Definition and Overview

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive skin rejuvenating procedure that uses safe, non-allergenic microcrystals to strip dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. By doing so, it cleans and exfoliates the skin, clearing clogged pores and removing all traces of dirt and oil. As a result, it naturally and gently smoothens and polishes the skin.

Also known as a crystal peeling procedure, it is highly beneficial for those who want to get rid of minor facial imperfections to get smoother and healthier skin. It is also safe for most patients because, unlike chemical peels, it does not use any chemicals. Now being dubbed as an instant facelift, the procedure can take the place of Botox injections and other types of plastic surgery.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

Microdermabrasion rejuvenates the general appearance of the skin by removing or reducing the appearance of common facial blemishes, such as:

  • Age spots
  • Blackheads
  • Hyperpigmentation, or patches of dark and discoloured skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Dull, tired-looking skin
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Acne and acne scars
  • Rosacea, or the chronic inflammation of the skin causing redness and skin eruptions
    Aside from reducing the appearance of blemishes and signs of skin aging and damage, a crystal peeling procedure also promotes the growth of better, healthier skin. The skin that grows back following the said procedure has higher levels of elastin and collagen. Both give the skin its natural firmness and tautness. Unfortunately, collagen production decreases as a person ages, causing the skin to become loose and uneven. By promoting more collagen production, microdermabrasion can give patients a firmer, more youthful look.

Although similar in method with dermabrasion, this procedure is gentler, but it does come with some limitations. For fine lines, minor sun damage, and mild scars, a microdermabrasion may be sufficient. On the other hand, for deeper wrinkles and creases, facial folds, keloids, extreme sun damage, pock marks, and deep scars, other more invasive treatment options such as dermabrasion, facelift, chemical peel, or laser skin tightening are more appropriate. Microdermabrasion is also not capable of removing warts, moles and birthmarks, burn scars, and active acne, and should not be used by those who have an existing autoimmune disorder or diabetes.

The effects of a microdermabrasion can last for quite some time but eventually fade. Thus, many patients simply have the procedure done at least once a month.

How Does the Procedure Work

Microdermabrasion works by spraying microcrystals, or tiny drops of aluminum oxide crystals, on the surface of the skin then rubbing them deeper onto the skin’s surface to remove the uppermost layer of the skin, called the epidermis. The skin mistakes this action as a skin injury and therefore rushes to replace the injured skin with a fresh new one. In this way, the procedure encourages new skin growth.

Currently, there are two types of microdermabrasion, one that uses a handheld device to rub the tiny crystal particles on the skin’s surface and another one that uses a diamond-tipped wand.

While the device or wand strips off the dead skin cells, a vacuum mechanism attached to it suctions them along with the crystals. The process does not cause any pain, except for minor discomfort or mild sensations, and thus do not require any anaesthesia. Instead, patients are simply given numbing medication or drugs to help them relax before they undergo the procedure.

The duration of a crystal peeling procedure depends on the amount of facial imperfections that need to be removed, but is generally between 30 and 45 minutes. Patients are allowed to go home and to resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure, as there is no recovery downtime associated with it.

Possible Risks and Complications

Due to the possible risks and complications associated with the procedure, some patients may not be allowed to undergo microdermabrasion. These include pregnant women and patients who recently underwent a chemical peel procedure or a collagen injection. Dark-skinned patients are also advised to consider other skin rejuvenating options, as they face a higher risk of scarring and discoloration following a microdermabrasion procedure. Patients who recently received other facial treatments are asked to wait two to three weeks before they can safely undergo microdermabrasion.

It is normal for a patient to experience the following during and right after the procedure:

  • Mild scratching feeling while the doctor begins removing the superficial skin cells
  • Vibrating sensation, which is slightly similar to a massage
  • A suction, which effectively lifts off loose dead skin
  • Bruising, mainly due to the suction, that lasts for several days
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Flaking
  • Dryness
  • Erythema or skin redness
  • Edema or skin swelling
    To protect the newly treated skin following a crystal peeling appointment, patients are advised to use some sunscreen for the first few days especially when going out during the day. Patients are also advised to refrain from waxing and tanning the skin or using makeup during the first few weeks following treatment. For best results, dermatologists may also prescribe some special moisturizers to protect and enhance the results of the procedure.

The above effects, however, are all temporary and should subside on their own within a few hours, days, or weeks even without treatment. The redness usually takes longer and fades around six to eight weeks after the procedure.

However, microdermabrasion is still associated with some risks, such as:

  • Uneven colour changes
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Irritation due to the crystals
    If any of the above symptoms is experienced, patients are advised to seek an appointment with their dermatologist.

  • American Academy of Dermatology

The skin concerns that will benefit from a Microdermabrasion

All skin requires regular conditioning treatments to encourage radiance. Just like a haircut, a Microdermabrasion should be part of your monthly routine.

