Microdermabrasion - how it works
Is your face dull, flaky, and generally in need of a freshen-up? Microdermabrasion might be your answer.
As you get older, your skin changes. I realised this suddenly one morning, gazing bleary-eyed into the mirror at my face, rying to get the energy to cleanse, tone, and moisturise when the sun was barely out of bed. Leaning closer to my reflection, I thought to myself, "Hmm. My face looks… Boring. My skin isn't glowing, my eyes aren't sparkling, and my complexion is not as fresh as a daisy." Okay, I probably wasn't as coherent as that. What I probably thought was, "Holy hell, I'm starting to look old. Why am I using all of this expensive stuff on my skin if it's not making it look any better?"
So the next time I visited my beauty therapist for my usual three-weekly brow, lash, and 'stache tidy-up, I moaned to her about how my skin wasn't dewy and youthful any more. Sarah, herself dewy and youthful, immediately suggested I book in for a session of microdermabrasion. It would remove dead skin cells, help even out my complexion, and generally make me look a bit fresher in the face, without plastic surgery or a time machine. All I needed to do was show up and let Sarah work her magic.
Of course I booked. I'm a sucker for new beauty treatments, especially when they have complicated, expensive-sounding names. Microdermabrasion, however, isn't shockingly expensive for what it does - it only takes about half an hour, and costs around $100-$125 for a session. Beauty therapists will recommend that you book in for a course of treatments, which means one treatment per week for six weeks. I'm not good at commitment, so I tend to have a microdermabrasion session on a casual basis when I feel like my face is looking dull again. But as Sarah has repeatedly told me (and I do believe her, I'm just lazy), it's better to do the six-week course to really get your skin on track.
Sarah starts a microdermabrasion session by cleansing my face, then applying an AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) glycolic wash to my skin. The glycolic wash stinks to high heaven and stings a bit, but it's not too bad - just uncomfortable for a few minutes. The purpose of the glycolic wash is to soften and loosen the dead skin cells that are hanging out on the surface of my skin, getting my face ready for the microdermabrasion process itself. The glycolic wash comes in three strengths - mild, moderate, and maximum - and usually when you're doing a six-week course of treatments, you'd start with the mild wash for the first two treatments, move on to the medium wash for the middle two treatments, then the maximum wash for the last two treatments. You don't have to have the glycolic wash as part of the microdermabrasion treatment, but it's recommended.
After washing the glycolic off my skin, Sarah then dries my face and gets out the microdermabrasion wand. It's not very big - it sort of looks like a long, white pen - and not very intimidating. The wand pumps a blast of tiny crystals against my skin, then immediately sucks them back up, and takes all of the dead skin cells along with them. Sarah goes over my whole face with the wand in precise strokes. It doesn't hurt, but it's a little bit uncomfortable, and at times makes me want to sneeze! It feels like your skin is being rubbed with a tiny piece of sandpaper, gently but firmly.
When it's all over, my face is always a bit red, but not sunburned-looking - I probably wouldn't go to the supermarket straightaway. It always calms down in a few hours and by the next day, when I look in the mirror, my skin is glowing and looks much fresher.
Microdermabrasion is good for evening skin tone and helping with sun-damaged complexions. It may also be helpful to lessen the appearance of scars and dark spots on the skin. But generally I find it's an amazing freshen-up if you feel like your face is starting to look a bit older then you feel. And one day soon, I am going to book in for a six-week session and amaze you all with my amazing transformation afterward - just as soon as I run out of all that expensive stuff.
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 9 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW