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Microdermabrasion: the right solution?


Often heralded as an ‘instant facelift’, microdermabrasion is an increasingly popular non-surgical treatment for those who wish to rejuvenate tired and/or damaged skin. As with any popular trend, there are inevitable downsides to the use of microdermabrasion; in this article we’ll take a look at what microdermabrasion is, what problems are associated with it, and the alternatives that are available to those who are still keen to revitalise their outer appearance.

What is microdermabrasion?

The aim of microdermabrasion is to remove outer layers of dead skin from a patient’s skin, exfoliating and smoothing it, while removing some imperfections. A number of products are currently marketed that fulfil this particular niche, though they differ massively in terms of complexity and sophistication, they all rely on the same method. As the name ‘microdermabrasion’ would suggest, all involve the abrasion of the top layers of the skin, to remove dead particles. The removal of this layer of dead skin fools the body into thinking that damage has occurred to the skin, speeding the production of new skin cells; leading to fresher, younger look.

Cosmetic scrubs are probably the least sophisticated microdermabrasion method; a cream containing small particles is rubbed onto the desired area, and the friction generated by the small particles rubbing against the skin results in exfoliation.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are mechanical microdermabrasion devices. While the specific design of these devices will understandably vary based on manufacturer and cost, the basic mechanisms remain the same. Working on the same principles as the aforementioned cosmetic scrubs, microdermabrasion devices fire abrasive particles at the skin, and then use suction to vacuum up the resulting loosened skin particles. More recent iterations of this process utilise an abrasively tipped rod, which achieves the same effect after a few passes of the same spot of skin. Unlike the cosmetic scrubs, these more advanced machines are generally only utilised by trained technicians, as there is a degree of risk involved with the usage of mechanical microdermabrasion treatments.

What are the downsides of microdermabrasion?

The primary downside of microdermabrasion treatment, in terms of the mechanical version of microdermabrasion, is the risk of causing unintentional damage to a customer with the high velocity streams of grit; if these particles were to get into a patient’s eye, for example, they could cause serious damage to the cornea. The high impact nature of this treatment can also cause bruising if used incorrectly, and particularly prolonged usage in the same area can lead to permanent discolouration of the skin.

It’s also important to note that, as a beauty treatment, and therefore not a medical one, microdermabrasion is less regulated and applied with less training and expertise than you would expect to find at plastic surgery clinic.

Fortunately, if you’re looking for a better regulated, safer alternative to microdermabrasion, expert plastic surgeons like those here at botonics can offer a number of alternative treatments.

Alternative treatments

Skin Peel(s)

A skin peel takes maximum advantage of the expertise and specialist training of our clinicians; skin peels are an extremely effective way to enliven the skin and smooth over the blemishes and imperfections that accumulate over a lifetime; but can cause an adverse reaction to some patients, if the treatment is not prepared and applied by an expert. As a medical procedure, the effectiveness of a skin peel can be expected to be superior to that of microdermabrasion, and in the hands of our skilled specialists, the results are also far more consistent.


Dermaroller treatments work on a very similar principle to mechanical microdermabrasion, by encouraging the more timely regeneration of skin cells. Rather than abrading the skin, dermaroller treatments penetrate the skin using micro-medical needles, dramatically minimising risk when compared to microdermabrasion. In fact, the results of such treatments are so stable that they can be used at all times of the year, and on all skin types. Extensive UV exposure can be problematic to those who have undergone other skin treatment; and other treatments will often be less effective on darker skin pigments. Down time for dermaroller treatments is also essentially negligible; meaning patients can carry on with their day as normal after treatment.

Prescription Skin Care

A further alternative to microdermabrasion offered here at botonics is Prescription Skin Care; skin care products that are not available over the counter; these are medical, not cosmetic products, and more effective at minimising the effects of acne scarring and unwanted pigmentation. Due to the more effective, powerful nature of these prescription products, a thorough assessment of your medical history is required before a prescription can be issued. However, after the issuing of a prescription application of the treatment can be carried out by the patient themselves, whenever is most convenient.

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