Long-gone are the days of aggressive, abrasive dermabrasion as the only way to get rid of unsightly scars or skin impurities. In the mid-1990s, a new technology was released, and it became all-the-rage for those looking for skin rejuvenation, in a mild facial technique. It was called microdermabrasion. The ‘micro’ in that term meant that very small particles of sand could remove the surface layer of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum. This would result in a finer exfoliation that would work little-by-little, to allow for better healing, and less trauma to the skin.
Nowadays, microdermabrasion is a well-known, professional skin care regimen found in many beauty salons. You can get a microdermabrasion session at our medical spa in Surrey, B.C. – right alongside our other laser treatments and skin care solutions.
While there are at-home microdermabrasion kits available on the consumer market, these usually don’t compare to the intensity and effect of a professional sandblasting treatment, using high-grade machinery. That said, if you do use DIY microdermabrasion solutions, you may still want to come in for a deeper exfoliation once in a while.
The best way to know if microdermabrasion is right for you, is to come in for an initial consultation. Our Surrey skin care clinic will be able to do a thorough, computerized analysis of your skin, using special cameras made specifically for dermal applications. If necessary, our on-staff doctor can also take a look, and learn about the condition you want to fix. From there, we’ll be able to make recommendations we think will work on you – without wasting your time on the stuff we think will bring you no benefit.
What is there to love about crystal peeling microdermabrasion?
With crystal microdermabrasion, you can get visibly rejuvenated skin within 30-40 minutes. The process removes dead skin cells preventing your dermal layers from absorbing beneficial moisturizers. These moisturizing elements are needed to deeply hydrate your skin, for the most basic of any anti-aging or beauty treatment.
At the same time, the smallness of the sand particles (crystals) that get blasted onto your face help to remove dirt and debris in the tiny crevices of your face, which cause acne, blackheads and enlarged pores. Oily skin feels wonderfully dry, and relieved of the ‘heavy-ness’ that the excess oil causes.
In addition to helping with acne, the removal of old skin cells stimulate collagen production. New skin cells begin forming. This then brings in fresh, supple skin to replace dark spots, sun damage or leftover acne scars.
Microdermabrasion can be used on any skin type – even coloured skin. With the old, dermabrasion technique, dark skin could become discoloured. Sensitive skin can also be worked on with professional microdermabrasion. However, the beauty technician administering the treatment should know about your sensitivity, to make machine adjustment settings accordingly.
The sand crystals used to ‘peel’ the skin during microdermabrasion are non-toxic. Even if some of them escape the vacuum suction tip, they are harmless if inhaled at such small quantities.
There is virtually no downtime for most patients who undergo a microdermabrasion treatment. On some skin types, even a once-a-week treatment is possible.
What skin conditions can microdermabrasion facials help to treat?
Our professional microdermabrasion in Surrey offers a solution for the following types of face skin conditions:
- Fine wrinkles and lines
- Excessively oily skin
- Flaky skin (such as from a mild dermatitis)
- Large pores
- Uneven skin tone or surface
Microdermabrasion can remove all of the above, layer by layer. It might also work for other skin impurities you want removed from the face (feel free to ask us!). However, it works over time, with a series of treatments.
As a regime, microdermabrasion also enhances other treatments towards the following conditions:
- Sun damaged skin
- Superficial age spots and acne scars (i.e. healed pimples that leave behind dark areas)
- melasma pigments (i.e. such as from the “mask of pregnancy” condition)
Note: you may also be interested in the HydraFacial™ procedure, which we also offer at our Surrey beauty clinic. It’s a newer way to achieve salon-quality exfoliation, while also infusing your skin with beneficial serums. It treats many of the same conditions as microdermabrasion.
How does microdermabrasion work to reduce wrinkles, acne scars, dark spots or skin impurities?
Microdermabrasion uses very tiny bits of irregular-shaped, aluminum oxide (the ‘crystals’), which get ‘blasted’ onto your face in very small bursts. The sand rubs against your skin to loosen its top layer. Almost immediately after they ‘dig up’ dead skin cells, the waste product is ‘sucked up’ through a tube, away from your newly-cleaned pores.
However, you won’t feel like sand is being dumped on your face – don’t worry! It’s nothing like that. The feeling is more like a scrubbing wand that passes over your face to deeply exfoliate it. It’s a ‘dry’ rub and manual extraction facial. But you’ll hardly notice the sand bits.
When the topmost layer of your skin is removed, the body begins a natural healing process, which is the goal that microdermabrasion aims to induce. New skin cells begin to replace the old ones that were removed. With that, collagen production is increased. This helps to renew your skin, leaving it looking more even in complexion. And, over multiple sessions, skin can be cleared of blemishes, scars and dark spots (always depending on how your body responds to the treatment, of course).
A professional-grade microdermabrasion instrument comes with specific controls, which allow a treatment provider to make adjustments for softer, or harder wearing away of skin. This is important for your safety, since microdermabrasion can be a rough treatment. It goes a lot deeper than just exfoliating your skin with a scrub in the shower, for instance. Professional treatments also work more strongly than at-home microdermabrasion machines.
The aluminum oxide crystals are another important piece to the effectiveness of a microdermabrasion treatment. Aluminum oxide is a very hard material. It is used in various industries for its abrasive properties – sometimes even as a replacement to industrial diamonds! Basically, that means it’s not just any kind of sand that gets rubbed on your face during microdermabrasion. Aluminum oxide is chosen specifically for its ability to do a good job at cleaning and polishing surfaces, including skin, without being harmful.
Dermabrasion vs. microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion is a much rougher form of microdermabrasion. It involves sanding off the skin with a rotating handpiece. The sanding is much more extreme in nature – it is like ‘burning off’ the top layers of skin. It takes at least 10 days to heal. It is also painful, requiring anesthesia before the procedure takes place, and medication afterwards.
It is rare that you’d see a dermabrasion treatment happening in a beauty salon, or even a cosmetic laser clinic like ours. This solution is used medically for things like removing tattoos, uneven skin texture or bigger scars. That said, it can be considered an old-fashioned technique, given the technological advances with lasers these days.
Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, refers to the ability to remove just a thin layer of skin, sitting at the very top of the dermis. It doesn’t ‘overdo it’ the way dermabrasion does. Therefore, it is less likely to discolour the skin (for dark skin tones), or leave behind bruises and scars. The recovery time is also much faster, if not nil. It is, in essence, a beauty treatment, and not a medical treatment.
Crystal sandblasting microdermabrasion vs. diamond-tip microdermabrasion
Crystal microdermabrasion with sandblasting uses the aluminum oxide technique described above. However, there are other methods to microdermabrasion. One alternative is a diamond-tip technique. This process eliminates the sand pieces, and uses a wand with a special, hard tip that can do the exfoliation instead.
We offer diamond-tip microdermabrasion in Surrey using our HydraFacial™ machine. Instead of a ‘dry rub’ to exfoliate, the system uses water and suction to do the job. At the same time, it infuses your skin with vitamins, via special serums that get ‘plugged in’ to the machine during the procedure. You can read more about HydraFacial™ here.
The difference in benefit between the two techniques is more about the type of skin being treated, than anything else. For example, those with thick, oily skin may love the ‘dry’ feeling of a traditional, crystal microdermabrasion treatment. It goes deeper than a diamond tip, and works better on uneven skin surfaces, too.
On the other hand, those with sensitive skin may be better off with the diamond tip, which can be controlled to a finer degree (both in pressure and in machine settings), so as not to irritate the patient. Some may want to be treated closer to the eyes and mouth, which a diamond-tip would be ideal for. Or, some may not like the leftover sand from a microdermabrasion treatment, which a diamond-tip can also resolve.
If you have a preference for one or the other, both solutions are available at our skin clinic in Surrey.
However, we usually recommend an in-person consultation first. This way, we can get a closer look at your skin, and give our expert opinion on what we think would work best for you. Sometimes, we may also recommend a combination with other treatments (such as chemical peels), or an alternating regimen between the microdermabrasion and HydraFacial™ procedures. It all depends on the skin you have!
