As a host beauty editor for On Magazine, Dr. Fiona Wright has published a series of Q & A articles in response to emailed questions, sometimes with collaborations by other medical colleagues in her network. She would now like to share the information with everyone! The following article was published in the 2006 Health issue.
Q: How does the at-home microdermabrasion products compare to the treatment that my facialist does?
-Erin C., The Colony
A: Microdermabrasion was first introduced in Italy almost two decades ago with the aim of removing skin layers to reduce wrinkles or irregular depressions and regain smoother, more youthful looking skin. The word “abrasion” implies wounding and by creating a gentle “micro” wound, the tissue is stimulated to repair itself and produce new collagen and elastin.
Most microdermabrasion machines use crystals which are blown across the skin and then vacuumed off. The crystals will create an abrasive cleansing effect that an at-home microdermabrasion system cannot achieve. The depth of polishing will be greatest when using a physician licensed machine. The application of the machine’s suction effect is also thought to cause vascular dilation, which releases tissue mediators that stimulate the skin and may have a favorable effect on the skin’s collagen and elastin balance. Home-based microdermabrasion treatments do not have a suction component.
Although there are many products on the market that offer “microdermabrasion-like” benefits, these products should be best thought of as an adjunct to rather than a replacement of microdermabrasion treatments performed by an experienced skin care specialist. Popular at-home systems by Lancome, Dr. Brandt and Neutrogena can be used to help maintain your complexion between office treatments. Clinical microdermabrasion procedures will create deeper skin changes, and your trained professional will provide the experience and judgment to tailor therapy for your particular needs and optimize results.
Fiona Wright MD, Skin M.D. & Beyond