Microdermabrasion 101: Meet The Exfoliating Powerhouse

Tools & Treatments

Microdermabrasion 101: Meet The Exfoliating Powerhouse

By Janell Hickman

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By definition, the word “dermabrasion” is relatively straightforward. “Derm” means “skin” and “abrasion” means “the process of scraping or wearing something away.” When combined together, it roughly translates into “scraping of the skin.” While this may sound scary at first, when performed by a licensed esthetician, the results are transformative.
Why Should I Do It?

Just like cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting your skin are important steps in your routine, exfoliation plays a key role as well. Microdermabrasion falls under the physical exfoliation umbrella because it uses devices to remove dead skin cells to improve tone, diminish pore size, and minimize fine lines—to name a few benefits. However, microdermabrasion can’t solve skin marks and damage like birthmarks, burns, or moles.

What Should I Expect?

Think of microdermabrasion like a “very intense scrub-meets-mini vacuum” according to Heyday Skincare Educator, Alexandra Serron, who notes it’s much more comprehensive than at-home machines sold on Amazon. “The one that we use is kind of like a mini sandblaster,” she explains. “It sucks up dead skin and then blasts out clean, smooth crystals that will help buff away dead skin cells, bringing new, fresh skin to the surface.”

This popular enhancement lasts roughly eight to ten minutes during your facial, pending how fast your esthetician is. The suction of the machine also mimics/assists with lymphatic drainage. “It brings stimulation and movement to the skin. It's really amazing for more mature skin or people who are not acne-prone and can benefit from the intense exfoliation,” adds Serron.

Does It Hurt?

No, it shouldn’t hurt, but if you are opting for a “relaxing” facial treatment, microdermabrasion may not fall into that category. “It can be really intimidating because of the suction,” explains Serron. “If you come in for facials for a more luxurious or relaxing treatment, it might not be the right enhancement for you.”

In terms of sensation, the most common description of the feeling is similar to that of a cat licking your skin—not painful, but perhaps not the most enjoyable either. Ultimately, your esthetician will assess if microdermabrasion is right for your skin (remember, all facials start with a skin analysis), ensuring your skin is not too sensitive and is resilient enough to benefit from it.

How Can I Prep My Skin Pre-Treatment?

Here at Heyday, we believe clients should plan on getting a facial every four to six weeks pending their skin type and skin goals they’re working toward. In terms of cadence, incorporating microdermabrasion into your sessions every other treatment will help build resilience in your skin.

“If you think about that controlled trauma, you can build up a tolerance where your skin knows what to expect and how to heal quicker every time you do it,” Serron explains. “You could see results up to a week after.”

It’s also recommended that clients stop using any exfoliants or prescription topicals (i.e. Retinoids) that would cause your skin to be sensitive at least a week before your treatment. Even if you’re a microderm-pro, you’ll want to avoid products that can potentially lead to a negative reaction.

What Do I Do Post-Treatment?

Relax and enjoy your glow—it typically kicks into full effect three days after! Up the ante on hydration and protection in the days

following your treatment. Around the three to five day mark, you can start to incorporate your regular products.

Serron also cautions against sweaty physical activities or harsh conditions like a sauna for 24 hours following the treatment. “[Microdermabrasion] is still controlled trauma to the skin, so it needs to be handled like you would a baby's skin. I encourage people to let their skin heal as much as possible,” she adds.

Her post-treatment product picks include a hydrating or a cooling sheet mask (like the one from Joanna Vargas) paired with a jade roller chilled in the fridge. Then, use a calming cream like the Naturopathica Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream to further comfort the skin. This is a top-pick for sensitive skin types all around, or Heyday facial fans who opt for microdermabrasion as their enhancement of choice.

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