What is Microdermabrasion? Advanced Exfoliation For Smooth, Glowing Skin

by Laura Kay

Microdermabrasion, photofacial, intense pulsed light, photodynamic therapy, alpha-hydroxy acids – there are so many technical buzz words in the skin care industry nowadays, it’s hard to know where to begin! In this advanced skincare series, I will be describing some of the most popular advanced skin care treatments on the market today.


If there’s one thing that’s on everyone’s wishlist, it’s smooth, soft, healthy- looking skin with a youthful glow. The average skin cell lives about 28 days before it dies. Most of the time, these dead cells will fall off on their own, but they can also tend to cling to the skin, which can cause acne breakouts, pore congestion, and an overall dull appearance. To achieve that coveted youthful look, one of the most important things we can do for our skin is regular exfoliation to remove all that old dead cell buildup, allowing brand new skin cells to shine through.

Microdermabrasion is a great entry-level option for someone looking for a low-risk skin treatment with minimal downtime. During a treatment, a certified technician passes a specialized handpiece over the skin. This handpiece will have a small opening at it’s tip, which forms a very gentle suction when placed onto the skin. The opening then emits a gentle flow of very tiny, finely milled aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin. These tiny little crystals have a texture similar to beach sand, which gently smoothes and abrades the skin’s outermost surface layer. The combination of the suction and the abrasive texture of the crystals deeply cleanse the pores, immediately smoothing away flakes, roughness, oil buildup, bumps, and breakouts. When done regularly, microdermabrasion can even improve more stubborn concerns, such as fine lines, brown spots, and pregnancy mask (melasma).

A little bit of redness and a sensation of warmth on your skin (similar to a mild sunburn) is very normal after a treatment, and will usually subside within 24 hours. You might be a little bit more sensitive to sunlight after treatment as well, so don’t forget your sunscreen. Being very gentle with your skin and applying mild, hydrating skincare products is also important during this time.

Cost can vary anywhere from as little as $75 per session at medi-spas or salons, to upwards of $175 at dermatology or plastic surgery clinics. The duration of a thorough treatment should be about 45 to 60 minutes in length, and it is normally recommended to have microdermabrasion done monthly for a minimum of 4 to 6 sessions to start. Microdermabrasion is designed to be a long-term, maintenance-geared therapy, ideally done regularly to preserve and maintain the skin’s integrity, health, and overall aesthetics.
The best part about microdermabrasion is that it delivers immediate results and can be done on all skin types without any major side effects or downtime. Your skin will be left with a glowing, radiant appearance
and you’ll have everyone wondering your secret to clear, flawless skin is in no time!

Part II of this series – how to correct and treat photodamaged skin and improve hyperpigmentation, redness, and broken blood vessels using Intense Pulsed Light Photofacials will be posted next Thursday.

Laura Kay

Laura Kay is a makeup artist and skin care specialist from Stoney Creek, Ontario.  Over the past several years she has built a successful career in the cosmetics industry working as a spa aesthetician, cosmetic dermatology technician, as well as a freelance makeup artist.  She continues to develop her knowledge and skills as a cosmetic expert by participating in workshops, tradeshows, and other events, and loves to educate others through blogging and social networking to share her knowledge with others.

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