Laguna Hills, CA 92653
What is microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a very popular, modern, machine assisted gentle skin exfoliating treatment. Other names for this include “microderm”, dermabrasion, lunchtime peel, Vacubrasion, crystal-free peel, Parisian Peel, and Diamond Peel.
Vacubrasion represents the future of home microdermabrasion and is a new patent pending microdermabrasion device introduce in 2012 to provide very economical, safe, and natural home skin care for every budget. While professional microdermabrasion machines costs upwards of $10,000 to $18,000, and other home microdermabrasion units range from $180-$350, Vacubrasion levels the playing field for everyone with the basic unit costing less than $50 and no monthly consumables.
Microdermabrasion and Vacubrasion are fairly simple, easy, painless, non-invasive, skin rejuvenation procedures using a combination of a fine abrasive tip or crystals and vacuum suction applied to the skin. Typically there are no needles or anesthetics required for microdermabrasion. The vacuum pressure and speed are adjusted depending on the sensitivity and tolerance of the skin. Microdermabrasion is often compared to the feeling of a cat licking your face- a rough but gentle texture. Typical microdermabrasion sessions can last anywhere from 5-60 minutes. Minimal to no recovery time is required after microdermabrasion and most people immediately return to daily activity after a session. Vacubrasion sessions at home range anywhere from 2-5 minutes for most people and can be done 1 to 3 times a week. Makeup and non-irritating creams can usually be applied right after microdermabrasion and vacubrasion.
Often called “Microderm” for short, this is a procedure to help exfoliate or temporarily remove a few of the top layers of the skin called the stratum corneum. Much like brushing your teeth, microderm helps to gently remove “plaque” and skin debris. Since human skin typically regenerates at approximately 30 day intervals, skin improvement with microdermabrasion is temporary and needs to be repeated at average intervals of 2-4 weeks for continued improvement. Multiple treatments in combination with sunscreen, sun avoidance, and other skin care creams yield best results.
Microdermabrasion is a skin resurfacing procedure which has advantages of low risk and rapid recovery compared to the other more invasive resurfacing methods such as dermabrasion, chemical peeling, and laser resurfacing. Since microdermabrasion produces only a very superficial depth of removal, it works best on improving superficial skin conditions such as early photoaging (sun damage), fine lines, age spots, enlarged pores, acne, and superficial scarring. Usually multiple treatments (6 – 12 sessions) are recommended to see a significant improvement. Initially, people choose weekly treatments, and then gradually extend to monthly or bimonthly maintenance or touch up treatments.
Who should get microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is very useful for people with dull or sallow skin, mild acne, acne discoloration, pick marks, and very superficial acne scars. Individuals with deeper acne scars may expect a much longer series of treatments or likely benefit from physician performed surgical dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.
Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive (no needles, no surgery) procedure with essentially no downtime. Treatment risks are very minimal and may include temporary skin discoloration- darker or less commonly lighter skin areas ( called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation)/ or scarring are very low compared to other more traditional resurfacing approaches. Therefore, microdermabrasion may be a good treatment option for patients with superficial skin problems and busy lifestyles.
Microdermabrasion should not be confused with dermabrasion which is an invasive surgical procedure performed typically by dermatologists or plastic surgeons under local or general anesthesia. This was a very popular procedure for deeper acne scars. Dermabrasion requires anesthesia and would be too painful otherwise. Dermabrasion has been performed with sand paper like products and machine rotary devices to sand down the skin. Layers of epidermis are usually removed and the resulting open wounds may take from 5-20 days to fully heal. The risk of infection is much higher with this type of invasive procedure. Dermabrasion is also performed for certain types of deep scars. It should not be performed by non-specialized physicians fully trained in this highly technical procedure.
How does microdermabrasion work?
Traditionally, crystal microdermabrasion system contains a pump, a connecting tube, a hand piece, and a vacuum. While the pump creates a high-pressure stream of inert crystals, such as aluminum oxide, magnesium oxide, sodium chloride, and sodium bicarbonate, to abrade the skin, the vacuum removes the crystals and exfoliated skin cells. Alternatively, the inert crystals can be replaced by a roughened surface of the tip in the diamond microdermabrasion system.
Unlike the crystal microdermabrasion system, the diamond microdermabrasion machine does not produce particles from crystals that may be inhaled into patients’ nose or blow into eyes. Hence, diamond microdermabrasion is safer for use on areas around the eyes and lips. Generally, the slower the movement of the hand piece against the skin and the more numbers of passes over the skin, the deeper the treatment.
How does vacubrasion work?
