What The Heck Is Microdermabrasion?

Beauty + Fashion

Microdermabrasion.

Did you say that right?

More to the point, could you spell it correctly if somebody asked you on the spot?

Despite the unpleasantly long name, microdermabrasion (my-crow-dur-ma-bray-shun), is one of the most exciting treatments in cosmetics right now. It’s a kind of halfway house between a face scrub and a chemical peel.

The way the treatment works is pretty simple. A nurse of your dermatologist uses a handheld device that contains a bunch of crystals to “sand down” your face and remove the outer layer of skin. Removing the outer layer of skin reveals younger skin underneath, forcing the body to renew cells and go into repair mode. The sanding process semi-damages the skin, causing an adaptive response where new cells grow back in a way that you’d usually see during an injury.

It sounds bad, but it’s similar in concept to exercise. Exercise damages your body slightly while you’re doing it, but that damage prompts your body to come back stronger and healthier. The same thing happens to your skin during microdermabrasion: the dermatologist induces a small amount of damage, and then the body kicks into high gear, activating repair pathways which improve the appearance and resilience of the skin.

How Does Dermabrasion Help?

People usually use dermabrasion for two reasons: to reduce the appearance of acne scars, and to combat age spots. Some people think that acne scars are with them for life. But it turns out that there’s a lot that you can do to reduce their appearance through simple facials that use dermabrasion. After successive treatments, acne scars often look far less visible and, in some lucky cases, can disappear entirely.

How Long Does It Take?

Dermabrasion treatment usually lasts between 30 and 40 minutes for the face and around 20 minutes for the neck. After treatment, your skin will look swollen, red, and blotchy. To put it bluntly, you’ll look terrible. But over time, the skin will heal and, as discussed, come back stronger.

Dermabrasion won’t make your wrinkles disappear or add any plumpness to your face – you’ll need other treatments for that – but it will help you look like a better version of yourself. You’ll look less tired, less drawn and your skin should be tighter and more supple.

Different people have different responses to treatment. Some can see a dramatic effect, while others don’t notice much at all. It all depends on the unique ability of your skin to respond to stress.

How Long Do You Need To Wait Between Treatments?

It’s unlikely that you’ll see a big difference in your appearance after just one treatment. Usually, people need between five and fifteen treatments to see a big difference in the appearance of their face. It’s a bit like exercise: the more you do it, the better the results.

The skin needs time to recover from each round of therapy, so you can’t get treatment one day back to back with another. Most people wait between two weeks and a month between sessions.

Dirty and Thirty

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