Acne is not a severe skin condition, but in some cases, it may get to a point where you just can’t get rid of it anymore. None of us would like to lead acne ridden lives, so what should you do in such a situation? After many failed attempts with prescribed medicines, OTC acne supplements, topical products and even with different makeup products, if your acne is not going away, your dermatologist may recommend you to go through surgical processes, one of which is microdermabrasion. There are also some other procedures that we will discuss. Surgery on your face may sound scary, but believe me when I say that microdermabrasion is actually a simple and easy procedure. Read on to find out how the Microdermabrasion procedure works and some Microdermabrasion before and after photos.
Who Are Eligible for These Procedures?
Usually, you’d first try home remedies and topical products or supplements. For most teens, this is the recommended way of fighting acne. Microdermabrasion is recommended for those 18 years of age and above. Your health status should also be checked. If you’re suffering from any specific medical conditions, such as diabetes, allergies, pus-filled acne, herpes, skin infections or any connective tissue problems, it’s advised to undergo this procedure. This also applies for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
However, if you’re suffering from acne and associated scars, wrinkles, age lines, clogged pores, uneven skin, and pigmentation, you could opt for microdermabrasion.
Surgical Procedures for Acne Removal
There are a number of surgical procedures to remove acne. Depending on the recommendations of your dermatologist and your skin condition, the surgical procedure would be decided. However, price and recovery time are two important considerations as well. First, you should get a brief idea on what the procedures are, risks involved and what side effects you could have to deal with.
Chemical Peel: This procedure involves using acidic solutions, which are applied to certain parts of your face to penetrate the skin and destroy dead cells, unclog pores and make way for new skin cells. Thus, acne disappears. Chemical peels have three different intensities – superficial, medium and deep. The intensity used depends on the skin type. Medium peels can give second-degree burns, while deep peels are only used once. Deep peels are not suitable for dark skin. The entire process takes around half an hour.
However, you may experience side effects such as flaking, redness, swelling, skin peeling, temporary scabs, and discoloration. Depending on the intensity of the peel, new skin may take up to 10 days to grow back. You won’t be able to go out under the sun for a few days. Even after the complete recovery (which takes around 2 months), it’s advised to wear a sunscreen with high SPF. Chemical peels are the cheapest acne treatments. If acne reappears again you could try chemical peels again.
Dermabrasion: Your doctor will first cleanse your skin and remove any impurities left on your skin. Then the affected areas will be marked and a little anesthesia will be added. Usually, a diamond wheel, sandpaper, salt crystals or wire brush are used to get rid of the upper or mid skin layer, depending on the patient. An ointment is applied to prevent infections. The entire procedure may take up to an hour. You may get redness, bleeding, swelling or discoloration. This procedure is painless though. Post dermabrasion, you should take care of your skin with sunscreen and keeping your skin clean. New skin will emerge within 8 days. Dermabrasions are much more expensive than chemical peels and they’re not suitable for those with facelifts or brow lifts. Remember that this isn’t a permanent solution to acne.
Microdermabrasion: Another term for microdermabrasion is skin polishing, and it’s one of the most popular strategies for removal of severe acne. The procedure is non-surgical, non-chemical and non-invasive. All that’s done is spraying a coat of microcrystals of minerals, such as aluminum oxide, salts or sodium bicarbonate to scrub away the dead layer of upper skin cells for revealing the healthy and fresh skin underneath. Anesthesia is usually not required. The whole procedure takes around an hour to finish. You might face skin peeling, little bit bleeding, and discoloration. But with regular skincare and acne diet, its effects will last a long time. For at least a week you should stay away from the sun and wear sunscreen (with an SPF more than 30).
Microdermabrasion benefits include less recovery time, less risks and it’s inexpensive. Just give your skin 3 days to completely heal. You may need to repeat microdermabrasion sessions, up to 12 times. Yet, the cost of microdermabrasion is less than dermabrasion. However, both of these procedures and chemical peels are painless. When I did microdermabrasion before and after scenarios of my face were so different, I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Laser Therapy: This is also known as the laser skin resurfacing treatment and there are three types. The ablative process involves using a laser beam to remove only the top layer of the skin. In the fractionated treatment, small beams of light are used which penetrate deep into the skin to break down the dead cells and stimulate collagen production. On the other hand, the non-ablative process uses infrared rays to heat the inner skin layers to boost collagen production and new skin cell production.
You may get scarring, burning sensations and go through swelling, itching, and discoloration. Post surgery, you’ll need to clean your face around 5 times a day and allow the complete skin recovery for up to a month. You might need six sessions to fully recover. The laser therapy is slightly cheaper than microdermabrasion since lesser sessions are needed. It can also be used to treat certain types of cancer.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy: This is a non-invasive photorejuvenation procedure. It’s also used to remove acne scars, melasma, age spots, freckles, and stretch marks. A light of specific wavelength is given on to parts of your skin to boost collagen production, which then fills the areas with acne scars. This process takes around half an hour but it’s very expensive. You might feel burning sensations. For the next two days after the procedure, you have to avoid sunlight. Four sessions are usually needed, which could go on for as long as six weeks while the complete skin recovery may take 3 weeks.
Photodynamic Therapy: It’s also known as the blue light therapy. It’s the most expensive treatment out there. It’s relatively new and should be used only for moderate and severe acne conditions. The doctor usually applies an agent on the skin which is photosensitizing. The oil glands in the skin absorb the agent within 3 hours of incubation. A blue or red light is then placed on the affected skin for around 20 minutes. The bacteria are killed by the agent, which reduces the acne. The side effects may last up to a month, which includes redness, swelling, and itching.
Microdermabrasion is the best option in my opinion. When I had mid-level acne, I was really frustrated and my dermatologist recommended me to do microdermabrasion. At first, I thought that it was some “Hollywood technique” that celebrities used to get the perfect airbrushed skin, but I was completely blown away with how simple and relatively inexpensive the procedure was. With just two sessions, all my acne was gone. I didn’t like the idea of using chemicals on my facial skin and always preferred homemade facial masks. I also didn’t have the budget for laser light, dermabrasion, IPL, and photodynamic therapy. So for me, microdermabrasion was the best choice and I never regretted it. My results of microdermabrasion before and after two sessions were spectacularly different.
Similarly, based on your dermatologist’s consultation, budget, health status and how far you’re willing to go to remove acne, you should do these procedures. Understand the risks involved and how much you need to take care of your skin, and then proceed. You could take a look at a few pictures of microdermabrasion before and after from the Internet, and see for yourself the amazing results.