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Microdermabrasion is a quick, non-invasive procedure used to resurface the skin.
This relatively new procedure gently removes only the very top layers of damaged skin by “sand blasting” them with tiny crystals. The technique exfoliates and gently resurfaces the skin, promoting the formation of new smoother, clearer skin. It is usually performed on the face and neck, but can be performed on any part of the body (such as the backs of the hands).
What are some of the most common benefits of this surgery?
Microdermabrasion can correct rough skin texture, some types of scarring, uneven pigmentation, and age (liver) spots. It can also remove or improve whiteheads and black heads, some stretch marks, and fine wrinkles. By removing superficial layers of the skin, microdermabrasion allows new skin to appear. In fact, this procedure even stimulates the growth of new skin cells. Microdermabrasion can be used for all skin types and skin tones. For best results, it can be repeated as often as once a week.
How are the treatments performed?
Before the doctor performs this procedure, he/she will arrange for a consultation with you. At this time, you’ll be able to talk to him/her about the changes you would like to make in your appearance. He/she will explain the different options available to you, the procedure itself, its risks and limitations, and costs.
Your doctor will begin by taking a complete medical history and examining the area to be treated. He/she may also take photos, and give you specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure.
You may be asked to stop using products that contain aspirin and/or other medications. You should also stop smoking in order to improve the circulation of blood to the skin. It is sometimes also necessary to take an anti-viral medication before the procedure in order to prevent cold sores or fever blisters from appearing afterward. Tell your doctor if you are taking any medication, especially Accutane, or if you have a history of cold sores or fever blisters, like those caused by herpes or shingles.
The procedure itself is quick and simple. Goggles are placed over your eyes to protect them, and the skin is cleansed. The doctor then removes the surface skin using a delicate, handheld device similar to a dentist’s polishing instrument. Through this device, tiny crystals are sprayed on the skin and suctioned back up into the machine, along with loosened skin. The doctor can vary the pressure to control the amount of penetration, or pass over an area several times to remove the most damaged skin.
How long do the treatments take?
The procedure generally lasts from 15 to 30 minutes.
It is often necessary to repeat the procedure to achieve the desired results. A typical regimen consists of four to eight treatments, at intervals of one to three weeks.
Where are the treatments performed?
The procedure is most often performed in the doctor’s own office.
How much pain is there?
The amount of pain varies from person to person. Some people report some mild irritation but most people report no pain at all. In fact, many people actually describe the tingling sensation in positive terms. Anesthesia is not necessary.
What can I expect afterward?
The speed of the procedure and its recovery time has earned it the name “the lunchtime peel.” It can easily be fit into an hour-long lunch break. Immediately after the procedure, women can apply makeup and return to their normal activities. The skin will turn pink immediately afterward, but this color will fade within a few hours.
The results of this treatment are often subtle improvements in texture and the appearance of refreshed-looking skin. Depending on the severity of the problem, the procedure may be repeated to achieve more dramatic results, and create smoother, younger-looking skin.
Other important information:
Microdermabrasion can improve the texture of the skin, but it will not improve loose, baggy, or deeply wrinkled skin. Facelifts are often used to correct these problems.
Depending on the severity of the skin condition and the size and location of the area to be treated, microdermabrasion may be combined with, or replaced by, other resurfacing procedures such as chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and dermabrasion.
Risks and limitations:
The procedure does not involve any serious, known risks. Some patients with very sensitive skin may experience some irritation. Discuss this possibility with your doctor if you are concerned about the effects of this treatment on sensitive skin.
The national average of 1999 surgeon fees for microdermabrasion was $181 (Source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). Regional averages: New England states: $193; middle Atlantic states: $219; north central states: $154; south central states: $163; and mountain/Pacific states: $189. These fees do not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay and other related expenses.
Be sure to:
Notify your doctor if you are taking medication, especially Accutane. Also let hem/her know if you have a history of cold sores or fever blisters, like those of herpes or shingles.
Ask your doctor to recommend a sun block to protect sensitive skin after the procedure. Apply it daily.
The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method to determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.