The cells of your skin are made in the deep part of the skin called the dermis. As old skin is shed, these cells gradually move toward the surface, eventually reaching the most superficial level: the stratum corneum.
During their 30 day travel, they become more acidic and filled with keratin. Eventually they reach the outer most layer, where they die and are shed. This outer layer of skin contains keratin, live and dead skin cells, as well as dirt and debris that is picked up from the environment.
With unprotected sun exposure and age, the shedding process can become uneven. This leads to dull, rough, uneven and unhealthy looking skin. The solution is exfoliation.
Exfoliation refers to the removal of the outer most layers of skin to reveal the newer skin beneath. This shedding of the outer layer works to:
Microdermabrasion is a process of mechanically exfoliating the skin. In the medical setting this is performed via a device that consists of a diamond tip on a wand attached to a vacuum. The tip is passed over the skin and the vacuum removes the exfoliated skin.
As opposed to chemical exfoliation, microdermabrasion is performed by a human operator. As such it is much easier to control the degree of exfoliation.
By varying the number of passes, pressure on the tip, speed of passes and vacuum pressure different results can be obtained. This is especially advantageous when there are areas of the face that need more attention such as scars, acne scars, areas of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
In addition microdermabrasion is ideally suited for the patient who wants to limit the use of chemicals on their face.
In order to achieve a more extensive exfoliation microdermabrasion can be combined with light chemical peels. This achieves the ultimate exfoliation by both chemically and mechanically removing damaged skin layers.