When we’re talking about microdermabrasion, although it might sound like a harsh or daunting treatment, we’re really only talking about a leveled-up version of exfoliation. It’s a treatment on offer in salons and spa’s to exfoliate and rejuvenate skin. Since you’ll find it in a professional setting, people question can you do microdermabrasion at home and if it is safe to do so.
Microdermabrasion doesn’t just scrub away impurities, it buffs away the stratum corneum – the top layer of our skin – including all the dead skin cells that sit on top, in order to trigger skin healing and cell renewal. This leaves us with a glowing complexion and a whole host of other benefits too. Anti-aging, treatment of acne scars, and enriched collagen stimulation to name just a few.
You have several options when it comes to home microdermabrasion and here we’ll take a look at the options available from machines to kits and scrubs and give you some pointers as to what products or tools might suit.
What is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is an abrasive process that clears away old, dead skin cells and debris on the surface of the skin. It could be described as a type of deep or advanced exfoliation in that it cleans pores and gets rid of the gunky stuff that can build up on the skin over time. Types and shapes of microderm devices and products may vary, but the principle remains the same.
Microdermabrasion machines use a diamond or crystal tip to gently abrase the skin. This process of mechanical exfoliation combines with suction, essentially vacuuming up dirt, debris and dead skin cells in order to clear and purify as you go.
Microdermabrasion is a gentler form of dermabrasion which is a more intensive procedure and involves a rotating disc to essentially sand down the skin. It’s an aggressive resurfacing that, unlike microdermabrasion, requires healing time. Most people don’t need to resort to this more extreme option unless you have specific skin issues. At-home microdermabrasion is usually more than sufficient to achieve fresh, healthy, young-looking skin.
Crystal vs. Diamond Microdermabrasion
In both clinics and with at-home devices, you’ll come across two types of microdermabrasion devices: crystal and diamond.
With crystal microdermabrasion, aluminum oxide crystals are blasted onto the skin, to dislodge and scuff away old skin cells revealing new, healthy skin below. The suction function of the device hoovers up the granular crystals to leave skin smooth.
With diamond microdermabrasion, the diamond particles are static. They are fixed to the tip of the device (or wand), which is then applied in a circular motion to physically exfoliate away dead skin. The particles are not loose, so there’s no risk of them getting left on the skin.
When microdermabrasion units were developed first, the abrasive material used was crystals. Diamond tip microdermabrasion came later and is now more commonly found in devices. The advantage of diamond devices is that you can achieve more precision and control. It’s easy and safer to get closer around the more delicate eye area.
How to do Home Microdermabrasion
Before you can start with home microderming – you’ll need to decide if you want to buy a microdermabrasion machine or one of the home kits you can find online. There are also a variety of scrubs and peels available and it’s also possible to try DIY solutions using sugar or baking soda for example.
You’ll find a wide selection of devices available for home use whatever your budget. Most of them have a diamond tip as it’s safer than crystals in a home machine. Most need to be plugged to use but there are a couple that can be charged up beforehand. Some will come with just one diamond tip and a few filters where others will have everything you need to carry out home treatments for months, including additional tips.
The Trophy Skin MicrodermMD is a top-of-the-range device, designed in a hard case unit. The technology and user interface is packed into the central part of the machine, and the treatment is issued through a small hose-like attachment. There are several modes and settings for the complete microderm experience. It even has a tutorial mode to help beginners perfect their technique.
Some microderm devices are more like wands – are easy to hold and operate.
The PMD Personal Microderm is a popular wand-shaped device that uses granular crystals for an easy at-home microdermabrasion session. It’s customizable and has a variety of tips to suit individual skin needs.
The Vanity Planet Exfora device is another example. This one uses diamond encrusted tips for more targeted exfoliation. It also has an LCD screen which is kinda cool and it’s easy to follow the instructions. It actually takes just 4 minutes for a treatment!
Best Microdermabrasion Machines for Home Use
If you’re feeling a little daunted by these high-tech microdermabrasion machines, you might like to consider a more gentle and less expensive microdermabrasion kit.
The Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion+ Advanced Cleansing System is an affordable and gentle alternative that uses a lotion, cleansing brush, and ‘thermal crystal polisher’ to rejuvenate the skin. It’s battery-operated and you can use the brush in the shower for daily cleansing. It offers good value for money as it’s a two-in-one system.
Another popular home kit is the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion Starter Kit. This is a simple system that claims visible results after just one use. The kit features single-use puffs, pre-dosed with super-fine crystals for gentle exfoliation. It operates by battery and includes all you need for 1 month. (12 puffs). Replacement puff packs are available to purchase separately. If you’re not sure microdermabrasion is for you, this could be worth a try. It won’t break the bank if not!
A good mircodermabrasion scrub might suit you better if tools or gadgets don’t interest you. These kinds of scrubs usually have a combination of ingredients for both physical and chemical exfoliation which make them more effective than regular facial scrubs. Some regular scrubs contain harsh abrasives but an effective scrub does not need to be harsh.
Needcrystals is a natural exfoliant containing crystals from Brazil and France. These are ultra-fine crystals and gentle enough to suit all skin types. With this product you add some to your cleanser or body wash, mix together and apply to clean skin. You only need to leave on for a minute or two. Interestingly, they have other products to suit specific concerns eg, Needcrystals with vitamin C for anti-aging and Needcrystals with salicylic acid for acne-prone skin.
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub uses Dead Sea salt with a citrus oil blend to buff away dead skin. Salt is also detoxifying helping skin to feel soft and smooth.
The Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion exfoliator is designed to target signs of aging using pharmaceutical-grade crystals. It’s on the higher side regarding price, in fact, it’s not much cheaper than an electronic microderm device! However, it has over 300 positive reviews – people seem to love it as it’s not too harsh but strong enough to get results.
If you’re feeling like mechanical exfoliation is not for you, or if you have sensitive skin, you might opt for a chemical peel instead of a microdermabrasion session.
Although the word ‘chemical’ sounds harsh, chemical exfoliation is actually the gentler of the two. It uses naturally-derived AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) like glycolic acid to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells. When they loosen up, the solution melts them away.
The results of this option are noticeable, especially with regular treatment, but will likely be less dramatic than with microdermabrasion.
Another option for clearer skin is pore extraction. Pores are steamed open and dirt and sebum manually extracted. Skin is steamed to open pores, and dirt and sebum are manually extracted. Caution is advised here. When we go prodding around in our pores, we risk pushing dirt further in, creating inflammation, and even permanently damaging or scarring our skin. Pore extraction forms a part of many professional facials, and it’s fine to attend a salon or clinic for this kind of treatment. But one of the many advantages of microdermabrasion is that the suction performs pore extraction as you go. The main difference is that it’s safe to do at home.
Who can use Home Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is usually safe for all skin types. The only exceptions are those with particularly sensitive skin who could bruise easily or perhaps have sensitive skin conditions.
But it is also not advisable for example if you have any kind of infection or active acne. It can also exacerbate conditions like rosacea or dermatitis. It’s best to consult a dermatologist if you’re considering this route. Furthermore, those who have taken acne medication in the past 6 months should avoid it as the active ingredient isotretinoin can lead to complications such as scarring.
How Often Should You Microderm at Home?
Most at-home microdermabrasion devices advise using every 2 to 3 days. But it will depend on your skincare needs. If you’re looking to treat scars or signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines, 2 to 3 uses a week will get you results safely and efficiently. For those who just want to freshen up their complexion, once a week may be enough. Start incorporating it in your beauty routine slowly and see how your skin reacts.
Best Options and Solutions for Microdermabrasion at Home
Your best options for getting smoother, softer, glowing skin with microdermabrasion at home depend on what you are comfortable with.
Microderm scrubs are effective and also quick and easy to use. You only need to apply to the skin for a minute or two. Kits and machines involve a little more gadgetry but switching from lotions and scrubs to electronic machines can be a little intimidating.
However there’s no doubt that the best results do come from using a machine. They’re more powerful and many utilize professional-grade crystals or diamond tips to clear away the top layer of skin, revealing fresh, new, clean, skin below.
The range of benefits to skin includes improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimize pores, improved skin tone and texture among others. And you can have all of these benefits right from the comfort of your own home at a fraction of the cost of professional salon treatment.