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Beauty really is skin deep

Microdermabrasion, sometimes called simply "microderm," is a mild cosmetic procedure in which the outermost layer of skin is removed by lightly abrading the surface. By removing this dead outer layer, microdermabrasion reduces the appearance of sun damage, dark spots and other minor imperfections. Also, because what's left is the younger, healthier, live skin underneath, microderm results in a cleaner, fresher, more rejuvenated look.

Microdermabrasion skin treatments have long been popular in day spas and cosmetic surgery offices, but with new developments in home treatments, many people are now opting for the cheaper, more convenient do-it-yourself option.

Microdermabrasion Methods

Professional microdermabrasion treatments usually consist of either crystal microdermabrasion or diamond microdermabrasion. In crystal microdermabrasion treatments, a handheld unit propels aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin at high speeds and then vacuums the used crystals up, along with dirt and dead skin cells. In diamond microdermabrasion, a diamond-tipped wand is rubbed over the skin to remove dirt and dead skin cells, which are then vacuumed up as in the crystal method.

Diamond microdermabrasion tends to be less irritating to the skin, and the additional control allows for safer treatment of sensitive areas, such as those around the eyes.

Home microdermabrasion treatments consist of a crystal cream and a massaging implement or applicator. Usually, these come together in a microdermabrasion kit, but they may also be sold separately. Don't be fooled into thinking an exfoliating cream or cleanser is the same thing as a microdermabrasion kit, though – for a true microdermabrasion treatment, you need both the cream and the wand.

There are numerous home microderm treatments on the market, and finding one that works for you will likely be a process of trial and error. As with makeup and other skin care products, what works for one person might not work as well for another, so while you can use reviews to guide your search, your best bet is to try it for yourself. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, check with your doctor or dermatologist before trying any home treatments.

Microdermabrasion for Acne

Far from being just a trial of the teen years, acne can be an unpleasant and unsightly problem well into adulthood. Microdermabrasion not only helps reduce the appearance of acne scars but can also actually help treat the acne itself.

Microdermabrasion acne treatments require stronger suction than their skin-refreshing counterparts because the goal is to unclog pores as well as remove dirt and dead skin cells from the surface. Treatments also need to be fairly regular to be effective.

In general, professional microdermabrasion is better suited to treating acne than home kits are. Consult your doctor or dermatologist for more information on how microdermabrasion might fit into your acne treatment plan.

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