Vacubrasion works identical to traditional crystal-free microdermabrasion. Vacubrasion gently combines the natural strength of vacuum suction and the natural beauty of exfoliation of fine diamond flakes. Vacubrasion’s diamond encrusted steel tips allow a fully chemical free exfoliation of the top layers of skin. Vacubrasion systems contain a connecting tube, a hand piece, a stainless steel tip, and a vacuum. While the vacuum gently lifts the skin and stimulates local circulation and lymphatic flow, the lifted skin is gently exfoliated in a controlled manner and dead cells are carried off the skin. Vacubrasion uses no chemicals, crystals, or needles.
Similarly, Vacubrasion tends to be much safer than many older, crystal based microdermabrasion machines because Vacurasion does not produce particles from crystals that may be inhaled into patients’ nose or blow into their eyes. Hence, Vacubrasion is safer for use on areas around the eyes and lips. Generally, the slower the movement of the hand piece against the skin and the more numbers of passes over the skin, the deeper the treatment.
Which areas can I have microdermabrasion?
Although the face is the most common area for microdermabrasion, any skin area including neck, chest, back, and hands may be treated.
What ages are okay for microdermabrasion?
While there are no specific age or sex restrictions, typically children over age 12 up to adults age 65 can get microdermabrasion. While there is no age maximum, mature skin over age 70 may have slightly higher risks of bruising and skin abrasions. Individuals younger
than age 12 may also get treatment under the care of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
How often can I have microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion can be done as frequently as weekly or up to every 8 weeks depending on your skin’s tolerance and desired cosmetic effects. Many people choose to start with weekly treatments for 3 sessions, then change to a monthly maintenance regimen.
Typical Microderm Schedule:
- Week 1: 1st session
- Week 2: 2nd session
- Week 3: 3rd session
- Monthly: 4th- 12th sessions
Much like brushing your teeth, microdermabrasion helps to gently remove “plaque” and skin debris. Since human skin typically regenerates at approximately 30 day intervals, skin improvement with microdermabrasion is temporary and needs to be repeated at average intervals of 2-4 weeks for continued improvement. Usually multiple treatments (6 – 12 sessions) are recommended to see a significant improvement.
What are different types of microdermabrasion?
Water or Hydrabasion
What are microdermabrasion crystals made of?
Microderm crystals are typically made of a very fine, abrasive material like aluminum oxide. Other inert microderm crystals include magnesium oxide, sodium chloride, and sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium chloride (salt)
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Most ultrafine white crystals are disposable and should be discarded after each use. The microderm vacuum removes the crystals and exfoliated skin cells. Inhalation of crystals should be avoided and masks are often worn by the operator doing the treatment. There are some possible concerns of inhalation exposure and basic safety precautions should be taken.
Alternatively, microderm crystals can be replaced by the roughened surface of a diamond tip microdermabrasion system.
What does the vacuum do in microdermabrasion?
The vacuum part of microdermabrasion has four basic roles:
It gently pulls and lifts a small section of skin for micro abrasion.
It can spray a stream of crystals across the targeted skin area.
It focally stimulates blood circulation and creates mild swelling in the skin.
It collects the used crystals and dead skin in a receptacle for easy disposal.
What should people expect before and after microdermabrasion?
Generally, softer and smoother skin that feels fresher and more rejuvenated is the expected outcome after a session of microdermabrasion. Before starting the microdermabrasion treatment, eye protection such as eye pads or goggles may be placed. Often the skin may be prepared and cleaned of makeup and oils. Yet, no topical or local anesthetic is required. The skin will be stretched to provide some tension in order to achieve the most effective abrasion and vacuum. The hand piece is moved over the skin with repeated single, smooth passes. Usually, 2-4 passes per area are sufficient.
Mild pinkness of the skin is the desired outcome and usually resolves within minutes to hours after microdermabrasion. In addition, mild exfoliation of skin may occur as well. Continuously apply moisturizer or ointment if exfoliation occurs. Patients may also experience mild sunburn like sensation for a few days. Moreover, liberal application of sunscreen is recommended as photosensitivity may be increased after treatment.
Microdermabrasion, especially with the coarse diamond-studded instrument, may potentially help stimulate the production of collage, thereby helping skin rejuvenation. As age spots from early photoaging and fine lines are diminished, the skin may become softer and smoother.
