Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Microdermabrasion facts
- What is microdermabrasion?
- Who should consider microdermabrasion?
- How does microdermabrasion work?
- What ages are appropriate for microdermabrasion?
- How often can I have microdermabrasion?
- What does the vacuum do in microdermabrasion?
- What should people expect before, during, and after microdermabrasion?
- Does microdermabrasion help with acne scars?
- Can microdermabrasion help with melasma?
- Does medical insurance pay for microdermabrasion?
- Can microdermabrasion help with keratosis pilaris?
- What are possible side effects of microdermabrasion?
- How effective are at-home microdermabrasion kits?
- How much does at-home microdermabrasion cost?
- What home remedies can produce results like microdermabrasion?
- What is the average cost of professional microdermabrasion?
- Where can people get more information on microdermabrasion?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How often can I have microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion can be done as frequently as weekly or up to every eight weeks depending on your skin's tolerance and desired cosmetic effects. Many people choose to start with weekly treatments for three sessions, then change to a monthly maintenance regimen.
Typical microderm schedule:
- Week 1: first session
- Week 2: second session
- Week 3: third session
- Monthly: fourth through twelfth sessions
Much like brushing your teeth, microdermabrasion helps to gently remove skin debris. Since human skin typically regenerates at approximately 30-day intervals, skin improvement with microdermabrasion is temporary and needs to be repeated at average intervals of two to four weeks for continued improvement. Usually, multiple treatments (six to 12 sessions) are recommended to see a significant improvement.
What does the vacuum do in microdermabrasion?
The vacuum part of microdermabrasion has four basic roles:
- It gently pulls and lifts a small section of skin for micro abrasion.
- It can spray a stream of crystals across the targeted skin area.
- It focally stimulates blood circulation and creates mild swelling in the skin.
- It collects the used crystals and dead skin in a receptacle for easy disposal.
What should people expect before, during, and after microdermabrasion?
Generally, softer and smoother skin that feels fresher and more rejuvenated is the expected outcome after microdermabrasion. Before starting the microdermabrasion treatment, eye protection such as eye pads or goggles may be placed. Often the skin may be prepared and cleaned of makeup and oils. Yet, no topical or local anesthetic is required. The skin will be stretched to provide some tension in order to achieve the most effective abrasion and vacuum. The hand piece is moved over the skin with repeated single, smooth passes. Usually, two to four passes per area are sufficient.
Mild pinkness of the skin is the desired outcome and usually resolves within minutes to hours after microdermabrasion. In addition, mild exfoliation of skin may occur as well. Continuously apply moisturizer or ointment if exfoliation occurs. Patients may also experience mild sunburn-like sensation for a few days. Moreover, liberal application of sunscreen is recommended as photosensitivity may be increased after treatment.
Microdermabrasion may help stimulate the production of collagen, thereby helping skin rejuvenation. As age spots from photoaging and fine lines are diminished, the skin may become softer and smoother. The results are fairly modest, however.
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