam softens the upper layers of skin and opens the pores. Using a handheld device, a mild abrasion will be targeted to specific areas of the skin. Simultaneously, the device will vacuum up any excess crystals while stimulating circulation to the epidermal layers of the skin. This drives nutrients and oxygen to the epidermis, which is void of blood vessels.

The crystals are responsible for removing dead skin cells. This prevents bacteria and debris from being trapped under the surface and restores vibrancy to the skin. Combined, the treatment stimulates collagen and elastin production. It stimulates cellular regeneration and promotes blood flow to the epidermal layers of the skin.

Is aluminum oxide safe?

Aluminum oxide crystals are considered safe and non-toxic if ingested. They do not contain carcinogens and do not cause adverse skin reactions. The crystals are perfectly round and do not cause micro-tears in the skin like certain scrubs or salts.

The equipment wand is designed to simultaneously release and suction up crystals. We use a warm towel to remove any residual crystals at my salon. (Ask any of my current clients and they will tell you the warm towel is their favorite part.)

Is microdermabrasion suitable for me?

MDA is generally safe for all skin types, ages 12 to 65+. This treatment is beneficial for both men and women. If you live a busy life and desire a treatment you can schedule over your lunch break, this is a great solution for you.

What should I ask my microdermabrasion consultant?

Depending on the condition of your skin and the desired results, the number of treatments will vary. You should discuss your health history to determine if microdermabrasion is the best treatment for you. Your provider will determine your skin type and help you set reasonable and achievable goals. Be sure to ask about contraindications and before and after photos.

How much time does microdermabrasion take?

The most common treated area is the face and takes 20-30 minutes. The neck and other areas of the body are safe to treat as well, but will increase service time. A face, neck, and chest service usually takes 45 minutes.

What are microdermabrasion treatments good for?

Maintaining healthy skin or correcting fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, hyperpigmentation (age spots and sun damage,) uneven skin tone, mild to moderate acne, oily skin, dull, lifeless skin, and aging skin.

How does microdermabrasion help acne?

Acne is a disease of the hair follicle and involves the sebaceous gland. Stress and other lifestyle factors cause sebum production to increase. When sebum is in excess, the calcium gradient is altered and stimulates the proliferation of cells.

The abundance of new cells accumulate in the neck of the follicle. Additionally, acneic skin has a reduced ability to slough and exfoliate. The excess sebum plus the abundance of cells cause the follicle to become inflamed and engorged with bacteria. (Imagine a cork inside of a wine bottle.)

As we age, we heal slower. MDA speeds up the healing process by exfoliating dead skin cells more aggressively than the body. Dirt and bacteria are no longer trapped under the surface. This reduces the number of breakouts that would normally occur.     

Pigmentation from acne break outs heal quicker because the treatment regenerates cells while removing the build up of skin.

How do I prepare for my microdermabrasion?

Discontinue use of any and all exfoliating agents 7 days prior to your MDA. Do not wax the week prior to a microdermabrasion and do not smoke. Discontinue use of NSAIDS 7 days prior to service. Avoid contact with the sun for 7-14 days prior to treatment. Avoid scheduling an appointment if you are red or burned for 14 days.

(To read more on what to do before a microdermabrasion click here.)

What should I expect during my microdermabrasion?

The procedure is painless and quite comfortable. Your provider will cleanse the skin. Working counter clockwise, they will start with the right side of the forehead and finish with the left. Your skin may feel slightly itchy at first, but you will acclimate quickly. You may feel tender or sensitive around the eyes. 

Any excess crystals will be removed with a sponge or towel. Moisturizers and SPF will be applied to nourish and protect the skin. Initially your skin will feel a sensation of cleanliness and smoothness.

What can microdermabrasion do for my skin?

Safe for all skin types, MDA is a slow and progressive process. Without removing pigment from the skin, it can improve uneven skin tone and issues with pigmentation.

Working in the superficial layers of the skin, it can aid in the appearance of acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin texture. The treatment reduces build up of sebum and debris in the pores and can help reduce pore size over time. It also reduces acne breakouts and oil production.

One of the best no-down-time anti aging treatments on the market, microdermabrasion promotes the production of collagen and elastin and actually helps thicken the skin.

How often can I have microdermabrasion?

This depends entirely on your skin. For reparative treatments, we recommend every 10-14 days. Lighter treatments can be received as soon as 7 days apart.

For maintenance purposes, we recommend every 4 weeks. The cells naturally turn every 28 days. To ensure they proliferate (multiply) rapidly, we need to shock the skin by removing the “protective” layer of skin (stratum corneum.) 

By removing this layer, the basal layer (where daughter cells are produced) will be forced to replicate the cells. This will promote collagen and elastin production and thicken the skin layers.

Can I go back to work after microdermabrasion?

You sure can! Your skin may appear red for a few hours after the service, but that will subside. The stimulation of blood flow to the upper layers of the skin causes the appearance of redness, and this is a good thing.

Can I wear makeup after microdermabrasion?

Yes, if it is mineral makeup. I personally do not recommend wearing makeup the day of service.  My philosophy is to allow the skin to heal and breath. However, it will not harm the skin should you wear makeup after your treatment.

How do I take care of my skin after microdermabrasion?

Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser twice daily. Apply a moisturizer and always wear your sunscreen. Even if you are just going to and from your car. Avoid direct contact with the sun for the first 48 hours. Avoid exposure to the sun for the first 7 days. A broad spectrum (covering UVA and UVB rays) SPF 30+ must be worn.

Discontinue use of exfoliating serums or scrubs for 7 days. Resume use of your clarisonic and vitamin containing serums after 48 hours. Do not pick or scrub the skin! If you have any visible cellular regeneration (flakiness) apply more moisturizer and massage lightly during cleansing to help speed this process.

(Click here to read more on what to do after a microdermabrasion.)

Who is not a candidate for microdermabrasion?

Clients with any of the following conditions should not receive MDA: active rosacea, fragile capillaries or vascular lesions, active onset acne (acne pustules), warts, uncontrolled diabetes, open sores, active herpes outbreak or susceptibility to breakouts.

If you are/were on Accutane you must wait 6-12 months before a microdermabrasion.

Are there any risks with microdermabrasion?

The treatment is minimally invasive and safe. Most risks are a result of an unsanitary environment or implements.

Your provider should always be wearing gloves and using fresh gauze, sponges, and towels to cleanse the skin. The MDA tip should be sterilized before and after use. If you are coupling extractions with the service, the metal implement should be sterilized as well.

In some instances with more sensitive individuals, light bruising, persistent redness, scabbing, or mild peeling can occur. These symptoms will heal without any long term damage to the skin.