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This article is from:

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Microdermabrasion (often referred to as Microderm) is a cosmetic procedure popular in day spas, doctors' practices, and medical spas, in which the stratum corneum (dead outermost surface of the skin) is partially or completely removed by light abrasion. Different methods include mechanical abrasion from jets of zinc oxide or aluminum oxide crystals, fine organic particles, or a roughened surface. Particles and removed material are vacuumed off through the wand/handpiece through which the abrasive particles come [1]. Microdermabrasion is used to remove sun-damaged skin and to remove or lessen scars and dark spots on the skin. The procedure is not very painful and requires no anaesthetic. Microdermabrasion can be used medically for scar removal when the scar is raised above the surrounding skin, but is less effective with sunken scars. There is very little, if any, evidence that microdermabrasion stimulates collagen formation. Microdermabrasion can also be used for treatment of acne, but must be repeated periodically to be effective. Microdermabrasion should not be used on patients who have taken the medication Accutane (Isotretinion) in the previous twelve months.

In the past, microdermabrasion was done using abrasive crystals. In the past decade, it has become more common to use a wand with a roughened surface. This procedure requires no medical oversight and is commonly used in conjunction with facial spa treatments. These days there are a multiplicity of machines available for microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion is a relative newcomer to the United States. This technique was first used in Europe and adopted by United States in the late 1990s. Today, Microdermabrasion is used effectively to treat fine wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars left from moderate to severe acne. The term dermabrasion refers to the more severe medical procedure carried out under general or twilight anaesthesia.

Microdermabrasion Techniques

Microdermabrasion works to two unique ways:

1. By cleansing skin pores – and thus healing existing acne

2. By eliminating the dead skin cells – and thus preventing pimples from appearing. Pimples are normally caused by dead skin cell that’s fill up skin pores.

Microdermabrasion techniques commonly include crystal and non-crystal machine and at home peeling systems.

Microdermabrasion Technique No.1 : Peeling

Instead of using harsh chemicals such as zinc and metal oxides, microdermabrasion peels capitalize on the power of debris-leeching micro-cystals. They shouldn’t be painful, but rather very comforting; like a deep tissue massage! Microdermabrasion peeling can be done easily and quickly in an outpatient clinic, at a spa or even at home as mentioned earlier.

The device is a hand-held machine which deeply exfoliates and cleans the skin’s surface. Regimens normally consist of 4-6 peels within 1-2 week intervals; and then followed by a conditioning peel every 6 weeks or thereabouts where necessary.

In layman terms, a sandjet or sandblaster shoots fine sand particles onto the surface of the skin in an oscillatory motion. The friction that this motion creates abrades the surface of dead skin cells on the upper-most layer of the skin.

Microdermabrasion Technique No.2 : Corundum Crystal Machines

The most commonly type of crystal using in microdermabrasion machines are corundum or aluminium oxide.

The reason for this is that they are firstly, great materials for cutting and abrading because of their coarse, un-even surfaces. Second, their hardness is second only to diamonds, but cheaper. Third, they don’t cause allergic skin reactions, such as eczema, psoriasis, or itching; they don’t interact chemically and are not absorbed by the skin. Finally, the crystals have bactericidal properties which is a plus for treating acne; as acne is most commonly due to bacterial infection.

Microdermabrasion Technique No.3: Other Crystal Machines

Other crystals instead of corundum can be used for microdermabrasion, and these include, sodium chloride crystals, sodium bicarbonate crystals, and magnesium oxide crystals. The benefit of using these methods is that it is cheaper overall, however be wary of the efficacy compared to standard crystal techniques.

Microdermabrastion Technique No. 4: Crystal-Free

Instead of crystals, aestheticians and physicians alike use diamond tipped devices that abrade the skin. The major difference with the crystal-free treatment to the crystal is hygiene. Aluminum-oxide crystals (which are the industry standard) are hazardous irritants (run an internet search and you'll find plenty of information about it) and are therefore unhealthy not only to the technician (who performs many treatments per day), but also the patient. A mask, along with protective eyewear should be used at all times in order to avoid loose crystals entering through the eyes, nose or ears. Other differences are, shortened procedure time, lower maintenance costs and of course, less of a mess. Patients have commented that the crystal-free procedure is usually much less painful while not sacrificing results.


Microdermabrasion. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Sep;31 (9 Pt 2):1160-5; discussion 1165. Review.

  1. ^ Anderson, Laurence. 2006. Looking Good, the Australian guide to skin care, cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgery. AMPCo. Sydney. ISBN 0-85557-044-X.

See also

  • Dermabrasion — a more severe medical procedure that requires a physician

External links

  • Microdermabrasion Answers (Why should microdermabrasion be used and its effects]
  • Microdermabrasion Info
  • Comparison between crystal and diamond microdermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion Techniques and More (More and related information on Microdermabrasion techniques.)
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