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What is Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive epidermal treatment that removes the dead and damaged surface layer of skin cells to reveal healthier new skin cells underneath. This stimulates the deeper dermal layer of skin to produce more collagen and elastin, giving the skin a younger, firmer, more supple appearance. Medical-quality microdermabrasion blasts or "abrades" skin with aluminum oxide crystals applied by a doctor or trained aesthetician. Only licensed professionals at a doctor's office or skin care salon can use these $10,000 FDA-approved devices. Up to 12 treatments are usually required costing thousands of dollars! Medical resurfacing treatments like dermabrasion, chemical peeling and laser resurfacing can be effective, too, but are expensive and have the potential for serious complications.

In contrast, home microdermabrasion eliminates the need for costly equipment and high-priced medical professionals. It uses the same, sterile aluminum oxide crystals found in medical-grade machines, embedded in applicators you safely use yourself. Home microdermabrasion actually removes a layer of dead, damaged skin cells just like a professional treatment, for about 10% of the cost - and with comparable results. Some so-called "home microdermabrasion products" use "exfoliating creams" and "skin polishing machines." Real microdermabrasion needs friction to "abrade" the skin.

Creams reduce friction, so they need to be applied with a skin polishing machine, and even then often give disappointing results. The process may feel nice and give your skin a superficial "glow," but technically, if it isn't abrading the skin it isn't microdermabrasion. It can't treat serious skin conditions, and doesn't provide lasting results. In fact, these products must be used every day just for a superficial result, while medical-quality microdermabrasion is so effective that you only should do it once every two weeks! Most people will see improvement after the first treatment, though the best results come after a series of treatments. Acne scars and large pores will be noticeably reduced.

Age spots, discoloration, and fine lines will be less visible. Deeply pitted, scarred and dark pigmented areas may require more treatment. Microdermabrasion is not a "miracle cure" and results vary, but it has helped some serious skin conditions even more than expensive procedures like laser or chemical peels.

Kathleen Williams is the developer of the Dermanesse Professional Home Microdermabrasion System. She is an expert on microdermabrasion.

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