Because microdermabrasion only causes a superficial injury of the skin, it works most effectively for fine lines, shallow scars, and dull skin. Lesions like deep wrinkles, scars or ice-pick acne scars, and stretch marks tend to extend into the deeper layers of the dermis and usually require more aggressive skin resurfacing modalities to treat. Similarly, microdermabrasion may not be as effective for deeper pigment problems including dermal melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
What are the benefits of microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion can create superficial ablation on skin, primarily in the epidermis, which helps remove the outermost dead skin cells and accelerate the rate of skin rejuvenation. As a result, microdermabrasion can be an effective procedure for fine lines and more superficial scars. For patients who have concerns of photoaging, microdermabrasion may be a preventative measure. Studies have also shown that microdermabrasion facilitates the absorption of some topical medications through increasing the permeability of the skin. In the long-round, sun damage and photoaging may be partially decreased and skin moisture improved. Since microdermabrasion only causes superficial skin removal, scarring and pigment changes are very rare. Moreover, microdermabrasion possesses the advantages of rapid recovery and low risk and has little or no impact on patients’ lifestyle.
Does microdermabrasion help with acne scars?
Microdermabrasion may be very useful for people with active acne, mild acne discoloration, pick marks, and very superficial or raised acne scars. Dermatologists use microdermabrasion to help unclog pores and clear acne. Often used in combination with gentle glycolic peels and medical acne extractions, microderm can help speed up acne clearing.
Individuals with deeper acne scars may expect a much longer series of treatments or likely benefit from physician performed surgical dermabrasion or laser resurfacing. As a general rule, the greater the potential benefits with a cosmetic treatment, the greater the potential risks and side effects. The possible risks with more aggressive treatments like dermabrasion and laser are much greater than microdermabrasion.
Deeply pitted acne scars would, at best, be expected to respond minimally to microdermabrasion. Pitted or depressed scars are very difficult to treat and may require combination treatments including subcision, punch excision, punch elevation, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and medium to deep chemical peels including 35% Trichloracetic acid (TCA) or phenol peels.
Can microdermabrasion help with melasma?
Yes, microderm can be helpful in treating melasma and other types of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Best combination melasma treatment typically may include biweekly or monthly microderm, glycolic acid peels, fading creams like hydroquinone 4%, and daily zinc based sunscreens. You can do at home microderm or have in office professional treatments. Multiple treatments in combination with sunscreen and sun avoidance, and other creams help yield best results.
Does insurance pay for microdermabrasion?
These procedures are almost always considered cosmetic and not be paid by traditional medical insurance companies. Since microderm is often used to treat medical conditions like acne, acne scarring, melasma, and keratosis pilaris, it may be possible to deduct some costs as medical expenses. In appropriate cases, payment options may include using benefits of plans like Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Health Remittance Accounts (HRA) to pay for microderm. You will want to check the specific benefits and provisions of your plan and also review your tax deductions with a tax professional.
Can microderm help with keratosis pilaris (KP)?
Microderm can help temporarily improve the appearance of KP (especially on the upper arms) and decrease the number of plugged follicles. Microderm may be a good treatment before special events like the prom, weddings, and summer vacation. Best combination KP treatment includes biweekly or monthly microderm, lactic acid lotions like Lac-Hydrin lotion or Amlactin, and weekly glycolic acid peels. You can do at home microderm or have in office professional treatments. Although KP is not curable, combination treatments help control symptoms and yield best results.
What are possible side effects of microdermabrasion?
Potential side effects of microdermabrasion are minimal and this is a very safe procedure. Potential drawbacks are very limited in that microderm only affects the epidermis, which is the outermost skin layer. Common minor, temporary side effects include slight skin tightness, redness, bruising, and sensitivity. As a general rule, the greater the potential benefits with a cosmetic treatment, the greater the potential risks and side effects. The possible risks with more aggressive treatments like dermabrasion and laser are much greater than microdermabrasion.
Possible side effects:
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation ( PIH)
Small skin abrasions
Spots of bleeding
Eye skin Bruising (especially if you are taking aspirin or other blood thinners)
Fine Broken blood vessels (telangiectasia)
Cold sore reactivation around lips
Cold sore reactivation may uncommonly occur after microderm around lips. If you have had a lot of previous cold sores, consider either avoiding treatment around the lip borders or asking your doctor about taking an antiviral pill prophylactically. A typical cold ore prevention regimen may be to start an antiviral pill like acyclovir ( Zovirax) 800mg or valacyclovir (Valtrex) 1 gram once a day starting the day before and continuing for 1-2 days after your treatment. Antiviral creams are not recommended for effective cold sore prevention.
Overly aggressive microderm may cause breaks in skin and resulting post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Also over-aggressive treatment may cause an increased risk of bruising (ecchymosis) especially if you are taking aspirin or other blood thinners like Coumadin or Plavix.
