Medical Microdermabrasion

Resurfacing damaged skin has been around for some time. Various abrasive agents have been used to remove marks, including tattoos, with success, but in the process often causing visible changes through the depth of injury inflicted. This can vary from a thickened scar to variations in pigmentation (lighter or darker) that are at times temporary, but often permanent.
Medical Microdermabrasion Machine
Dermabrasion was in vogue for a number of years. Under anaesthetic the skin was sanded down usually to the dermis, a deeper skin layer, producing fine pinpoint bleeding. This is similar to the aims of the later-used laser resurfacing techniques. Dermabrasion had a problem with the scattering of blood products.

In common with laser resurfacing, as the protective skin surface is broken down, there is a risk of infection, as well as the inconvenience of time out of work while the face heals through its weepy and later red phases to a point where people are happy to be seen again.


Comparison of Healing Times

Technique Recovery Time

Diamond Dermabrasion Medical     1-24 hours
Glycolic Peel                                 3-7 days
Laser Peel                                    4-6 weeks
Deep Chemical Peel                       3-4 months
Microdermabrasion History
Microdermabrasion has been available quite a few years now through beauty therapists in lower powered devices that renewed the skin surface. From about 1997 the medical strength versions have been available.

The advantage with the better medical models is that strength of suction and the sandblasting action of the crystals can be varied independently allowing the treatment to be optimised for the individual patient. More difficult problems can be treated.

Microdermabrasion Action
Medical Microdermabrasion HandpieceA disposable plastic head is placed on the skin surface at the end of a treatment handle. A variable vacuum is applied through the handle, which tents up an area of skin through the hole in the treatment head. Through the handle, a stream of fine, evenly sized and shaped crystals (in this case aluminium oxide) is directed against the skin surface, effectively sandblasting the surface cells away. The used crystals and abraded skin are drawn away through the handle to a separate waste container to be disposed of at the end of the treatment.

A twin action has been demonstrated under the microscope. Old, weathered surface skin cells are removed. This stimulates the production of new cells by the deeper skin layers. This speeding up of production (as we age production normally slows down) produces fresh healthy new surface skin.

Secondly, in the deeper dermal layer, supportive collagen fibres are produced more actively. This may well be due to the suction action of the machine, but the effect is not yet fully understood. However, it does result in the reduction of fine lines and help in scar resolution. It seems to rebuild the damaged structure involved in stretch marks.

After Effects
Usually most people look pink in the treated area for an hour or two afterwards. There is usually no weeping or crusting. Some soothing and healing preparations are usually applied at the end of the session. Makeup can be applied immediately after treatment.

Sometimes, in stronger treatments, a secondary loss of skin, like a fine peel, may occur a few days afterwards.

By the fifth day the skin is usually back to full thickness again and will look at its very best at this time - a good time to assess the progress.

During the healing period it is important that good sun blocks are used to protect the new skin surface. Generally sun blocks should be used at all times anyway on normal skin to prevent the ageing effects of sun exposure.

Treatments Required
Usually a series of treatments are necessary to create the desired effect. Once this is achieved further treatments depend on the underlying condition.

Scarred areas should retain their result.

With aged and sun damaged skin regular maintenance of some sort will retain the benefits. Normally the person determines this for themselves. Some use an indicator such as makeup not being applied so evenly. For others it is more based on skin appearance. Usually a single session each time is sufficient to maintain the benefit.

What Can Be Treated
  • Aging and sun-damaged skin
  • Acne scarring and active acne
  • Skin pigmentation marks
  • Stretch marks
  • Enlarged pores

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