Some may view a Microdermabrasion as an indulgent activity but there is a difference between the day spa facial and a scientifically driven skin treatment such as the Microdermabrasion.

The fully customised 5-Step Microdermabrasion at LCA can significantly treat a variety of skin concerns and delivers visible results. Through regular treatments, your skin will remain healthy and have that amazing glow.

The 5-Step Microdermabrasion can be used to treat a variety of skin concerns including:

  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Mature skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Enlarge pores
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Pigmentation
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Redness

Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Through deep exfoliation, our 5-Step Microdermabrasion benefits include:

  • Clearer and brighter complexion – it reveals that inner glow
  • Stimulates collagen production to restore elasticity
  • Reduces breakouts – unclogs pores and congestion to reduce acne, blackheads and breakouts
  • Treats premature aging – treats sun exposure, dry skin, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles
  • Promotes even skin tone and reduces pigmentation – corrects, strengthens and clarifies the skin

Microdermabrasion side effects, are there any?

No downtime! You can get a 5-Step Microdermabrasion in your lunch break and apply makeup straight afterwards. It’s perfect for men and women and can be added to enhancing the results of cosmetic grade peels.

Microdermabrasion before and afters

Below is the before and after of a client who used our 5-Step Microdermabrasion as a treatment to help with her breakouts. On a tailored treatment plan, this was the result of:

1 x Fractional RF treatment

3 x Clearing 5-Step Microdermabrasion treatments

1 x LED Light Therapy treatment

Book in for a complimentary Microdermabrasion consultation and you’re on your way to glowing skin!

And as always, it pays to protect your new, healthy skin cells from UV by using an SPF. The derms rate Heliocare’s Advanced SPF 50 Gel, £19.

S.AlemdarGetty Images

3 Professional Microdermabrasion Treatments To Try Now:

– Aqua 3, Beau:ty Clinic, from £120 an hour

Instead of crystals, the Aqua 3 facial harnesses different-sized diamond granules (yep, you read that correctly – diamonds) to break down thickened skin cells, improving acne scars, deep wrinkles and stretch marks.

– HydraFacial, Debbie Thomas Clinic, from £95 for 30 minutes

The glow is real with this one. Beloved by models and celebrities from Suki Waterhouse to Paris Hilton, it merges detox, cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection for clear, radiant, protected skin. Plus, the cool air from the vacuum detracts from the abrasiveness of the crystals.

– Medical Microdermabrasion, Eden Skin Clinics, from £65

Blackheads, acne, sun damage – no skin gripe stands a chance against this painless, affordable facial treatment, which takes lacklustre skin and makes it luminous.

No time to book in for a professional treatment? All manner of our favourite beauty brands are now formulating skincare products and devices with polishing crystals, similar to those featured in the treatment, which you can use in the comfort of your own bathroom.



– Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish, £49

Acne-prone? This is chock full of professional grade crystals, glycolic acid and papaya enzymes to slough away dead skin and excess sebum. You can really feel it working as you massage it into the skin, but it isn’t at all scratchy.

– HoMedics Radiance Microdermabrasion, £199

Who needs a pro when you’ve got this handy device? The precise diamond tip polishes away dull surface skin from even hard-to-reach areas, such as around the nose, and the vacuum is gentle yet effective. After one go, our skin was smooth and glowy.

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Does microdermabrasion work?

Depending on how many treatments you have, you’ll notice a change in the clarity, elasticity and texture of your skin. Most dermatologists recommend around every four weeks. And the best results are usually seen by people in the early stages of ageing, between 35 and 50.

Microdermabrasion benefits

People with uneven pigmentation, fine lines and clogged pores can benefit from a series of microdermabrasion treatments.

The procedure stimulates blood flow, which increases the nutrition delivered to skin cells. This improves cell production, which improves skin’s elasticity and texture. So, if you have scarring, it may help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

However, it’s not recommended if you have skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, active sunburn, herpes, lupus, open sores, psoriasis, fragile capillaries or widespread acne. This can irritate the skin and cause further breakouts.

What is a microdermabrasion kit?

The main difference between a professional facial and at-home treatments is that the devices used by dermatologists generally have more power and penetrate deeper into the skin to provide precise exfoliation.

On the other hand, at home kits come in many different forms. There are facial brushes, such as the Clarisonic Mia, £153 at Fabled, which promise to clean your skin 6 times better than manual methods. There are microdermabrasion pens that have a spinning disc with an aluminium oxide crystal tip, like PMD’s Personal Microderm System, £135 at Dermacare Direct.

A microdermabrasion cloth is a popular alternative to the more expensive treatments on the market, and can offer a softer alternative for more sensitive skin types.

Time to book a treatment? We think so.

What is microdermabrasion facial?

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