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What Is Microdermabrasion?

microdermMicrodermabrasion, or crystal peel, is an effective deep exfoliating procedure designed to enhance the quality and appearance of the skin. Dr Anne Farrell, our experienced dermatologist, offers this procedure for patients wishing to address common cosmetic concerns. Microdermabrasion can be performed on virtually any skin tone and type, and the treatment can be customised to optimise the benefits for each patient.

What Concerns Can Microdermabrasion Treat?

When done repeatedly, medical microdermabrasion can be helpful in treating acne and may enhance the effectiveness of other treatments for fine lines, superficial scars and melasma. By removing the very superficial layer of the skin (the stratum corneum), medical microdermabrasion may also help the penetration of prescribed treatment creams such as Vitamin A creams or skin lightening creams. During your initial consultation, Dr Farrell will evaluate your areas of concern and develop a personalised program to deliver the best outcome possible.

What Types of Skin Are Suitable for Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is suitable for most skin types and is particularly good for individuals concerned about acne, oily congested skin, melasma, and wrinkles. It can be done on skin of all colour, and can be done if you have a tan. However, for individuals with very fair, sensitive skin and rosacea, other treatments may be more appropriate and Dr Farrell and her team can advise which is the best treatment for your skin type.   

What Does the Microdermabrasion Procedure Involve?

Microdermabrasion treatment takes approximately 15 minutes, is typically pain free, and feels like a deep exfoliation. Using a vacuum technique, fine crystals are blown at the skin to exfoliate it and then suctioned away, removing the very superficial layers of the skin and excess oil. It feels like a gentle vibration and exfoliation on the skin. Additional treatments, including topical formulas, may be applied afterwards, depending on the cosmetic program. Immediately after the procedure, patients should notice that their skin feels smoother, and with repeated treatments most individuals notice an improvement in acne or fine lines or melasma, depending on the conditions being treated.

How Long Will Recovery Following Microdermabrasion Take?

Microdermabrasion is a gentle treatment with very little recovery time or side effects. Following the procedure, the skin may look slightly pink for a few minutes. Makeup can be applied straight away, and normal day-to-day activities can be resumed immediately. Although the treatment is very gentle, it is wise to wear sunscreen afterwards, especially in the summer.

How Many Microdermabrasion Treatments Will I Need?

Most individuals find that a course of microdermabrasion treatments has more benefit than a single session, and they often report that the skin feels smoother after multiple treatments. The precise number of treatments needed will vary based on the individual patient, their skin type, and the concerns they wish to address. In general, patients may need between five and twelve treatments—spaced about a week to a month apart—to achieve the desired effect. Dr Farrell may recommend further touch-up sessions in some cases, which can increase the longevity of results and boost overall skin quality.

How Often Should You Have Microdermabrasion Treatments?

Microdermabrasion treatments can be performed weekly in the case of severe acne, and every one to four weeks as part of a skin rejuvenating or melasma treatment plan. We will discuss the recommended number of treatments with you at the initial consultation, and many patients choose to have top-up sessions a few times a year to maintain the benefits. There is now well-established laboratory evidence that if microdermabrasion is done repeatedly, it results in the production of new collagen, so many individuals have microdermabrasion on a regular basis to reverse the signs of skin aging.

Professional vs. At-Home Microdermabrasion”

Microdermabrasion is a popular and effective method of improving the texture and appearance of the skin and, as a result of this popularity, a number of at-home and over-the-counter products have become available for purchase. However, while some of these products may be able to help patients achieve minor skin improvements, they are typically far less effective than a professional microdermabrasion treatment. In rare cases, over-the-counter microdermabrasion kits may even cause redness, irritation, or skin damage. By making an appointment with a Consultant Dermatologist like Dr Farrell, you can rest assured that your skin is being treated by someone with the qualifications and experience needed to give you the best results possible. She will carefully assess your skin and go over your goals in advance so that your treatment can be completely customised to meet your needs.

How Much Does Microdermabrasion Cost?

The price of microdermabrasion will vary depending on the size of the treatment area and number of sessions being performed. Microdermabrasion for acne costs £65 for the face. When a course of six is performed the sixth treatment is free. Other sites on the body can be treated too (e.g. back and chest), and the price of one area is similar to that of the face. 

If you are interested in finding out more about microdermabrasion or wish to book a session, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Microdermabrasion

Is microdermabrasion safe when pregnant?

Although microdermabrasion is considered a safe and relatively gentle procedure, it is generally not recommended for pregnant women. This is because the skin becomes highly sensitive during pregnancy, increasing the risk of long-term damage or even infection. For those who are pregnant and still wish to undergo aesthetic skin treatment(s), Dr Farrell can sometimes modify the microdermabrasion procedure or suggest alternative treatments. We encourage you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation.

What skin care products should you use after microdermabrasion?

Dr Farrell recommends that all patients wear sunscreen, especially those who have recently had a microdermabrasion treatment. A high-quality moisturiser can also help rehydrate your skin and reduce sensitivity. It is best to avoid harsh exfoliants and chemical treatments for at least 24-48 hours after microdermabrasion, and you should discuss any products you normally use with Dr Farrell to make sure they are safe to use after treatment. Dr Farrell can also perform a personalized skin care consultation with you and suggest specific products—such as cleansers, toners, and moisturisers—based on your skin type, condition, and goals.

What is the difference between a facial and microdermabrasion?

Facials and microdermabrasion treatments are two different procedures that are designed to improve the texture, appearance, and overall quality of your skin. A facial is more about cleansing impurities and applying products that can enrich and moisturise the skin, making it smoother, brighter, and more receptive to skin care products. Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive aesthetic procedure that is designed to provide deep exfoliation while stimulating collagen production. Microdermabrasion results typically last longer, and the deep exfoliation can provide significant improvement for acne scars, enlarged pores, and discoloration. In some cases, the two procedures can be combined for optimal skin-rejuvenating results.

Should I get microdermabrasion or a chemical peel?

Deciding between microdermabrasion and a chemical peel often comes down to what your personal treatment goals are. Both treatments can be effective in addressing acne, scarring, and discoloration. However, chemical peels are a more aggressive treatment, designed to remove a significant section of the outermost layers of skin in order to reveal the newer, healthier skin underneath. Microdermabrasion, by contrast, is designed to gently remove dead skin, providing deep exfoliation. The results of a chemical peel are often more significant and long-lasting, but this procedure also entails a more lengthy preparation and recovery process. The skin is often red for several days after treatment, with varying degrees of peeling and flaking depending on whether you had a superficial or medium-depth peel.

Dr Farrell can discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of both procedures with you during a consultation. After evaluating your skin, she can make recommendations based on which treatment can best meet your expectations.

How does microdermabrasion differ from photofacials?

Microdermabrasion employs exfoliating crystals that directly slough away dead and damaged cells from the surface of the skin, which are then vacuumed away. By contrast, an IPL photofacial employs different light wavelengths in order to heat up the skin and repair signs of damage and discoloration. Photofacials have the advantage of being able to work more deeply than microdermabrasion, targeting damaged cells within the inner layers of the dermis without harming the surrounding tissues. This enables them to produce more dramatic results that are often longer-lasting than those achieved with microdermabrasion. Both treatments can be effective tools for treating damaged and discolored skin, and Dr Farrell can discuss your options more in depth during a consultation.

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