Understanding Microdermabrasion

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 31, 2017)

Microdermabrasion—sounds scary, doesn't it? Cutting to the chase, microdermabrasion is exactly what it suggests: the removing of part of your skin (derm) by tiny (micro) abrasive items (abrasion). It is tantamount to using very, very fine sandpaper to finish wood and give it a smooth surface.

That may sound like a strange comparison, but it is very appropriate. Microdermabrasion done professionally uses very small crystals of abrasives such as aluminum oxide, sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate to break up the topmost layer of your skin.

Your skin is made up of two general layers: the dermis and the epidermis. The epidermis is closer to the outside world (it is the part you feel when you touch your skin), and it protects the lower dermis. The top layer of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum, consists of dead cells that act as a shield and barrier to the lower layers of skin. Skin cells are always progressing from the dermis to the epidermis as they age, and they finally slough off your skin naturally.

In a microdermabrasion process, an abrasive compound is placed on your skin and then, with the aid of some sort of mechanical device (in the case of professional treatments), used to grind off the cells of the stratum corneum. This grinding may be done for practical reasons, such as removing built-up skin cells in a callous that are not sloughing off naturally. It may also be done for cosmetic reasons, in an effort to rejuvenate skin and make it appear younger.

It is this latter instance in which many beauty seekers are interested. Microdermabrasion is used to remove the stratum corneum because that is the layer of skin where minor skin imperfections occur, such as fine wrinkle lines, sun damage, and blemishes. If the layer is removed, then the imperfections are removed, as well.

Besides removing small imperfections, many people feel that microdermabrasion makes their skin have a younger, youthful "glow." This is because if you remove the stratum corneum, your body sees that as a mild injury and attempts to replace the lost skin cells with newer, healthier ones. The newer, fresher skin cells give a different look than the older, dryer (and deader) cells that were removed.

Although there are home kits you can use, it is usually best to get microdermabrasion treatments in a professional spa or dermatologist's office. Treatments generally run about $100 to $200, and you will need two or three treatments per year. The home kits are about half the price of the professional treatments, and they may not give as good of results as you would like.

Some people have had some side effects from microdermabrasion. It is not unusual for there to be redness and mild swelling that can last from a few hours to a few days. In addition, because of the abrasive nature of microdermabrasion, the skin will be dryer than before. For this reason, treatments should always be followed with the application of some sort of moisturizer.

Not everyone is a good candidate for microdermabrasion. In general, you should be in good health and free of certain types of skin diseases. For example, people with warts, skin lesions, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, serious acne, herpes, lupus, or active rosacea should not receive microdermabrasion treatments.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the Orientation of Your Chart

Microsoft Graph is a great way to add simple charts to your documents. Once you've got a graph added, you might want to ...

Discover More

Finding the Directory Name

Need to know the directory (folder) in which a workbook was saved? You can create a formula that will return this information ...

Discover More

Can't Place Merge Field in Header of a Catalog Merge Document

Word can perform several different types of mail merge operations, and the type you choose can affect how you are able to use ...

Discover More
More Beauty Tips

Getting Rid of Rough Skin

Rough skin can be such an appearance frustration, and often it can be hard to know how to deal with it. Here are a few tips ...

Discover More

Lightening Skin Blotches

Blemishes on the skin in the form of spots or blotches are completely normal. If you feel the need to lighten these you can ...

Discover More

When to Call the Dermatologist

Dermatology deals with issues affecting the skin like severe acne, skin cancer and reoccurring rashes. Seeking a specialist ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured beauty tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)