Microdermabrasion is a popular facial treatment available from many estheticians in upscale salons and in dermatological offices. In about an hour, you will see dramatic results in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, reparation of sun damage, and even improvement in the appearance of certain scars. The procedure comes from ancient practices of rubbing a sort of sandpaper over the skin; today, the process relies on crystals pumped through a delicate wand by a vacuum system, and then whisked away by the same vacuum system, along with debris and skin cells from the top layer of skin. The result is a smoother texture, reduced pore size, minimized acne scars, and a more even skin tone. Crystals used in microdermabrasion machines include such substances as oxides of aluminum and magnesium, sodium chloride, and diamonds. Side effects are minimal, but the process is contraindicated in the cases of certain skin conditions (psoriasis and rosacea, for example) or very delicate skin. You should avoid microdermabrasion if you are taking Accutane for acne, since permanent scarring could occur.
Chemical Peels take the procedure of improving skin texture a step further than microdermabrasion, applying different acids to the skin, causing the top few layers to peel away. Underneath is found more even-toned skin, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and a reduction of various types of skin damage. Some peels, such as fruit- or lactic-acid based peels, can be part of a regular facial from an esthetician; others, which use one of the more powerful chemicals like glycolic acid or phenol, must be performed by a dermatologist. While microdermabrasion needs no ‘down time,’ a chemical peel may require significant recovery time, as well as anesthesia during the process. The more intense the product and procedure, the deeper the peel, with more noticeable results and a longer time between procedures. The more powerful peels can affect heart conditions, and may leave the skin unable to tan, so be certain to discuss all considerations with your dermatologist before undergoing the procedure.