Procedures

Microdermabrasion

For patients who want to treat minor imperfections of the facial skin, microdermabrasion may be a good alternative to the harsher dermabrasion or chemical peels. Using aluminum oxide crystals, baking soda, or salt, microdermabrasion "sand blasts" the face to remove the top (dead) layer of skin, resulting in a fresher, healthier appearance. Microdermabrasion also encourages the production of new cells in the skin's deepest layer and stimulates collagen networking, to further even out skin texture. A simple, virtually painless procedure requiring almost no recovery time, microdermabrasion can address a number of problems such as large pores, blotchy skin, and small scars.

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The machines used in microdermabrasion are rated for two uses: salon and medical grade. The medical grade machines require a physician's license for use, and offer more powerful treatment. A microdermabrasion consultation with a cosmetic surgeon will focus on identifying the problem areas to be addressed through the treatment, and in developing realistic expectations for the outcome of the microdermabrasion. Not all individuals are suited to this procedure: individuals who have active keloids, undiagnosed lesions, recent herpes outbreaks, warts, active weeping acne, active rosacea, unstable diabetes or auto-immune disorders should not undergo this treatment. Good candidates for microdermabrasion include individuals with acne prone or blotchy skin, small scars, rhytides, keratoses, large pores, milia, or sebaceous hyperplasia. Microdermabrasion can also help improve the condition of sun damaged skin.

A microdermabrasion treatment will generally take 20 to 30 minutes for the face. If the treated area includes the neck and upper chest area, the microdermabrasion could take an hour. Patients have described the sensation of the treatment as similar to a slight windburn. If the microdermabrasion treatment becomes uncomfortable, the controls can be adjusted to lessen the suction or the level of the blast. Rehydrating toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen are applied following microdermabrasion before the patient leaves the office. Slight redness is expected, but should not persist more than a few hours, and the feeling of a slight windburn or sunburn should diminish in the same amount of time.

After receiving a microdermabrasion treatment, the patient needs to take care of the new skin, by avoiding sun exposure for seven days, using high quality sun protection. Patients should also avoid skin exfoliants, alpha-hydroxy acid, and glycolic acids for 72 hours before and after a microdermabrasion treatment. Although liquid foundation and pressed powder should not be used for at least 24 hours following the procedure, lipstick and mascara may be applied immediately after a microdermabrasion.

There is virtually no recovery time or discomfort and patients can return to work immediately. In many cases, microdermabrasion treatment involves a series of procedures-often 4-6 treatments at 7-10 day intervals to allow the skin time to heal. The risks associated with microdermabrasion are almost non-existent. The medical grade machines used at high power carry some potential risk of hyperpigmentation, perforation, bleeding, or infection.