There may be a small possibility of increased surface blood vessels (telangiectasia) particularly if you have very thin skin, scleroderma, lupus, immunosuppressed, severe sun damage, take long term prednisone, or other conditions where your skin is abnormally fragile and prone to forming telangiectasia.
As a general rule, the greater the potential benefits with a cosmetic treatment, the greater the potential risks and side effects. Patients should also understand the limitation of microdermabrasion since this procedure merely produces superficial skin ablation. That is, while microdermabrasion can effectively improve the skin conditions of fine lines and shallow scars, it does not work for other skin problems, such as coarse wrinkles, deep smile or frown lines, deep scars, or pigment abnormalities, which arise from dermis.
In addition, if an individual is on isotretinoin (Accutane) or has taken this medication within the 6-12 months, resurfacing treatments such as microdermabrasion may not be suited due to the potential increased risk of scarring. As the potential risk is very slight, some dermatologists may treat patients on Accutane with gentler sessions.
How effective are at home microdermabrasion kits?
While most home microdermabrasion machines and kits are generally weaker than in-office, professional treatments, SkinVacMD by Vacubrasion is very close to a professional strength machine. Vacubrasion was tested head-to-head against 2 professional MD grade microdermabrasion machines including Dermagenesis and DiamondTome, and found to have nearly equal strength and abrasion.
There are many other home microdermabrasion machines which are very small devices, and have much less suction capability as compared to vacubrasion.
Several skin care companies, such as L’Oreal, Ponds, and Neutrogena, are now producing microdermabrasion at-home kits for people who are seeking an at-home solution. Usually, the microdermabrasion at-home system contains an abrasive cream or scrub and a tool for application. The main active component in creams may include aluminum oxide crystals which are used in the professional microdermabrasion equipment. Microdermabrasion cloths are also available in the skin care products market now. Basically, the tightly-woven microfibers of the cloths abrade the skin and remove surface cells to achieve the result of skin resurfacing.
Although the price of the microdermabrasion at-home treatments and the convenience of application may be appealing, patients should be aware of the fact that results from at-home tools may not be as effective as the treatments received from the professional microdermabrasion specialists.
What home remedies are like microdermabrasion?
There are multiple ways to exfoliate the skin:
Using a pumice stone, loofah, or Buf Puf.
Using beach sand to gently exfoliate.
Homemade brown sugar and honey rubs
Sea salt rubs
Epsom salts scrubs
What is the average cost of professional microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion costs may range from $100-$250, the average cost being around $100 per session. Costs have decreased considerably over the last 5-10 years as these units have become more readily available. Professional microdermabrasion can usually be obtained in a doctor’s office, typically dermatologists or less commonly plastic surgeons, as well as aesthetic spas and facial clinics. Microdermabrasion is quite affordable and much less expensive than other skin resurfacing treatments such as dermabrasion or laser peels which may cost around $2,500. Home microdermabrasion with a consumable-free system like Vacubrasion may cost less than $1 per session.
How much does at home microdermabrasion cost?
There are 2 types of home microdermabrasion: creams and machines. Creams may seem less expensive initially but require continuous replenishment. A quality microderm machine may potentially be a good investment and typically should not have much consumables or disposable parts costs over its lifetime.
Many microdermabrasion at-home creams range from between $10 and $95, which usually provides about 20-30 treatments, while some can be over $100. Once the jar is used up, so is your initial investment. These creams often use the aluminum oxide crystals or other sand like fine debris to help manually exfoliate the skin. Multiple vendors including L’oreal offer a microdermabrasion cream kit for average of $10-$30.
More recently, a new series of mini home microdermabrasion units have become available and are sold commercially. New home units including retail from $150-$300 and may be available at Sephora.com and Amazon.com. A new, patent pending, home microdermabrasion unit called Vacubrasion seems to be the best priced and most robust one on the market so far. Vacubrasion was launched in 2012 on Amazon.com and ranges from under $30 to $120.
Where can people get more information on microdermabrasion?
The treatment of microdermabrasion can be performed by a physician, a nurse, aesthetician, or other trained medical personnel. It is recommended for patients to consult a dermatologist or medical aesthetician before starting any resurfacing treatment. Careful evaluation on the patient’s skin for changes in texture, severity of photoaging, depth of scarring, and the type of skin from a specialist will help patients select the proper resurfacing modality in order to address the skin problems effectively.
Microdermabrasion At A Glance
- Microdermabrasion and Vacubrasion are simple, quick, no-downtime, minimal risk, and painless cosmetic treatments.
- Microdermabraison helps to gently exfoliate surface layers of skin using 2 steps: abrasion and suction