Everything you’ve wanted to know about microdermabrasion

Your microdermabrasion questions answered.

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When I booked my first ever microdermabrasion treatment, I felt like I must have been one of the few people that hadn’t tried it yet. I’d heard really mixed reviews from the people around me. One friend said that she loved it but it’s too expensive. Another said that it hurt and made her pigmentation worse.

As someone who loves skin products and treatments, I decided to give it a go myself to see what all the fuss was about.

I booked my treatment at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic. It has a convenient CBD location (perfect for a lunch hour appointment) and also has a medical grade machine.

My Skin Technician, Bettina immediately put any reservations I had to rest. She called microdermabrasion a treatment that should be looked at like “going to the gym for your skin”. An absolute wealth of knowledge, she rattled off facts on lymphatic drainage and skin-cell turnover. Bettina had a science-based explanation for absolutely every single skin question I threw at her. It was worth visiting the clinic just to chat to her. One of the many things I learned is that microdermabrasion is probably one of best treatments you can have for a range of skin issues.

For anyone considering microdermabrasion as a treatment, here are all of your questions answered.

What is microdermabrasion?

It’s a treatment where crystals or discs are used to abrade the skin, removing all of the old, dead skin and revealing the lovely, new, young skin beneath.

A machine shoots out crystals, which scrub the dead skin off when they land. The crystals, along with any dead skin cells, are then sucked up by a vacuum. The disc treatment involves an abrasive disc (often with diamonds in it), which is rotated around the skin to achieve the same exfoliating effect.

My treatment came in three sections. First, I had a round of corundum crystal microdermabrasion - these crystals are diamond cut. Next, I had the same but with a different kind of crystal made from organic tree bark - these have enzymes which promote collagen production. Finally, I had around 10 minutes with the diamond disc. Some treatments only use one kind of microdermabrasion, I was lucky enough to experience a few.

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What are the benefits of microdermabrasion?

There are so many! Bettina explained that microdermabrasion is a treatment suitable for all ages and for many skin conditions. It’s great for achieving a brighter and more youthful complexion. It can minimise the appearance of wrinkles. It can fix hyper-pigmentation or discolouration. It can reduce the size of your pores (because it sucks all the dirt out of them). It can ease skin congestion. It can reduce the appearance of blemishes and age spots. It’s also great for lymphatic drainage, which helps to reduce under-eye circles.

One of the benefits that I instantly noticed after the treatment was that my skin was glowing. Honestly, my skin had never looked fresher or brighter. Wow. The other instantly noticeable benefit was that the two spots I had on my forehead were gone. I had an important event that week, so naturally I developed two sizable pimples above my brows. But post-treatment they were gone. Just two little lightly-red flat patches remained where the blemishes were and even they were gone after an hour or so.

A few days later I noticed that my pores were also a bit smaller and that the little congested bumps I have under my skin were reduced by about half.

Who can get microdermabrasion?

After speaking to a few people, I was led to believe that microdermabrasion isn’t a good idea for people with dark olive skin like mine. But Bettina dispelled this myth. She told me that microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin colours and skin types. It’s also suitable for skin of all ages from very young to mature.

Does microdermabrasion hurt?

No. It doesn’t. Before my treatment, so many people said to me, “I heard somewhere that it hurts a lot.” I’m not sure where this myth came from but it really doesn’t hurt. Depending on the strength of the crystals it can feel scratchy. But there was not one point during my treatment that I ever experienced anything close to pain. I actually found the procedure extremely relaxing.

Does microdermabrasion get rid of acne scars?

From my discussions at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic, I learned that microdermabrasion is great for certain kinds of acne scarring. The appearance of acne scars is softened by the removal of a layer of dead skin. But also, microdermabrasion can encourage cell turnover, which can help renew and repair conditions like acne scarring.

There’s also the secondary benefit. Microdermabrasion allows any products or serums you’re using to work more effectively. So the effects of any other acne scar treatment that you’re using should be increased.

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Does microdermabrasion get rid of wrinkles?

Wrinkles are caused by sun damage and repetitive moment in your face, so unfortunately, microdermabrasion won’t get rid of your wrinkles. I have one expression line in between my brows and I noticed that after my treatment, the appearance was softened, but it was definitely still there.

My skin definitely looked younger but I’m sure that even 10 treatments wouldn’t get rid of my line. I’ll either have to stop frowning or start getting botox.

How often do you need microdermabrasion?

This was a question that I definitely wanted an answer to. According to Bettina, if you have a condition that you’re trying to treat, you should come in every four to six weeks for good results. But if you’re there for the fun, fresh feeling of ultra-glowy skin, then you don't need to come in as often. For me, I think I'm going to go every eight to ten weeks.

What were the results like?

If you’ll allow me to brag, I looked amazing. The three days after my treatment is probably the best my skin has ever looked. I didn’t bother with foundation or bronzer. I felt glowy enough without it. My pores looked finer, my skin looked brighter, my blemishes were reduced and my dark circles were lighter.

Two weeks on and my skin is still in better condition than normal. But I will admit, it’s not bright and glowy anymore.

What was the aftercare like?

After microdermabrasion, your skin can be a little raw. You’ve just had several layers of dead skin taken off and the stuff you’re left with is new and sensitive, so it’s important not to touch it too much. Your hands have a lot of bacteria on them and you don’t want big infected spots on your new glowing skin.

At Sydney Cosmetic Clinic, they put a kind of “second skin” gel on my face that dried translucent. It protected my new skin from the elements when I went outside. Bettina even said I could sleep with it on that night if I wanted to.

That’s about all you need to worry about. I barely had any redness and there’s no special cream that you need to worry about applying. Just keep your face clean and out of the sun for the first day or so.

How much does microdermabrasion cost?

It just depends on where you go. I’ve seen treatments for $60. I’ve also seen treatments for $300.

In my experience as a regular patron of spas and facials, the quality of the treatment you receive is reflected in the price that you pay.

A one hour session at Sydney Cosmetic Clinic costs $150, which I believe is quite reasonable.

Was it worth it?

I will definitely be going back. As I don’t have a specific skin condition that I’m trying to fix, I doubt I’ll make my appointments that regularly. It’s more something that I’d like to get done before my birthday or Christmas, for occasions where I want to look extra nice.

Got another question about microdermabrasion? Ask us in the comments.

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