Every Question You Have About Microdermabrasion, Answered
State of Skin is our monthlong exploration of what women love, hate, and need to know about their skin — from the most common concerns to the best kept secrets in beauty.
There's no one-size-fits-all facial. From LED lights, to high-tech lasers, and a good old fashioned deep cleanse with traditional products, spa menus can be a lot to take in. But despite all of the choices, no facial treatment seems to be as popular as microdermabrasion. Your mom loves it, your friend swears by it, and women across America are big fans, too. When InStyle polled a group of over 1,800 women across the country about their biggest skin concerns, 57 percent said they were familiar with microdermabrasion, and 32 percent said they would splurge on the facial over other treatments.
What's all the hype about? The treatment exfoliates the top layer of skin to reveal a brighter, clearer, and more radiant complexion. It's safe for all skin types and tones, and there's absolutely zero downtime post facial. In a time where many of us are constantly chasing that J.Lo glow, a microdermabrasion treatment might just get you one step closer to your skin goals.
If you've been considering microdermabrasion, you're in the right place. We turned to Dr. Jared Jagdeo, board-certified dermatologist and medical director at Ever/Body in New York City, and Kate Twist, CEO of Ever/Body to break down everything you need to know about microdermabrasion, including what happens during the treatment, side effects, cost, and more.
What is Microdermabrasion?
"Microdermabrasion gently allows our skin to achieve balance and wellness by removing the outermost layer of the skin (called the stratum corneum) allowing for an improvement in skin tone and texture," Dr. Jagdeo explains. "Microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types when performed by a qualified clinician."
What Happens During a Microdermabrasion Treatment?
The licensed skincare professional or dermatologist will first assess your skin to determine the focus of the treatment based on your skin's needs and your desired results. "The facial starts with a deep cleanse, hydrating with a special product that removes dead skin cells and makes the skin receptive to the microdermabrasion," says Twist.
Then, the microdermabrasion tool is passed over your face twice to remove the dry, superficial layer of dead skin cells. "The first pass of the microdermabrasion removes the top layer of dead skin cells, and the second pass targets the areas of concern," explains Twist.
The treatment concludes with a soothing toner, which also removes any lingering bits of dead skin, followed by products tailored to your skin type and needs. Then, a coat of SPF is applied as the final step.
Who Should Get Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types and tones, but it's not ideal for those with severe active breakouts or rosacea, because these skin types have a compromised barrier that can easily become irritated.
What Should You Do Before Getting Microdermabrasion?
In the days leading up to the treatment, it's best not to use retinol and other harsh exfoliants on your skin. And if you have Botox, fillers, or get chemical peels, Twist says you shouldn't get microdermabrasion within two to three weeks of your last treatment.
What Are the Side Effects?
Aside from some redness, there's no downtime following a microdermabrasion treatment. You'll also be able to instantly see results. "This treatment is often referred to as the 'natural' face lift because it improves elasticity, tightness, and rejuvenates the face," Twist says. "Following the treatment, you'll be able to see increased definition in your jawline, more contoured cheeks, and a lifted, brighter eye area."
What Should You Do Post-Microbermabrasion Treatment?
Since redness is the only side effect, you may not want to attend any big event immediately following the treatment. Twist recommends to wait four hours to apply makeup and to wear sunscreen for at least 48 hours post treatment, since your skin will be extra-sensitive to UV/UVA rays. "It's also important to avoid using harsh scrubs and exfoliants for at least a week," she adds.
How Often Should You Get Microdermabrasion?
"Once a month is ideal to keep the skin looking rejuvenated, lifted, and contoured," says Twist. "Over time you’ll see an overall improvement in skin and this can become part of your skincare routine.”
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How Much Does Microdermabrasion Cost?
The price of microdermabrasion varies depending on where you live and the clinician or dermatologist performing the treatment. At Ever/Body, it's $225, which also includes a microcurrent facial following the treatment.
But while cost might be a big factor in choosing where you to get the treatment, it's important to do your research to ensure you're going to a place that's reputable and properly licensed.
What's the Difference Between an In-Office Treatment and At-Home Microdermabrasion Kits?
While at-home kits or exfoliating products with "microdermabrasion" in their names can boost your glow, the results don't compare to those of an in-office treatment. "Microdermabrasion is difficult to replicate at home without the professional grade machines that are used during an actual treatment," explains Twist. "That said, you can use products to help continue the clarity and glow you get from a professional microdermabrasion facial. AHA and BHA acid serums and gels help stimulate the skin’s natural exfoliation process and minimize the buildup of dead skin cells, resulting in improvement in the appearance of skin texture and tone."