Microdermabrasion is a treatment for your skin to make it appear younger and healthier. It can be highly effective for treating hyperpigmentation.
It is a non-chemical and non-invasive procedure that removes the outermost layer of skin typically with a spray of ‘microcrystals’. Once the dry and dead skin cells are removed, the skin looks rejuvenated. It’s most commonly used on the face.
Microdermabrasion encourages new skin cells to be produced, which have more collagen and elastin than older cells. While dermabrasion is intensive and is used to treat deep lines and extreme damage, microdermabrasion is gentle and only affects the topmost layer of the skin.
One of the great side benefits is that clearing your pores allows creams to penetrate more easily into your skin. So those expensive luxury face creams will have a much better chance of actually working.
At-Home Microdermabrasion vs. Professional Microdermabrasion
There are some pros and cons to doing microdermabrasion at home instead of using a professional salon or dermatologist. They do have some things in common though. Both options require using a gentle cleanser before to make the process more effective. And afterward, the skin does need to be moisturized and nourished. Both at-home machines and professional procedures can help with scars, fine wrinkles, age spots, and uncover a smoother complexion.
However, there are some differences. First, professional microdermabrasion is done by qualified and trained estheticians or dermatologists. These procedures likely dig a bit deeper into the skin than what you can get from a home kit. If you choose to do it at home, though, you are in the privacy of your own home and can go at your own pace. And to be honest it’s really not that difficult to do, especially once you’ve figured how to use your machine. So it can quickly become part of your normal beauty routine.
At a salon, the specialist uses a hand-held machine to spray and circulate a high-pressure mix of exfoliating crystals onto the skin. Typically these are sodium chloride and aluminum oxide crystals, although some machines use gently abrasive diamond tips instead. These machines also have compressors and pumps that vacuum the skin of all the dead skin cells and dirt.
Guess what – that’s exactly what you get from a home machine too! These small boxes to technical wizardry have got almost as good as the professional machines. The only difference (if you choose the best ones) is that the suction pressure is probably a bit higher on a salon machine.
The precision of microdermabrasion at a salon is usually a bit better than you can get at home because the technicians are trained on how much pressure to apply to the skin. Also, professionals can more easily target the areas that need the most work. It’s a little trickier to treat yourself (get together with a friend?).
When you get microdermabrasion done at the spa, it costs up to $200 per session. And you need to go on a regular basis in order to keep the results from fading. Alternatively, home machines have become extremely good value. Even the best cost around $200-$300. So if you buy a machine for at-home use, it will pay for itself almost immediately, as you will not be paying top dollar to go to the salon on a regular basis.
Microdermabrasion Creams vs. Machines
While many companies claim to have a formula for a microdermabrasion cream that is as effective as going to the salon, that is never quite the case. However, most of these products will at least have some minor exfoliation effect. But no, it’s really not microdermabrasion as we know it.
There are a whole range of creams and kits. Some are small battery powered hand held devices. Some are devices that come with creams. Others are just creams.
The major difference between these creams or kits and a proper at-home microdermabrasion machine is simply in the level of results. A proper machine can give you near salon results. A cream cannot. Neither can a battery powered buffing machine, which is really doing no more than your fingers applying an exfoliation cream.
The other problem is that these ‘gritty’ creams can easily irritate the skin with the chemicals included in the products, especially skin that is sensitive or prone to acne.
Proper machine treatments, on the other hand, use pure crystal flows that are sprayed onto the skin before being sucked back into the machine. These machines do not leave anything behind that might trigger an adverse reaction. You can also use your own before and after skincare products that will not irritate sensitive skin.
At-Home Microdermabrasion Systems Available
There are two different types of microdermabrasion machines available for at-home skin care use. These are diamond microdermabrasion machines and crystal machines. A diamond machine uses a diamond tip to gently abrade dead surface level skin, which it then sucks up using a built in mini-vacuum. This type of machine comes in various levels of textures and roughness to suit your skin needs.
A crystal machine has a compressor that works by drawing in air through a port on the wand. Once the wand touches the skin, it creates a vacuum. Small crystals are then blasted onto the surface of the skin to get rid of dead skin cells, which are then vacuumed away.
People often prefer the diamond method over the crystal for several reasons. First, the crystal machine can be a bit messier and is a bit more likely to cause skin irritation. The diamond method provides better exfoliation, is easier on sensitive skin, and it is more comfortable to use. It is also easier to control the intensity of the exfoliation with diamond tips.
Features to Consider Before Buying a Microdermabrasion System
When buying a microdermabrasion system, it is important to be aware of a few key features so you can find the right one for your needs. There are several different designs, features, and key components to each system. A standard kit includes a vacuum motor, a container for waste such as removed skin debris, and a handset or wand that is used to apply the microdermabrasion treatment to your skin.
Systems have different strengths, so it is important to know the suction power strength of the product. The purpose of the device is to effectively remove impurities and dead skin, so the suction strength is an important feature. If it has a powerful suction, the device will easily remove skin debris. Alternatively, poor suction will leave dead skin cells behind, requiring you to exfoliate the skin manually. Which defeats the object really! Some systems come with a monitor so you can read and/or adjust the pressure of the suction.
You also want to look at the design of the product. Make sure the wand opening is the right size for your desired level of abrasion. If the opening is too small, the abrasion will be very concentrated and less effective. It is also more likely to irritate the skin, as you will have to go over parts of your skin multiple times. Very small openings can also prevent you from having control over the vacuum pressure, which can eventually result in ruptured capillaries. It will also lead to inconsistent sizes of crystals, which can harm the airflow of the machine. For diamond tips you also want to ensure the tips is well made – good quality ones will give better results and last you a lot longer. So it’s not worth shaving a few dollars on poor quality tips.
Look for a machine that is user-friendly and easy to use, so it doesn’t require a lot of practice to use. It is important that the machine comes with an instructional manual and a DVD for tutorials. If you do not have experience with microdermabrasion systems, it is really best to buy a product that is not complicated.
It is also best to look for a machine that is light-weight and durable. A machine that is easily handheld and operated is preferable since you need to hold it for a few minutes at a time while working on your skin. Even high-quality systems should not be very heavy. A compact and lightweight machine that is easy to maneuver is best. While you may think that lightweight machines cannot be durable, as long as you follow the maintenance instructions, it should last at least several years. Look for a machine that includes a warranty so you know the manufacturer stands behind their product.
Read reviews of machines before committing to one to make sure that it has been tested and proven to be effective. You want to invest a reasonable amount in a decent machine that you are sure you will be satisfied using.
Results to Expect at Home
You will probably not see results overnight, because it takes time for your skin to start to develop new cells. Over time however you can expect to see better looking skin on your face, and it can help to fix skin discoloration and other problem areas. This can include a reduction in the appearance of scars, age spots, sun damage, acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. So do persist.
While you may have to do the microdermabrasion routine more often at home than if you were getting it professionally done, you can achieve results that are close to what you would achieve from spa treatments. And of course once you own the machine the running costs are then minimal. But it is important to be patient with your skin care and learn the correct way to use your chosen machine to get the best results.