Physical exfoliation buffs and polishes your skin to achieve a healthy glow and helps alleviate fine lines, pigmentation, acne and dull, dry skin. The virtually painless procedure uses a blend of abrasion and suction to reveal fresher, younger-looking skin after just one half-hour treatment. You'll leave your session looking pink, but this will fade after a few hours at most. Most dermatologists recommend a series of at least six treatments (plus maintenance) for optimal results. While microdermabrasion is available at spas and salons, dermatologists have access to more powerful equipment for more significant results. However, if anyone other than the physician is going to be performing this treatment, make sure they are operating with the supervision of an on-site dermatologist or plastic surgeon and have the experience and qualifications to use the equipment safely.
I Did It: Liz's Microdermabrasion story
The last time I went for my annual dermatologist visit, he suggested that I give microdermabrasion a try to even out my skin tone. Since it only takes about a half hour and he told me it doesn't hurt, I figured why not and scheduled an appointment with the in-office aesthetician. The aesthetician explained the process and the equipment to me. The machine had two clear cylinders on the top--one contained fresh crystals that would be "sandblasted" onto my face and the other was the receptacle for the used crystals and debris that was simultaneously suctioned off during the treatment. (Microdermabrasion crystals should only be used once.) The hand piece, attached to a hose that led back to the machine, had a clear, dome-shaped plastic piece that would be applied to my face. Cool compresses were applied to my eyes, to not only soothe them, but also to protect them from the crystals. The aesthetician then went over my face, treating a tiny area at a time. I could feel the crystals hitting my skin, but the thing I felt most was the slight suction. The whole process took a little over a half hour. When I looked in the mirror I was definitely pink (partly due to the increased blood flow from the suction), but my skin was so soft and the fine lines around my eyes seemed less visible too. The pinkness lasted for about an hour, but the smoothness stayed for a few days. I loved my microdermabrasion--I felt like I was treating myself as well as treating my skin. My dermatologist recommended that I go back at least every two weeks for the next few months, and I think this is one commitment that I won't have a problem making!
Active Ingredients Defined
Sometimes deciphering a bottle of moisturizer is like trying to translate a foreign language.
- Alpha lipoic acid: The antioxidant helps protect genetic material, such as DNA, in the body, which can reduce the effects of aging.
- Coenzyme Q10: Also known by its generic name ubiquinone, coenzyme Q10 plays a role in neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals.
- DMAE: An amino acid. Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) may prevent sagging skin and increase skin's firmness.
- Idebenone: A powerful antioxidant. Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm skin cells' DNA. Over time, the damage they inflict can contribute to aging. Antioxidants, especially idebenone, scavenge free radicals, thereby protecting your skin, reducing fine lines and evening out the complexion.
- Kinetin: A naturally occurring compound that fends off free radicals, reduces wrinkles, and retains the skin's moisture. Kinetin is nonirritating and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin A: This antioxidant fights free radicals and encourages collagen production in the skin.
- Vitamin C: The antioxidant vitamin is used to combat the effects of aging. Vitamin C is often listed as ascorbic acid.
- Vitamin E: The antioxidant combats the signs of aging and some doctors believe it promotes healing of scars. Vitamin E is also known as d-alpha-tocopherol.
- Vitamin K: The anti-aging antioxidant helps the blood clot properly, allowing wounds to heal, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin K is also known as phytoquinone and phylloquinone.