Microdermabrasion is my favorite “no down time” skin care procedure and the most popular aesthetician service in my practice. A medical aesthetician in my office passes a small tube across your face. The tube has small sand-like particles rushing through it. A small opening in the tube is placed on your skin. The skin is gently sucked into the tube, into the stream of particles. These rushing particles resurface or exfoliate your skin, removing sebum, unblocking pores and removing dead skin cells and superficial pigment. These treatments also stimulate the production of new collagen in the upper layers of the dermis.
Following microdermabrasion, your skin looks and feels smooth and refreshed. Because dead skin has been removed, topical treatments like Retin A, Retinol, AHAs, and Vitamin C can more easily penetrate the skin. Skin biopsies have shown that, following six microdermabrasion treatments, the epithelium is thicker and healthier-looking and there is an increase in superficial dermal collagen. Both are important goals in any anti-aging treatment (1). In addition to providing significant microscopic improvement in the skin, microdermabrasion patients report high satisfaction with the treatment in clinical studies.
While these skin care treatments are performed in salons, my feeling is that they should be done by a medical aesthetician under the supervision of a doctor. If something goes wrong—perhaps a too deep treatment causes bleeding or infection— a salon is not the proper place to be! More importantly, microdermabrasion is most effective if used in an overall, multi-step rejuvenation program involving prescription topical creams and other more invasive procedures, which only can be done in a physician’s office.