If you went to a clinic or salon to get microdermabrasion done, the technician or dermatologist would use a specialized tool for the procedure. The tool shoots a stream of tiny crystals, like aluminum oxide, sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate, and collects the leftover dead skin cells and used crystals.
The vacuum action of the machine has four main functions:
- It pulls and raises a small section of skin to work on.
- It creates mild swelling and brings some of the impurities to the surface.
- It shoots a stream of crystals across the targeted skin patch.
- It collects the used crystals and dead skin for disposal.
Some tools perform all of these functions with one circuit. The suction process in these devices is called Venturi suction. More powerful versions use two circuits, one to shoot the crystals out and another to collect them.
There are also newer tools that use a single, diamond-tipped wand on the skin instead of a stream of particles.
The technician steadily moves the tool over the target area, applying even and steady pressure to remove the stratum corneum without affecting the lower skin layers. A standard session usually consists of one to three passes with the tool. In most cases, the patient is then asked to apply specialized lotions and creams to the affected area between sessions. This rehydrates the area and assists in promoting healthier new skin.
These treatments cost around $100 to $200 per session, and several sessions spaced throughout the year are usually recommended for maximum effectiveness.
As an alternative to a clinic or salon, there are also microdermabrasion creams and scrubs that you can apply yourself. These contain the same crystals you'd find in professional treatment, but many cut out the use of the specialized tool.
You use your hands to rub the products into your face, neck or arms, pushing the crystals against your skin so that they grab and remove the dead cells of the stratum corneum. Some of these creams also contain nutrients and moisturizers -- you remove the dead skin and effectively hydrate the new skin in the same step.
The home treatments cost in the range of $50 to $80 per jar. For more information on microdermabrasion and related topics, check out the links on the next page.