Dermabrasion has been used for over 100 years. It is indicated for treatment of deep acne scarring, traumatic scars and other deeply ingrained skin irregularities. The recovery is prolonged and there is a risk of scar formation. The technique uses a rotating sander that essentially “scrapes” the top layers of skin off.
Microdermabrasion is very different. The technique uses ultra-fine aluminum hydroxide crystals under compressed air to exfoliate, or take away the upper layers of skin. The depth of exfoliation achieved is very precise and is controlled via the air pressure used to blow the aluminum hydroxide crystals against the skin surface. At lower settings, the exfoliation is so gentle, that local anesthesia is not necessary. These low power microdermabraders are very popular at spas and beauty salons. These units are designed to be very gentle and remove only the most superficial layers of dead skin. Treatments at a spa can provide clearer, more evenly toned skin after four to six treatments. However, these units are not designed to use the full treatment potential of Microdermabrasion. When used at more efficient power settings, Microdermabrasion can not only improve skin tone and texture, but can also remove fine line wrinkles giving results that approach the success seen with lasers. Microdermabraders available at Mountain View Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can provide skin treatments as gentle and superficial as those provided at a spa, but also can provide the necessary exfoliation levels to match results seen with laser skin resurfacing.
So what is the difference between Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing? Laser skin resurfacing achieves very good results in usually one treatment. However, Microdermabrasion does not treat the skin as deeply as laser resurfacing; consequently there is a much quicker recovery. Usually, patients can resume their normal activities within a day or two at the most. Because the Microdermabrasion treatment is more superficial, the results are not as dramatic. However, with repeated treatments (usually every 7 to 10 days and up to 15 treatments) using the medical grade microdermabraders at Mountain View Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the results are just as dramatic as laser skin resurfacing. Certain skin types are not amenable to laser resurfacing but all skin types respond well to Microdermabrasion.
Benefits of Treatment
Microdermabrasion can be used as an alternative to chemical peel and laser skin resurfacing. The benefits of using this technique are that there is less pain and a faster recovery time than laser skin resurfacing. However, more treatments are necessary to achieve results similar to laser skin resurfacing.
Prior to surgery, our doctors will discuss with you the goals for facial improvement. After determining the most appropriate procedure to use, we will fully describe the procedure, what results to expect and the costs. The skin is usually pretreated prior to surgery to improve the healing time.
The use of local anesthetic or IV sedation is not always necessary when Microdermabrasion is performed using the more superficial settings. However, at higher settings local anesthetic or light IV sedation is preferred. The area is cleansed thoroughly and the doctor directs the microdermabrader toward the area to be treated. The microdermabraders with accurately and evenly remove the desired thickness of skin cells while simultaneously vacuuming up the aluminum hydroxide crystals and exfoliated skin cells.
What Can Be Expected?
Unlike chemical peels, laser resurfacing, or plastic surgery, there is little or no down time. Patients may be “pink” (and must therefore wear sunscreen diligently) for a day or two after the treatment.
Depending on the treatment area, you will notice an improvement in your skin’s appearance. Acne scars will be less obvious. Age spots and fine lines are greatly diminished and many patients report that their skin seems to be softer, smoother, and younger-looking. After your first treatment, your skin will have a fresh “pink glow”. Improvement continues throughout your treatment program. You will begin to notice visible results after about the third or fourth treatment.