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Microdermabrasion

Quick Facts Plastic Surgery Procedures

Microdermabrasion Quick Facts

  • Best Candidates: People who want to improve their appearance with a more youthful complexion and smoother skin
  • Procedure Length: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Inpatient/Outpatient: Outpatient
  • Anesthesia: None required
  • Results: Temporary
  • Procedures in 2020: 522,693 (source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons)

Over time, the effects of aging, sun exposure and other factors can damage the skin and take their toll on your complexion. Microdermabrasion is a gentle and effective way to smooth the skin and remove dead and damaged skin from the face, allowing for the formation of healthy new skin. The majority of microdermabrasion patients successfully achieve an improved appearance and an increase in self-confidence.

The procedure information contained in this article will give you a good introduction to microdermabrasion. Schedule a consultation with a qualified professional to receive an examination and discuss your options for microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion Overview

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive, non-chemical skin resurfacing procedure used to treat skin conditions and imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles, rough skin, crow's feet, age spots, uneven pigmentation and light acne scars. Microdermabrasion is often called a "lunch hour procedure" or "lunch hour peel" because it can be performed during a typical lunch break with no downtime afterward. Microdermabrasion is usually performed on the face and neck, but can be used on any part of the body to make dramatic improvements in the tone and texture of the skin.

A series of treatments is usually needed to achieve the most beneficial results with microdermabrasion. Although most patients see a visible improvement in their complexion after the first treatment, four to eight microdermabrasion treatments performed at 1- to 2-week intervals are usually recommended. Thereafter, some patients choose to maintain results with periodic "touch-up" sessions.

During treatment, a hand-held instrument that emits a spray of tiny microcrystals is held against the skin. The microcrystals gently resurface the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells from the top layer of skin and removing dry, damaged skin. As a result, new skin is revealed with higher levels of collagen and elastin, the proteins that give the skin its tone, texture and elasticity. Microdermabrasion is an effective treatment for skin of all types and tones.

How Microdermabrasion is Performed

The microdermabrasion procedure begins with a thorough cleansing of the skin in the area to be treated. Goggles are normally used for eye protection. The microdermabrasion instrument is then used to emit a gentle spray of microcrystals onto the surface of the skin. Suction is used to remove the microcrystals and exfoliated skin. The mild abrasive action of the microcrystals safely removes the outer layer of skin and reveals new skin with a healthier, younger-looking appearance.

Microdermabrasion is usually performed in your doctor's office. No anesthesia is required and each treatment session takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

Best Candidates

The best candidates for microdermabrasion are in good health and want to enhance the appearance of their face with fresher, more youthful skin.

Generally, the best candidates for microdermabrasion:

  • Are in good physical and psychological health.
  • Are well-informed about treatment options and have realistic expectations.
  • Want to improve their appearance by effectively treating fine lines, wrinkles, rough skin, age spots and other relatively mild skin conditions and imperfections.
  • Would benefit psychologically and emotionally from smoother, younger-looking skin with an improved texture.

Microdermabrasion is usually not recommended for deeper scars, deep wrinkles and severely sun-damaged skin. Patients with these and other moderate to severe skin problems may consider dermabrasion, chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing.

If you believe that you may be a good candidate for microdermabrasion, a qualified plastic surgeon can evaluate your circumstances, explain anything about the procedure you don't understand, answer all of your questions and help you decide if the procedure is right for you.

Microdermabrasion Risks

When performed by a qualified technician, microdermabrasion is a simple and effective "lunch hour" procedure with virtually no risks or side effects. Patients with sensitive skin may experience mild skin irritation and the skin may be slightly pink for a short time. For most patients, the procedure feels like a facial massage as the hand-held microdermabrasion instrument is moved across the skin.

Microdermabrasion Costs

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average surgeon/physician fee for microdermabrasion in 2020 was $167. The total fee for microdermabrasion can vary considerably depending on the region of the country, the number of treatments necessary and the patient's specific needs. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with complete information on costs and financing options at your consultation.

Since a series of four to eight microdermabrasion treatments is usually recommended to provide patients with optimal results, most microdermabrasion providers offer packages of multiple sessions at a discount.

Microdermabrasion Consultation

If you decide that you might benefit from microdermabrasion, the first step is to locate a qualified plastic surgeon and schedule a consultation. At the consultation, the doctor will perform a physical examination to evaluate the condition of your facial skin and take a complete medical history.

The surgeon should carefully listen to the goals you have for your appearance, fully answer all of your questions and explain the different options that are available. Depending on the severity of the problem, he or she may recommend microdermabrasion and/or an alternative skin resurfacing procedure, such as dermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing or chemical peel. The surgeon should give you the full details of the recommended procedure, including the benefits, risks, costs and recovery time.

As the consultation concludes, you may wish to schedule your procedure, take some time to think or seek a second opinion. If you decide to proceed with the procedure, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion Recovery

Most patients experience no pain or discomfort either during or after a microdermabrasion session. People with sensitive skin may experience a mild degree of skin irritation and the treated skin may be slightly pink for a few hours. Women can apply makeup immediately after microdermabrasion to conceal any skin redness that occurs. Normal activities can be resumed immediately.

Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions on caring for your skin after a microdermabrasion treatment. Avoid exposing the newly revealed skin to the sun and use sunscreen daily. Your doctor can recommend a sunscreen as well as a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.