The skin resurfacing technique known as dermabrasion has been for the most part completely eclipsed by microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is different in that much less skin is removed during the technique, which speeds recovery time considerably. Unfortunately, this comes with a trade-off. Because microdermabrasion removes such a thin layer of skin cells, the visible results of each treatment are less apparent. Multiple microdermabrasions are generally necessary.
Microdermabrasion is similar to sandblasting, but on a much smaller scale. Tiny sharp-edged crystals are propelled at the skin. These crystals strike the skin, removing the top layers of the skin (dead cells mostly), revealing the younger, healthy cells below. Used crystals and dead skin cells are simultaneously vacuumed away and sealed in a plastic bag for disposal.
Microdermabrasion became popular because it is a rapid (30-45 minutes) procedure with zero downtime. Sometimes known as a "lunchtime peel" or a "power peel," microdermabrasion offered people the chance to rejuvenate their complexion and then go back to work -- without any recovery period. It is an increasingly popular alternative to the more radical dermabrasion and laser resurfacing.
Many dermatologists attempt to "sell" microdermabrasion as an acne scar solution. Generally speaking, though, this is simply not the case. Microdermabrasion doesn't remove a sufficient amount of tissue to affect significant acne scars.
Microdermabrasion is much better at getting rid of fine lines and rejuvenating the complexion.
So why is microdermabrasion offered to treat acne scars? Possibly because it's a buzzword. Possibly because there's such a quick recovery time.
Remember -- dermabrasion, with is longer recovery time and greater amount of tissue removal, is generally much more effective especially on more serious acne scars. But not even dermabrasion is going to remove deep pit-like acne scars.
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