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What Is Microdermabrasion?

By HERWriter
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Microdermabrasion: What Is It? puhhha/Fotolia

Our skin is our bodies’ largest organ,5 so it’s a good idea to give it some extra attention every once in a while. But with all sorts of facials, peels and scrubs, what is the best option to choose?

This of course all depends on your skin type, but a possible route is microdermabrasion. The word itself is long, and even sounds a little abrasive, but microdermabrasion can be really good for your skin.

What is microdermabrasion?

The procedure polishes the skin by gently sanding away the superficial layer of the skin to give your face a healthy glow.1 The treatment is helpful for those with dull or leathery skin, mild acne scarring, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and plugged pores because it stimulates skin cell and collagen production.1

Microdermabrasion provides immediate results and is effective for all skin types and colors, but it can’t aid severe skin conditions like rosacea or eczema.2 To achieve the best results, microdermabrasion requires multiple sessions and maintenance treatments.2

What does microdermabrasion do?

Microdermabrasion is not the kind of cosmetic procedure where you have to be put to sleep and go under the knife. A small hand-held machine with a closed vacuum and diamond tip is applied to the skin surface and mixes the abrasion of the particles with suction.1

This removes the very top layer of dead skin cells, which are sucked into the tube and filtered out.1 With a vulnerable layer of skin now exposed, the diamond tip polishes the face.1 In the meantime, the suction stimulates collagen production and blood flow.1 The procedure lasts about 15 to 20 minutes.1 Having six to 12 treatments is recommended — one every three to four weeks.1 After these initial rounds, periodic touch-ups are important to keep up the healthy glow.1

But how much does it cost?

The cost of microdermabrasion varies depending on the doctor and geographic area. And unfortunately, this is not a procedure insurance will cover as it's considered to be an elective surgery. In 2012, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported the national average cost for microdermabrasion was $122.

How does microdermabrasion compare to similar procedures?

Just looking at costs, microdermabrasion could be your best option. Out of all the skin rejuvenation procedures noted by ASAPS, microdermabrasion is by far the cheapest. Right behind it is laser treatment at an average price of $381, and then a chemical peel at $560.4 Other procedures, including dermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing, can run into the thousands.2,4

Dermabrasion sounds like microdermabrasion without the prefix. However, the procedures do differ. While microdermabrasion uses small exfoliating crystals, dermabrasion essentially “sands” away at the skin.3

Furthermore, microdermabrasion has the ability to work for everyone, as its effects are more subtle.3 On the other hand, dermabrasion is helpful for improving scars from acne, accidents or disease but can’t fix pigmented birthmarks. It requires numbing, unlike microdermabrasion.3

In terms of benefits, microdermabrasion is more like a chemical peel. However, these procedures are also vastly different. For a chemical peel, the skin is cleansed and then the chemical is put on the face.1 The chemical enters the dead skin cells to bring about the regeneration of a new first layer of skin.1

Where do I go from here?

If you are thinking about getting microdermabrasion, you must consult a licensed skin care professional or plastic surgeon.2 The treatment may not seem as risky as other cosmetic procedures, but it still needs to be taken seriously.

You should choose a trustworthy, experienced surgeon and make a plan in accordance with your financial situation and future plans, as there is always the risk of complications when tampering with the body, even at a minor level.2

Want to see what microdermabrasion looks like? Check out this woman’s experience.

Reviewed December 7, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith 

Read more in HER Beauty

1) Microdermabrasion & Chemical Peels. Dermatology INC. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

2) Microdermabrasion. Smart Beauty Guide. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

3) Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion. WebMD. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

4) 2012 National Average for Physician/Surgeon Fees Per Procedure. American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

5) Skin. National Geographic. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.