Holding back the sands of time is indeed an impossibility, and there is no such thing as the fountain of youth. Plastic surgery may be an option, but it's expensive, invasive, and may seem extreme. So perhaps now you are resigned to the fact that makeup is your only hope for hiding those inevitable wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, or even scars. But there are options.
Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating process that partially or completely clears the first layer of skin on the face and neck. First used in Europe in the 1980s, the technique has recently been adopted and popularized in the United States. With a wave of this magic wand, microdermabrasion can erase the complexion imperfections that come with time. This may just be the treatment of choice for you.
How It Works
In the most commonly used method of microdermabrasion, a wand sprays fine crystals across the skin while dead skin cells are vacuumed off by a small suction device attached to the wand. Some compare the process to moderate sandblasting of the skin.
According to Atlanta-based esthetician Alison O'Neil Andrew, "Within the last ten years this procedure has been found effective as a mild yet beneficial form of exfoliation. Although the equipment has the ability to ablate the skin when used in higher calibrations, it is generally used to enhance the efficacy of products used for treatment of the skin on a daily basis."
Is It Right for You?
Have you spent too much time in the sun? Do you have age spots and freckles you'd like to lose? Do you want to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, or stretch marks? Are you looking to diminish raised scar tissue? Or are you just hoping to refresh your complexion? As you can see, almost anyone can benefit from microdermabrasion. Performed repeatedly and consistently, micro- dermabrasion can also be a successful acne treatment because it encourages the production of skin cells and collagen, helping to eliminate blackheads and oiliness. Because the technique uses no harsh chemicals, it is great for those with chemical sensitivities, and can be used on all skin colors and types.
Quick and Easy
Most clients do not find the procedure to be painful, and it requires no anesthetic. Since the procedure is non-invasive, little preparation is required; simply remove your makeup and come to the treatment room with a clean face.
While you lie back and relax, your esthetician will apply the wand to your face in a slow, methodical way. You can expect the treatment to take about thirty minutes to an hour. Side effects are rare, and your skin will look glowing and fresh almost immediately after the treatment.
Aggressive treatments may cause the skin to look slightly pink and tender for a few hours, so discuss this possibility with your skin care professional. Typically, you can resume normal activities and apply makeup and moisturizer soon after your microdermabrasion session.
As for the results? "After a micro- dermabrasion session, the skin feels smoother and there is an evident improvement in circulation due to the suction or vacuuming component of the treatment," O'Neil Andrew says. "The best results," she explains, "are found when microdermabrasion is used in conjunction with a facial treatment--the skin performs in a healthier manner than before the procedure. For instance, acne or small blemishes heal faster."
Once you've completed your session, maintaining your new, healthier skin depends on a solid home care regimen. According to O'Neil Andrew, "Nothing matters more than an effective daily home care plan. It is an essential reason for seeing a professional who knows you and your skin on an on-going basis."
Home care for skin that has undergone microdermabrasion is fairly simple. Because fresh skin has been newly exposed, it is important to avoid direct sunlight to the treated area for twenty-four hours after your session. In addition, always use sunscreen as an antiaging and protective measure. And, avoid products containing harsh chemicals, dyes, or perfumes until the skin has fully healed.
After the first twenty-four hours, resume your normal skin care routine and follow any special considerations, as determined by your esthetician.
"From the first visit on, the professional taking care of your skin will evaluate your daily regimen and update it as required according to your skin care needs at the time," says O'Neil Andrew.
To see best results, additional sessions should be scheduled at regular intervals, with the maximum number of treatments ranging from five to twelve, spaced about three weeks apart. Once the initial grouping of sessions is completed, scheduling the occasional follow-up treatment is recommended.
One note: In some states, microdermabrasion can only be performed by a physician or by estheticians who meet certain requirements and/or who are supervised by a physician. Ensure your skin care professional has the proper training and credentials.
Microdermabrasion is an effective technique to address skin issues long considered something you just have to live with. While the fountain of youth remains a piece of fiction, the magic wand of microdermabrasion can have profound effects on your complexion. Fine lines, wrinkles, an uneven tone, stretch marks, scarring, and acne can be addressed.