Last month we compared IPL to dermaroller treatments. This month we will examine microdermabrasion.
How does Microdermabrasion work?
Microdermabrasion is a relative recent phenomenon and was first used in Italy in 1985. It is also referred to as mechanical exfoliation, skin resurfacing or micro-resurfacing. There a number of different methods but they all involve removing the outer most layer of the skin. Most use some form or abrasive particles that are passed across the skin at high speed in a vacuum removing the skin. The process sounds a little like sand blasting but is performed at a subtler level. Newer versions of microdermabrasion may actually be particle free but are still capable of removing the surface level of the skin. The level of skin removed in microdermabrasion depends on the practitioner. Many only remove superficial levels of the stratum corneum while others will remove deeper layers of skin.
Benefits of microdermabrasion
By removing the outer layers of skin microdermabrasion stimulates fibroblast activity which leads to collagen production. Production of collagen is considered an important of modern anti aging treatments. Many earlier microdermabrasion treatments removed multiple layers of the skin leaving the skin weeping. Later treatments can often remove less skin while still claiming to be able to stimulate collagen production.
Side Effects of Microdermabrasion
Proponents of microdermabrasion consider it a non-invasive technique as it does not puncture deeply into the skin. However by removing multiple layers of the skin microdermabrasion is actually exposing deeper layers of skin in much larger quantities. This can lead to longer recovery times with skin weeping and sometimes bleeding and increased risk of infection. The outer layers of skin perform a natural function of providing us with a barrier with the outside world. By removing this layer there is an increased risk of infection, loss of moisture from the skin and a high sensitivity to UV light. In addition there can be prolonged recovery times while the new skin cells develop. By removing the outer protective layers of the skin microdermabrasion also can become a risk for those with compromised immune systems and most Doctors now recommend that it should be avoided by those suffering diabetes or other auto immune disorders. Another risk with microdermabrasion is that it can tamper with the skins natural colour balance and can lead to a change in or loss of pigmentation. This seems to be particularly common in people with darker skin where permanent white patches have been known to develop after treatment and we have seen several cases of this in our clinics. This loss of pigmentation is a potential side effect of all skin rejuvenation techniques that remove the outer protective layers of skin.
The advantages of skin needling over microdermabrasion.
Like microdermabrasion, skin needling can stimulate collagen production in the dermis to produce anti aging results and also to benefit scars. Both work through a complex biological process which naturally results in the body producing more of its own natural collagen. However unlike microdermabrasion skin needling does not remove the outer protective layer of skin. Instead it causes micro channels through the outer epidermis (outer layer of skin). By using micro channels the outer layer of skin is left in place dramatically reducing the risk of infection and fluid loss from the skin. As the outer layer of skin is not removed there is also not the same risk of colour changes or loss of pigmentation in the skin which can occur with microdermabrasion. Proponents of microdermabrasion also often point to its ability to increase the penetration of anti aging products into the skin as the outer protective layer has been removed. Skin needling by creating micro channels through the skin can also increase this absorption (transdermal absorption) through the skin but without the higher risks associated with removing the outer layer of skin altogether in microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion has been a very popular anti aging techniques for several decades due to its ability to stimulate collagen production and increase absorption of products through the skin. Skin needling using a derma roller can also stimulate collagen production and increase absorption through the skin but has the advantage of not removing the outer protective layers of the skin so dramatically reducing the risks involved. The use of skin needling is actually an ancient technique with roots in ancient China and a long history of safe use. Its use has increased dramatically in recent years with technological advances in needle quality and with increasing evidence of its advantages over modern beauty techniques like microdermabrasion. Modern skin needling was hailed as a breakthrough when first proposed by a plastic surgeon who was previously experienced in techniques like microdermabrasion. Given the clear advantages of this very natural technique over techniques like microdermabrasion it is hard not to see it continuing to grow in popularity. As always White Lotus would like to declare its bias towards skin needling. As a company who supports and sells natural yet effective alternatives to many less healthy mainstream beauty practices we both support and sell natural skin needling devices. Read more about skin needling