I'm really confused about all the information I've seen on microdermabrasion. I've tried some do it yourself products (like Olay's)--and they help a little at first, but I think I really need an in-office procedure. I have some sun damage and a few acne scars. What types of professional microdermabrasion give the best results? Are some just good and others better? Thanks.
Confused About Microdermabrasion
Doctor Answers 3
What microdermabrasion can do
Microdermabrasion is a manual exfoliation of the skin. The in-office treatments also use a mild vacuum effect to stimulate collagen remodeling. At-home kits are limited to a very light exfoliation of the surfface layers. They will make your skin feel a little smoother for a little while. The in-office treatments will give you better results. The strength of the treatment can be increased with more passes of the handpiece over the skin, more pressure with each pass, and more vacuum pressure.
For acne you probably need the stronger treatment that the in-office microdermabrasion gives you. However, microdermabrasion may not help your sun damage, if you have brown spots or discoloration. To treat sun damage, you may need laser or pulsed light treatments and/or chemical peels.
Fractional resurfacing may be helpful to you to treat both your acne scars and your sun damage. This treats a fraction of the skin at a time in very tiny columns. There are several types of fractional resurfacing. Some have very little downtime but require 4 treatments to see results, and some have more downtime but you need fewer treatments to see results.
You should have a discussion with your doctor about your particular concerns, and all of the options that are available to you.
Have a question? Ask a doctor
You need more than a microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasions are nice to maintain your complexion but do very little to improve it long term. One of the best microdermabrasion machines is the Vibraderm. It is painless and effective and costs around $150/ session. These are done every week for a month then once a month to maintain results.
With acne scars you need either a real dermabrasion to sand the scars or other scar revisions such as punch grafting or subcisions. For sundamage, lasers or chemical peels do just fine but usually require several sessions and can give long term results that microdermabrasions can't give. Costs run about $3500-5000 for a face dermabrasion. Costs for chemical peels run about $175-350 for each of several light chem peel with almost no down time and about $1000-1500 for a medium peel with a 1 week down time.
There are different levels of microdermabrasion
Regardless of the equipment used, many different levels of microdermabrasion can result depending on the pressure applied and how many passes the provider utilizes. Aestheticians do light microdermabrasions for exfoliation which provides a temporary smoothness and glow of the skin. For acne scars, only a physician can provide good results as there needs to be a deeper injury to effect an improvement in the depth of the scars. There is rawness with this level that doesn’t occur when the more superficial microdermabrasion is done. It also takes two to three days to heal and it is done as a series of many treatments. The Fraxel laser does very well for this and there is less down time, but also is done many times.