How many microdermabrasion treatments will I need, to see results?
Our Surrey microdermabrasion treatments are not meant to be one-time, fix-it-all solutions to skin care problems. Remember that our bodies continue to produce new cells, while existing cells die off. So, the top layer of skin will repeatedly get ‘filled’ with aged skin cells, which you don’t want. This makes regular, skin care maintenance necessary.
Also, depending on the type of skin you have, you may need more, or less frequent treatments than others. Generally, however, we would say that most people benefit from monthly microdermabrasion sessions. Some do well with weekly treatments, too.
Again speaking generally, you can expect that initial results may not be seen until after 6 – 12 treatments. However, this depends entirely on the condition being treated, and the way your body responds to treatment.
Microdermabrasion can be enhanced by using a personalized skin care regime at home, too. This can include the use of sunscreens, as well as prescription products like Retin A. We are able to offer prescribed solutions, as well as high-end skincare at our doctor-led clinic.
Microdermabrasion is not a solution for ‘dramatic’ results. It is a great option for regular skin care upkeep, or for those who are looking for a milder, quick treatment, with very little downtime.
If you are hoping to ‘go big or go home’ (so to speak) with a professional skin treatment, we can help! We have many other solutions at our beauty and laser clinic. Solutions can include chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, or others.
The first step, in any case, is to book an in-person consultation with us. We will do a thorough analysis of your skin, using technological software and special cameras. From there, we can also learn about what you want to solve, and give our best, expert opinion on what we think will work for you.
Who is the best candidate for microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is great for:
- People with skin that is sensitive to chemicals (i.e. who can’t undergo a chemical peel).
- Younger people who may have early signs of aging, and want soft, smooth skin.
- People who want no downtime for healing.
- Thick, oily skin, but without open wounds.
Please note we can not perform microdermabrasion on open wounds, nor on some skin conditions. If you have a tendency to get cold sores, this solution may not be for you. Some medications can also sensitize your skin for a period of time, which will make microdermabrasion unsuitable for a while. During your initial consultation, we will ask you for your medical history, to learn more about whether this beauty treatment will work on your skin type.
Is there downtime after microdermabrasion sessions? What about side effects?
The answer to this is, most of the time, no. That said, those with sensitive skin may experience some redness. This should subside within a day or two. In extremely rare cases, people may experience stinging, bruising or skin sensitivity for a few days.
You should always wear sunscreen after a microdermabrasion treatment, to protect the layer of skin that has been recently exposed. On the other hand, you should avoid topical skin medications for a day or two. Most people resume all normal activity and wear makeup shortly after a treatment session.
It is very important to know that the skill of the beauty technician matters a lot when it comes to possible downtime after a microdermabrasion treatment. Incorrect administering of the treatment, with its suction power, flow of sand and pressure, can leave more damage than necessary. Now, this may be a few scratches or bruises, which will likely heal in time. However, a trained professional will know how to avoid these problems – especially by learning about your skin history in advance. All of our technicians receive several hours of ongoing training to do their job. They also have tools for skin analysis in the office, to perform a more precise job on you.
What is the cost of a microdermabrasion procedure at your Surrey skin clinic?
A single microdermabrasion session at our Surrey skin clinic costs $95 CAD (plus applicable taxes). This includes all equipment and supplies, moisturizer and sunscreen application, and a professionally-trained beauty technician to administer the treatment. The treatment takes approximately 30 – 40 minutes.
While consultation fees are not required for a microdermabrasion treatment, we will ask for your credit card in advance of your booking date. No shows, or cancellations with less than 48 hours notice will be charged a $50 fee.
Microdermabrasion is considered a cosmetic treatment, and thus, is not covered by Medical Services Plan in B.C., nor most insurance providers.
We may have package-pricing available at our clinic, or by promotion. Please ask us for details.
Pricing can change at any time.
Results can vary from person to person, and are not guaranteed.