Microdermabrasion, also sometimes referred to as microderm, is a non-invasive treatment to exfoliate the skin, which can help improve complexion by making the skin appear smoother, brighter, and lighter. The procedure is considered to be safe for individuals with all skin types and colors.
Individuals can purchase a microdermabrasion kit for at-home use. Alternatively, a dermatologist who has specialized knowledge and skills in skin care can carry out the procedure. Microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist is usually a more intense treatment that goes deeper into the skin.
Microdermabrasion carried out by a dermatologist involves the use of a hand-held device that removes the external layer of skin, the stratum corneum, in a delicate manner. The process takes approximately half an hour to treat the face and slightly lesser time for the neck.
The procedure is not painful, although patients may report a sensation on the skin of rubbing or sanding. Some people also describe this as similar to a cat licking the face. The skin may become mildly red and swollen for a few days after the procedure, similar to the effects of sunburn on the skin.
Following the procedure, a moisturizer should be applied to the skin to help the skin to recover. Patients should also be informed about appropriate skin care for the days following the procedure. In particular, it is important to protect the skin from exposure to sunlight to reduce the risk of side effects.
For most individuals, a series of microdermabrasion treatments are required to produce visible results. The procedure may be repeated weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on the specific case. Most patients have between 5 and 16 treatments to achieve the desired result.
The results of microdermabrasion are not permanent, although it can be maintained for a significant length of time with the appropriate care. Patients are advised to limit exposure to the sun and continue to moisturize the skin. However, the aging process of the skin cannot be stopped completely.
Many patients want to undergo microdermabrasion to improve the appearance of their skin. The procedure can make significant changes to their skin to make it look younger and more vibrant. People may opt for microdermabrasion if they have:
- Dull complexion
- Visible spots of aging
- Scars or spot from acne
- Uneven skin tone or texture
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that is widely considered to be safe with few adverse effects. However, there are some individuals for whom the procedure may not be appropriate.
If the candidate has a spot on the skin that is growing or changing, this may be indicative of skin cancer. In this case, it is recommended to undertake adequate screening and treatment, if needed, before performing microdermabrasion.
For people who are taking medication to treat severe acne, such as isotretinoin, microdermabrasion is not recommended. Instead, it is best to stop the medication and wait for several months before the procedure.
Microdermabrasion may not be the best option for people with skin that scars easily, as the procedure may do more harm to the appearance of their skin.
The financial cost of the procedure is an inhibitive factor for many individuals who may want to undergo dermabrasion. As it is a cosmetic procedure that serves to improve appearance and does not have other health benefits, it is not covered by most insurance plans and must be self-funded.
Reviewed by Susha Cheriyedath, MSc