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Intensive Scrubbing – Microdermabrasion

January 15, 2010

It was some trepidation that I signed up for a micro-blast series of treatment. It’s not that I don’t have ‘problem’ skin because I do, it was more to do with my fear  no, concerns over the impact that excessive exfoliation could have on my already  picked and prodded skin. I didn’t want to put it under any more stress.

The Heber Davis Skin Clinic

So was I right to be fearful? Let’s see.

Microdermabrasion removed the top layers of the skin thanks to a little revolving and exfoliation head made of diamond.  A little round pad (rather like a corn plaster) gets stuck on at the business end which is then attached to a suction tube. This turns the thing into a powerful little skin vacuum cleaner!

The machine is designed to gently take away the dead and dull cells that are taking their time to buzz off, revealing a softer and more vibrant layer of skin underneath.  This makes it a great lunch-break treatment  as you don’t end up looking raw and savaged and down-time is practically zero!  But not everyone can micro-blast.

If you have pustular acne, cold sores or rosacea this is not for you. It can also aggravate skin that suffers from frequent flushing and should not be used if you have sun-burn.  The fact that  your top layer of skin is being removed means you should choose your practitioner with care. This isn’t JUST another facial….

Filling out the pre-treatment questionnaire is even fun. Free Coffeeeee

I chose to go to the Heber Davis Skin Clinic in Sydney’s Broadway because I have worked with the Ultraceuticals brand (in another working life) and know  a bit about the clinics founders.  Being a novice with a less-than-perfect skin history I wanted the only people touching my skin to be medically trained*  Not all medi-spa’s are staffed by medical professionals. Anyone can buy a cosmetic grade lazer and anyone can perform microdermabrasion as the industry is still in its infancy and therefore open to ‘rogue traders’. Reputation is everything so be sure to do some research about your medi-spa and their staff before diving on in.   You can find qualified cosmetic physicians on this website.

I was also fearful of being over-exfoliated as taking off too much skin can leave you open to infection and scarring. This can be particularly bad for those with dark skin or those prone to keloid scarring.  The jury is still out on how much scrubbing is enough and yes, you can even become addicted to that fresh-faced feeling. Taking off the top layer of skin has a cleansing effect but also induces a slight ‘fight or flight’ type of reaction in the skin which is why it gets a little red. It starts to try to defend its self, boosting collagen production and trying to re-build the surface.  If your therapist takes off too much skin or disturbs an infection scarring can occur and on top of that your new skin is going to be very sun-shy so watch out!

However, microdermabrasion performed by a trained professional in a clean environment with good after-care should cause very few problems. Also, your desquamation process slows after the age of 30 meaning that skin cells hang around a little lazily for longer than they used to, just looking dull and blocking pores.  Best kick them out I say and so on that note, I succumbed!

So, How did it feel?

The whole process of microderming my skin took around 20 minutes I think. It really did feel like sticking a little vacuum cleaner on my face and I kind of liked it! I  felt no soreness and actually found it so relaxing I signed up for four more……

And the Results????

Well it is of course too early to tell how lovely I will be looking as I will need some more treatments but so far, so good.  Microdermabrasion has been proved to help with the appearance of sun damaged skin, age spots, fine lines,  fine acne scarring, comedone extraction, oily skin and hyperpigmentation which all sounds lovely!   Patients usually need between four and ten treatments spread out over a period of between eight and thirty weeks to see long-term results after which top-up treatments can be given as required. 

With my skin, I am looking at needing around seven or eight treatments to get the kind of even skin-tone that I would like so at around $180 a pop, it is not cheap ( package deals are available and treatment prices vary from clinic to clinic – but you probably do get what you pay for).  I bought a package of five treatments for $585 which is a great saving).

On top of the physical treatment various topical treatments may be offered or prescribed. These can include retinols, vitamin C serum, acid peels or a combination.  As your skin is quite open to penetration after the treatment, these actives can penetrate deeper than usual, giving you some wonderful results.  Again, as medical grade products are being specified be sure to follow the usage advice TO THE LETTER. Acid peels can leave very nasty results if mistreated and as with all of this, sunscreen is a must!

If you are thinking of taking the exfoliation to the next level I would urge you to do the following:

  • Choose your medi-spa carefully and check out the qualifications of the staff and the cleanliness of the practice before you pay!
  • Make sure you read the documentation before the treatment and take time to ask questions.
  • Don’t lie about your medical history in order to get the ‘good stuff’ or get treatment that the form says you shouldn’t have. The questions are there for your benefit.
  • Follow the therapists instructions to the letter with regard to after care.
  • Be patient.  Getting the results you want may take a while but I am sure it will be worth it.
  • Have fun. Enjoy a bit of ‘you time’ and stop thinking about all of that washing up or those reports sitting on your desk!

Have fun and remember to tell us all about it. 

One of our readers Kristin from Sassy CEO will be sharing her medi-spa journey with us all in February so watch this space! Occasionally we  need readers to help us with product  / service testing. If you would like to be part of that please sign up to our newsletter as opportunities for PAID testing will be growing this year. Get on board!

*Being a regular cold-sore sufferer the treatment could trigger a break-out which could then become infected if not managed correctly. Therefore being assessed thoroughly and being at a clinic manned by Doctors and Nursing staff appealed to me.  I also liked the fact that after-care is really important to these guys.

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