What is microdermabrasion and how does it improve your skin?

We've pulled together everything you need to know about it

If you’ve come to this article, it means you’re curious about microdermabrasion and everything it has to offer. Some tout it as a half an hour face lift, others call it the glowing skin miracle worker. But if you’re wondering whether microdermabrasion is for you, get your questions answered here.

What is microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that uses tiny crystals or other exfoliating surfaces to help remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells. When you remove the stratum corneum, the body interprets it as an injury. It then quickly replaces the lost skin cells with new, healthy ones. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes for the face.

Microdermabrasion machines can buff and polish the skin using a stream of fine crystals or a diamond tip. Some of these systems also vacuum loose skin cells from the face. You can also purchase microdermabrasion kits to give yourself an at home microdermabrasion facial. And for something more gentle, you can use microdermabrasion cloths.

Is microdermabrasion safe?

Yes. As with all treatments that penetrate the skin or disrupt the skin’s surface, the safest procedure will be carried out by a professional. In fact, many people choose microdermabrasion over chemical peels and laser treatment because it is generally safer and more cost-effective.

Does microdermabrasion hurt?

The procedure may be a little uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. However, your skin will be slightly tender afterwards and a bit red.

Does microdermabrasion work?

Depending on how many treatments you have, you’ll notice a change in the clarity, elasticity and texture of your skin. Most dermatologists recommend around every four weeks. And the best results are usually seen by people in the early stages of ageing, between 35 and 50.

Microdermabrasion benefits

People with uneven pigmentation, fine lines and clogged pores can benefit from a series of microdermabrasion treatments.

Is microdermabrasion good for acne?

Microdermabrasion stimulates blood flow, which increases the nutrition delivered to skin cells. This improves cell production, which improves skin’s elasticity and texture. So, if you have acne scarring, microdermabrasion may help reduce the appearance of acne scars. However, it’s not recommended if you have skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, active sunburn, herpes, lupus, open sores, psoriasis, fragile capillaries or widespread acne. This can irritate the skin and cause further breakouts.

What is a microdermabrasion kit?

The main difference between a professional microdermabrasion facial and at-home treatments is that the devices used by dermatologists generally have more power and penetrate deeper into the skin to provide precise exfoliation. On the other hand, at home kits come in different forms. There are facial brushes, such as the Clarisonic Mia, £99, which promise to clean your skin 6 times better than manual methods. There are microdermabrasion pens that have a spinning disc with an aluminium oxide crystal tip, like PMD’s Personal Microderm System, £135. And then there are creams, like Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Resurfacing Peel, £49.50, which promise the same results as a mild microdermabrasion treatment.

What is a microdermabrasion cloth?

A microdermabrasion cloth is a popular alternative to the more expensive microdermabrasion treatments on the market.

How much does microdermabrasion cost?

Depending on the specialist you visit, a microdermabrasion facial can cost between £40 – £100 for one session.

Need a good cleanser that won’t break the bank? This quiz matches one to your skin type and your wallet!

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