small logo
What is Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that removes old, flaky or dead skin cells by either chemical application or mechanical procedure (like sandblasting). The objective is to stimulate the growth of fresh, young skin cell and collagen, making the face more youthful-looking. In order for young skin cells to replace the old skin, the dead and old skin cells need to be removed. Collagen gives our skin elasticity, which is important.

What is Micro-Dermabrasion?

Micro-Dermabrasion, or Microbrasion, is the new controlled state-of-the-art technology and less invasive and painless procedure that will eliminate the dead and old dermal cells to allow new and young skin cells and collagen to surface, thus helping eliminate wrinkles, melasma, dark pigmented spots and even acne scars. "The ultimate result is a younger-looking face", according to Dr. Fe Mantua-Ruiz and Dr. Dana R. Sesante, the physician derma-cosmetologists in Cebu City, who were interviewed by this writer as a part of his research for this article. Dr. Fe and Dr. Dana are two of the few in the country who have this new advanced machine from California and perform this latest technique of micro-dermabrasion.

Is this new technique approved by the FDA?

Yes. At the Annual Convention of the American Academy of Dermatology in the United States, there was great excitement among these skin specialists over this revolutionary technique in skin rejuvenation called aluminum oxide crystal microdermabrasion. This same cosmetic procedure has been used in Italy and France for over a decade and has recently been approved by the FDA in the United States.

Do any of these procedures combat aging?

No, there is nothing that science knows of todate that combats aging. These procedures can make one look younger compared to the pre-treatment appearance, but the skin and the body remain as young or as old as the mental and psychological state of the person. This minimally invasive cosmetic procedure removes dark and pigmented spots, sun-damaged skin cells, blemishes, stretch marks, acne scars, hyperpigmentation of the face. It improves the facial appearance, and perhaps the pschye, but body aging continues like a clock.

Why is Micro-Dermabrasion better?

The technology is new and advantageous because it is practically painless, takes only about 20-30 minutes, and the person is ready to resume normal activities, or even party, immediately after the treatments, Dr. Mantua-Ruiz stated. Recovery is quick and the face simply has a faint pink glow to it. Regular dermabrasion (either by chemical peeling, rotating fraises or laser), on the other hand, leaves the whole face is red, raw and uncomfortable and more susceptible to infection and scarring. Allergy to the chemical is also possible. This also takes time to heal, and more expensive than micro-dermabrasion. The trauma, pain and possible infection scare a lot of people, including physicians. These procedures also restricts social activities for days or weeks.

Is sun exposure bad after dermabrasion?

Those who undergo micro-dermabrasion, and especially more so among those with regular dermabrasion, are advised to minimize sun exposure, since the superficial layer of the skin has been removed, the skin protection (against sun or infection) is lessened. Your physician specialist who performs this procedure will guide you accordingly. People are advised to wear sunscreen skin lotion SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15, 30 and up daily to protect their skin, anyway, with or without microdermabrasion, to prevent premature skin aging, hyperpigmentation or even skin cancer. When outdoors, replenish the sunscreen every four hours. The daily use of skin moisturizer is also highly recommended for skin protection to combat premature skin aging. (See our column on the Hazards of Sunlight, Cebu Daily News, August 24, 1999 issue.)

Do non-physicians do this procedure?

Yes, even in the United States, but I would not recommend it. I would only allow trained physicians to do this on me. While a technician might be able to do the procedure, the after-care is also very important, to prevent, infection, scarring, etc. and, obviously, the trained physician can handle this much more competently.

What does the procedure involve?

After preparing the face, a handheld probe is applied to the various areas of the face, and the aluminum oxide (corundum) crystal provides a gentle micro abrasion (sanding/peeling, scraping) of the skin, giving the face a thorough exfoliation and at the same time stimulating the Collagen production to provide more elasticity to the skin. The result is removal of dead or flaky skin cells and stimulating young and fresh skin cells to surface and grow, making the individual look more youthful. This form of controlled microabrasion machine has a vacuum that sucks away the corundum crystals and dead skin cells and exfoliated debris, leaving the skin smoother and younger looking.

What is the course of treatment?

While different facial problems will need different number of micro-dermabrasion, the average course is between 2 to 12 sessions (of 20-30 minutes each) to achieve the maximum cosmetic benefit. There is about one week interval between treatment. Immediately after the treatment the facial skin will feel softer and the face will have a healthy light pinkish glow. Exfoliation will continue over the next few days after the treatment.

How long does the cosmetic effect last?

The results will vary, depending on (1) the severity of the initial facial blemishes or pigmentation or scratch marks, etc., and (2) how the patient cares for and protects her facial skin, with a daily regimen of non-irritating skin cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen.

When should Microdermabrasion not done?

Microdermabrasion is contraimndicated for malignant cancer of the skin, certain keratoses, telangiectasia, evolving dermatosis, large tattoos.

Can Microdermabrasion remove burn scars?

Microdermabrasion can remove superficial burn scars, small tattoos, depending on its location and nature, fine wrinkles, other skin blemishes and other discolorations in a safe and controlled, virtually painless manner. This procedure is also called Ultrapeel Microbrasion, Power Peel, Derma Peel and Particle Beam Resurfacing. All these use a fine mist of microcrystals that are gently rubbed against the skin like sanding and the crystals and dead skin cells and debris are vacuumed at a high speed via the hand held probe. While this latest cosmetic procedure is a great "beautifying" technology, we recommend that you discuss the essential details thoroughly with the trained specialist who performs it before subjecting yourself to this "facial dermal rejuvenation therapy."

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.