In this article:
- What is microdermabrasion and what is it good for?
- How does microdermabrasion work?
- How does microdermabrasion interact with your collagen levels?
Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive skincare procedure used to minimize the appearance of fine wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and discoloration, blackheads and large pores, sun damage, acne scars, age spots, and stretch marks. This technique leverages the power of exfoliation and removes dull and dead skin cells by using an abrasive surface to slough and suction them away. Board-certified plastic surgeons use microdermabrasion machines, a hand piece outfitted with an abrasive aluminum oxide, crystal, diamond studded tip, that penetrates the top layer of the skin and removes old cells to reveal the fresh young-looking skin underneath. A more modern technique is similar to the popular microneedling procedure in which the skin is exfoliated and products are infused into the dermis. The result is improved skin texture and elasticity, as well as facial rejuvenation.
Microdermabrasion is generally considered safe for most skin types but should be avoided if you have any open skin lesions, warts, severe acne, skin conditions like rosacea, auto-immune system conditions, or recently had a chemical peel. In American, microdermabrasion treatments cost anywhere from $100-$200 and can be done every week or spread out over approx. 8 weeks.
So does it work? A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology by the University of Michigan says it just might! Microdermabrasion doesn't just reveal "new" skin, it stimulates the production of collagen, the protein that is responsible for keeping skin firm and healthy. The study compared untreated skin to patients that underwent microdermabrasion and found that the treated skin had increased production of both collagen and elastin, which are associated with wound healing and skin remodeling. It might seem counter-intuitive, but purposefully damaging the epidermis with microdermabrasion is what stimulates the dermal repair and results in new collagen production and skin rejuvenation.
So what are the downsides? Well, microdermabrasion typically is not associated with downtime after your procedure although it may take a couple of hours or days for the inflamed skin to heal. Right after the procedure, your skin may be sore, red, inflamed, or swollen. If the skin is not protected with SPF and a daily moisturizer, it can cause dryness and flakiness. Overall, more studies need to be done to verify its effectiveness on a scientific level, but compared to the other options, microdermabrasion is a safe, quick, and effective form of skin resurfacing.
The "magic" of microdermabrasion is all about boosting collagen levels back up. Collagen is a structural protein that acts as scaffolding within our connective tissues. It's what keeps our skin firm and thick, but it's also what makes our joints flexible and strong and helps us to overcome injuries. Collagen can also promote hair growth and strengthen our nails even better than biotin. The trouble is that as we age, our natural collagen levels begin to decline. That's why we struggle with joint pain, lack of mobility, and the typical signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark spots.
You may be wondering why we don't just use a collagen face mask instead of getting microdermabrasion. Applying collagen topically has proven to be largely ineffective. This is because the protein molecules are too big to penetrate the skin. While microdermabrasion can stimulate collagen in one specific area, it can quickly become damaged and the procedure’s effects can wear off within a few weeks or months. Additionally, this collagen stays put where it's at, meaning that while it may make our faces look younger, we aren't reaping the total body benefits collagen has. So, the most effective way to boost our collagen back up to youthful levels and maximize the effects of microdermabrasion is by promoting collagen production from the inside out.
Oral collagen supplements are easy and effective! A 2019 study found that short and long-term use of collagen supplements assisted in wound healing and prevented skin aging. This can support your microdermabrasion in two ways. Firstly, it can speed up recovery by boosting your skin's collagen levels. Secondly, oral collagen supplements have been found to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density, adding the finishing polish to your new facial. Collagen supplements don't require that you add another step to your skincare or wellness routine. Instead, you can get your daily recommended value by adding a scoop to your morning coffee, oatmeal, or even post-dinner tea. Just remember to choose a highly bioavailable, flavorless, clean collagen supplement and you won't taste a thing!
Taking collagen in the weeks leading up to and after your microdermabrasion appointment may help to prep your skin, help you heal quicker, and even spread out the time between your follow up sessions. Whether you're considering getting microdermabrasion for the first time or are simply looking to keep your skin glowing and fresh in between sessions, reach out to your doctor or dermatologist to see if collagen and microdermabrasion will be a winning combination for your skin.