If you find that there’s only so much physical exfoliators and acids are doing for your problem skin – whether you suffer with pigmentation, acne scars, uneven skin texture or clogged pores – it might be time to bring out the big guns. Enter microdermabrasion, the professional skin treatment that promises clearer, healthier, radiant skin in virtually next to no time at all.
What Is Microdermabrasion?
Nope, it’s not the one with the little needles, so you can banish Kim Kardashian’s infamous bloody face selfie from your mind ASAP.
Not as complicated, or uncomfortable, as it sounds, microdermabrasion is ‘exfoliation in the form of spraying tiny crystals at the skin – usually the face – to remove dead skin cells on the surface’, says Dr. Sandro Sansoni from the The Baldan Group.
‘Microdermabrasion uses a variable flow of vacuum suction to maintain contact with the skin whilst the crystals (or diamond tips) get to work by smoothing and buffing the skin’s surface,’ says Lorraine Scrivener, skin expert and founder of Eden Skin Clinics.
‘This depends on the percentage of vacuum suction and the grade of crystals chosen by your skincare expert. There are a few different types of microdermabrasion treatments, from diamond tips to crystals and different crystal grades, but this is very much dependent on the clinic carrying out the treatment and the equipment they choose.’
What Does Microdermabrasion Do For Your Skin?
It all sounds pretty cool, but what does the treatment actually do for your skin?
Dr Sophie Shotter explains, ‘microdermabrasion is an in-clinic mechanical exfoliation treatment. Buffing away the dead skin cells leaves the skin looking more radiant and feeling smoother. It can help improve surface texture and very superficial fine lines and wrinkles’.
According to The Baldan Group, ‘Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular non-surgical skin resurfacing treatments.’ The expert exfoliating technique can banish common skin bugbears such as:
- Uneven pigmentation
- Fine lines
- Clogged pores
- Enlarged pores
- Post-acne marks
- Uneven skin texture
- Excessive oil
- Dry skin
And that’s before we’ve touched on its ability to trigger increased levels of collagen and elastin (hello plump, pillowy skin), to allow better absorption of skincare products (meaning better results) and the fact that it reveals newer, healthier cells, lending your face an otherworldly glow.
Related article: How To Get Rid Of Cystic Acne: Causes, Treatments and Prevention
What Does Microdermabrasion Feel Like?
‘The sensation of the treatment feels like mild scratching,’ says Lorraine. ‘Some clients describe it as feeling like a windy day at the beach. The treatment is comfortable with a satisfying sensation of feeling hoovered, buffed and polished to leave skin feeling squeaky clean, and positively glowing.’
Just don’t be put off by the word ‘scratching.’ Mostly, you can just feel the suction of the of the vacuum as it glides over your skin. It’s a little more apparent in certain areas, such as your cheeks and around your nose, where you’re a little fleshier.
Overall, it’s a super-fast and non-invasive treatment, which means that there’s zero downtime, so you can fit it in during your lunch break and not have to worry about scaring anyone off with red raw cheeks.
Important Things To Remember About Microdermabrasion
According to dermatologists, those with darker skin should take caution when looking into treatments like microdermabrasion. Why? There is a chance the treatment could cause skin pigmentation – not ideal when all you’re after is a flawless complexion, right?
‘Aesthetic procedures, such as dermabrasion (or certain types of laser and chemical peels) can induce post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation, which is the dermatological term used to describe increased melanin production, leading to darker discolouration of the skin following inflammation or injury,’ explains London-based Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Justine Kluk.
‘The process is more common in skin of colour, where is can also be more intense and more prolonged,’ – so, always make sure to discuss the risks carefully with your doctor before booking in for microdermabrasion or any similar treatments.
And according to Dr. Sandro Sansoni, microdermabrasion is not recommended if you have skin conditions like Rosacea, Eczema, Lupus or open wounds. ‘The treatment stimulates blood flow to the face, which can irritate the skin and cause further problems […] it’s best to consult a specialist if you are unsure.’
Dr Sophie Shotter also warns against getting the treatment done if you have sensitive skin. ‘I wouldn’t recommend microdermabrasion for very fragile skin prone to thread veins. The mechanical exfoliation can worsen thread veins on the face in patients who are prone to it. It will also have no significant effects on deep acne scars or deeper lines and wrinkles – if you’re looking to address these, then other treatments will be more suitable’.
And as always, it pays to protect your new, healthy skin cells from UV by using an SPF. The derms rate Heliocare’s Advanced SPF 50 Gel.
This article originally appeared on ELLE UK.