A third class of skin resurfacing treatments are those that involve mechanical exfoliation, where an instrument is used to slough off outer layers of skin to remove visible skin damage and reveal smoother, healthier and younger looking skin. Such treatments include microdermabrasion and dermabrasion. While they have similar sounding names, each of these treatments works quite differently.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a relatively gentle procedure that can be used on the face, neck, hands or body. During treatment, the area is exfoliated by using a very fine tipped instrument or by applying a fine mist of abrasive particles. The exfoliated skin is then immediately vacuumed away. Unlike some other resurfacing treatments, microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types, carries very little risk for side effects, and requires no downtime.

What can microdermabrasion do to improve skin?

  • Minimize fine lines & wrinkles, such as crow’s feet
  • Help skincare products work more effectively
  • Brighten skin & improve tone
  • Reduce age spots or mild acne scars

Microdermabrasion can be performed in the same sessions as a peel or facial to enhance the results. While immediate improvements are usually noticeable, microdermabrasion treatments are often performed in a series to achieve optimal improvements. It is also essential to protect the treated area from the sun, as skin will be more sensitive to sun damage after microdermabrasion.

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a more powerful mechanical resurfacing technique than microdermabrasion. During treatment, a cosmetic surgeon will use a rapidly rotating instrument or blade to precisely remove skin from the treated area layer by layer until the desired depth. Because it reaches more deeply into the skin’s surface, dermabrasion can affect skin pigmentation, and thus is not recommended for every skin type. Typically, patients will receive a topical anesthetic or local anesthesia to ensure comfort during and after the procedure.

What can dermabrasion do to improve skin?

  • Minimize vertical lip lines, smile lines, or other facial wrinkles
  • Remove acne scars and other blemishes
  • Smooth the skin and balance complexion

The purpose of dermabrasion is to remove enough layers of skin to remove the visible concerns and encourage new cell growth. Therefore, the area will be tender and “raw” after treatment. It is essential to keep the area well protected from the sun and follow your cosmetic surgeon’s instructions for keeping the skin free from infection.

Under the care of a qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon, skin resurfacing treatments can reverse the visible effects of aging to dramatically enhance a patient’s appearance.