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Microderm Abrasion system
 Microderm Abrasion system

Microdermabrasion (often referred to as Microderm) is a family of cosmetic procedures popular in day spas, doctors' practices, and medical spas in which the stratum corneum (dead outermost surface of the skin) is partially or completely removed by light abrasion, to remove sun-damaged skin and to remove or lessen scars and dark spots on the skin.

The procedure is not very painful and requires no anesthetic. Microdermabrasion can be used medically for scar removal when the scar is raised above the surrounding skin, but is less effective with sunken scars. There is very little, if any, evidence that microdermabrasion stimulates collagen formation. Microdermabrasion can also be used for treatment of acne, but must be repeated periodically to be effective. Microdermabrasion should not be used on patients who have taken the medication Accutane in the previous twelve months.

Different methods include mechanical abrasion from jets of zinc oxide or aluminum oxide crystals, fine organic particles, or a roughened surface. Particles are removed with a wand/handpiece through which the abrasive particles come. The term dermabrasion itself refers to the more severe medical procedure carried out under general or light anesthesia.

In the past, microdermabrasion was carried out using abrasive crystals. However, in the last decade, it has become more common to use a wand with a roughened surface. This procedure requires no medical oversight and is commonly used in conjunction with facial spa treatments. These days there are a multiplicity of machines available for microdermabrasion. However while there are a multiplicity of machines available for performing this procedure, the results of their use are not consistent nor standard in the industry. The key factor in achieving the desired results is having the treatment performed by a qualified and well trained Aesthetician. Generally the results of microdermabrasion is subjective in the eye of the beholder. Any purchaser of Microdermabrasion services should understand and accept the fact, that microdermabraision is purely cosmetic and does not permanently improve any skin conditions. Before purchasing any series of sessions (at a cost of over $750) you should consider whether or not this procedure will achieve the results you want. It is critical that the technician properly analyze the skin prior to commencing with a microdermabrasion treatment. This will determine the proper settings, depth, and number of treatments in order to achieve the desired and realistic results.

The growth of the microdermabrasion treatment industry has led to innovations and there are currently a few different microdermabrasion methods available.

Multiple professional microdermabrasion methods exist:
Crystal microdermabrasion
Crystal microdermabrasion systems are the traditional treatment of choice and rely on tiny crystals that are blasted onto the skin to perform the exfoliating process. Although the crystal microdermabrasion system is still widely used, the introduction of alternatives has led to a trend away from this treatment system.

Diamond microdermabrasion
The exfoliation process occurs when a diamond tipped head makes contact with the skin and abrades against it [diamond microdermabrasion machine.With both conventional crystal and diamond microdermabrasion systems the dead skin cells are withdrawn away from the face. This style of dermabrasion, while still widely sold in spas or medical spas, has very little effect, even after multiple treatments (as they are typically sold). A better solution would be to discuss with your therapist whether a chemical peel (and its many different levels) is more appropriate for improving the condition of your skin. At times, and only by a well trained therapist, the two procedures are alternated to achieve optimum results. Keep in mind chemical peels can not be used very close to the eye area, if this is your area of concern.

Home Microdermabrasion
Home microdermabrasion systems are an increasingly popular alternative to professional treatments. These are cheap and very easy to perform, and although not as powerful as professional systems, they may be used to maintain the effects of clinical microdermabrasion. There is a great deal of competition in the home microdermabrasion systems market with most of the big cosmetics and skin care brands launching their own home systems.

Microdermabrasion is a procedure where tiny particles "sand" or "polish" the skin and gradually remove scarred or discolored epidermal tissue. The surface skin cell turnover will be enhanced and the skin will be visibly fresher. Treatments focus on skin renewal and accelerate rebuilding of healthy collagen skin cells post microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing or harsh peels. For depressed scars, such as pitted acne scars, subcision with needles is often used by estheticians to break up the deeply buried scar tissue, and a home microdermabrision system then speeds up new healthy skin remodeling: the orderly process of laying out new collagen and elastin fibers.

Scar reduction
The reduction of scars, lesions, and stretch marks from the skin is dependent on a process called "skin remodeling". The skin is designed to heal wounds fast to prevent blood loss and infection. Scars are made from a quickly formed "collagen glue" that the body deposits into an injured area for protection and strength.

In the optimal skin healing, if you have a skilled surgeon the wounded skin is rapidly closed, then the healed area is slowly reconstructed to remove the residual collagen scars and blend this skin area into nearby skin. This procedure is not standard so you should check with your surgeon to verify the level of skin repair that will be performed during surgery (i.e. how much scarring will result).

Scar collagen is removed and replaced with a mixture of skin cells and invisible collagen fibers. One way to accelerate remodeling is to induce a small amount of controlled skin damage with a needle, laser, microdermabrasion, scrubbing massage or other means, and then let the body repair processes rebuild the skin area. A second method is to use skin healing accelerators to increase the body's natural healing processes to obtain even better results.

(The above paragraph may or may not be appropriate or accurate with regards to the subject of Microdermabrasion. However, this author's intent is not to make such a determination, so the above paragraph remains as found.)

For major scars, microdermabrasion is not appropriate. It will not improve the appearance of scarred skin, nor minimize the scars. Only time and procedures performed by your plastic surgeon will improve the appearance of scars from a previous procedure. If you are undergoing any skin procedure, you should discuss with your surgeon what the effect of the procedure will have on your skin (scarring, etc.). Major excisions by your skin surgeon will result in major scarring. Microdermabrasion will not improve the appearance of these types of scars