Just as your eyes are the windows to your soul, your complexion is often a reflection of your overall health. And like it or not, we as a society attribute a tremendous amount of value to the outward appearance of our skin. We know that eating healthy, drinking adequate amounts of water, and using natural organic skin care products are critical components to healthy, glowing skin. And thanks to websites such as this one, most of us know how to treat our skin preventatively. However – what can we do once the damage is already done?
Thanks to remarkable advances in ‘high-tech’ skin care, there is now an increasing number of safe and highly effective procedures to treat damaged skin. And in the interest of staying true to our mission here, we refer to these recommended treatments as natural -because they allow us to tackle the issues of aging skin and other imperfections without resorting to harsh chemicals, surgery or likewise invasive procedures.
One of the best-known and most effective treatments for damaged skin is known as “Microdermabrasion.” First introduced in the U.S. in the mid 1990’s, microdermabrasion machines have been refined and perfected over the years – and this amazing modality remains one of the most popular medical esthetic procedures. While people previously had to go to professional skincare clinics and pay hundreds of dollars to reap the benefits of this treatment, it is now possible to get fantastic results at a fraction of the cost with a personal at home microdermabrasion machine.
How do microdermabrasion machines work?
Before we can hope to understand why microdermabrasion works so effectively, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of our skin structure. Our skin has two main layers. These layers are the epidermis (the outer layer) and the dermis (the inner layer). The epidermis is the layer we can see with the naked eye. It consists of two sub layers: one is a fine layer of dead skin cells while the other is a layer of maturing cells that lie underneath it. The name for the outer layer of the epidermis is the ‘stratum corneum.’ It is here where we see the visible benefits of microdermabrasion.
The purpose of the stratum corneum is to protect the under layers of our skin against sun damage, dust, bacteria, physical damage, etc. Over time, this outer protective layer is subject to an abundant amount of environmental abuse – and the resulting damage manifests as blemishes, age spots, sunburns and more. During the course of a microdermabrasion treatment, the microdermabrasion machine removes that damaged outer layer of the skin through a manual exfoliation process. The hand- held device has 2 functions: 1.) deep exfoliation is achieved through the use of a diamond tip or aluminum oxide crystals that gently abrade the skin and 2.) suctioning the skin to remove the dead skin cells and stimulate the collagen layers beneath. The mild trauma to the epidermis and the resulting stimulation of collagen allows the stratum corneum rebuild itself in a healthier form. So the results of consistent microdermabrasion treatments is twofold, as well. The immediate result is a smoother, glowing complexion. The cumulative benefit (from the continuing collogen stimulation) is skin that is firmer, plumper and more youthful. These benefits make microdermabrasion the perfect adjunct to any natural anti-aging protocol.
At home microdermabrasion versus professional treatment
As previously mentioned, there are now two options available that allow you to reap the benefits of microdermabrasion. If your schedule and finances allow, you can opt for a professional microdermabrasion treatment at one of your local med spas or dermatologist. Treatments can run anywhere from $150.00 and up, depending on your geoghraphic area. Typically you need need a series of seven to ten treatments to get optimal results, and one treatment a month to maintain your youthful glow.
The second option is to purchase your own personal microdermabrasion machine. There are numerous personal microdermabrasion machines currently on the market. These are basically mini-versions of the professional models, and though they are less powerful, they preform the same functions and deliver excellent results. Beware, however, of the skin care devices that merely provide surface exfoliation via exfoliant scrubs and a hand held massaging device. These claim to be microdermabrasion treatments, but are nothing of the sort. They do not exfoliate the skin deeply enough to stimulate new skin cell production.In order for an a personal microdermabrasion machine to be truly effective it must have diamond tip exfoliation and proper suctioning of the skin.
So which option is best for you? Many people feel that they will get better results having the procedure done in a professional setting. It is only natural that a professional machine is going to be more powerful than the personal machine you would use for at home microdermabrasion. However, those that cannot afford the time and expense of professional treatments, are getting great results with personal microdermabrasion machines. To them, the affordability and convenience of getting microdermbrasion at home allows them to be more consistent with their treatments – making it easier for them to maintain the results.
As with any type of treatment, it is always recommended to consult with a skin care professional before you embark on your first at home microdermabrasion session.
Is there evidence for its effectiveness?
While the above mentioned expectations from microdermabrasion sound very promising, it probably isn’t the first time that you have heard something that sounds ‘too good to be true’. However, the benefits of microdermabrasion are documented through many different clinical studies. One example is a 2001 clinical study published by the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, wherein fourteen patients who underwent microdermabrasion sessions over a period of 12 to 14 weeks noticed significant improvements in their skin conditions.
This is not the placebo effect or someone who ‘believes’ they look better – these clinical studies provide scientific evidence of improvement in roughness, skin discoloration from sun damage and acne scarring. The results also showed decreased melanization and an increased elasticity of the skin.
Again, it is important to be realistic when it comes to reaping the benefits of microdermabrasion at home. While you are going to notice an immediate improvement in your skin after a single at home microdermabrasion session, it is going to take at least three to six initial treatments and ongoing maintenance treatments in order see the most effective results.
What skin conditions are at home microdermabrasion machines effective in treating?
When people ask: ‘will an personal microdermabrasion machine work on my particular skin condition?’ it is important to be realistic. Personal microdermabrasion machines can provide significant benefits when it comes to reducing signs of aging, enlarged pores, acne scars, and sun damage. These specific conditions typically only affect the outer layer of the skin, and as such, microdermabrasion is extremely effective in eliminating them.
However, while one can reap a number of benefits with microdermabrasion treatments, it is important to set realistic expectations. Though microdermabrasion is considered by experts to be one of the most effective acne treatments for minor acne scars, it is not without its limitations. More severe skin conditions such as ‘ice-pick’ acne scars, burns, pigmented birth marks, deep wrinkles and stretch marks will require more invasive procedures such as laser resurfacing treatments. Moreover, if you suffer from any of the following ailments or conditions, microdermabrasion is not recommended:
- Active rosacea
- Fragile capillaries
- Herpetic lesions (herpes)
- Open sores
- Skin lesions
Microdermabrasion is not scary or painful
The description of of microdermabrasion treatment, may sound dangerous or painful. The truth is that the procedure does not cause pain and does not actually damage your skin. The skin does swell and redden for a while, but that is only temporary. With a professional treatment, the redness can last for a few days. However, with an at home microdermabrasion treatment, the redness will typically dissipate within a few hours.
If your concerned about the redness of your skin, I suggest incorporating your at home microdermabrasion treatments into your night time skin care regimen three times a week to start. Doing your treatment at night, followed by your favorite all natural skin care products, will ensure that your skin’s redness will vanish by morning. Additionally, the recuperative sleep following your treatment will enhance the resulting collagen stimulation that is a natural by product of the procedure.
So – is at home microdermabrasion worth it?
The truth is that if you are realistic about its benefits and understand what microdermabrasion can provide you, there is no denying that a personal microdermabrasion machine will be a great investment. Whether you use the treatment for mild acne scarring or use it to combat the signs of aging, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your skin in a very short amount of time.
For more information about at home microdermabrasion options, check out the following resource:
Microderm MD Review – Microderm MD is a professional grade personal microdermabrasion machine that delivers amazing results.