Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Microdermabrasion is a very popular, machine-assisted skin-exfoliating
treatment. Microdermabrasion has advantages of low risk and rapid recovery
compared to the other more invasive resurfacing methods such as dermabrasion,
chemical peeling, and laser resurfacing. Since microdermabrasion produces only a
very superficial depth of skin removal, it works best on improving conditions on
the surface of the skin such as early photoaging (sun damage), fine lines, age
spots, enlarged pores, acne, and superficial scarring. Although the face is the
most common area for microdermabrasion, any skin area, including neck, chest,
back, and hands, may be treated. Microdermabrasion is sometimes referred to as "microderm," lunchtime peel, Parisian Peel, and Diamond Peel.
Microdermabrasion is a painless, noninvasive, skin-rejuvenation procedure
using a combination of a fine abrasive tip or crystals and vacuum suction
applied to the skin. Typically there are no needles or anesthetics required for
microdermabrasion. The vacuum pressure and speed are adjusted depending on the
sensitivity and tolerance of the skin. Microdermabrasion is often compared to
the feeling of a cat licking your face, a rough but gentle texture. Typical
microdermabrasion sessions can last anywhere from five to 60 minutes. Minimal to no
recovery time is required after microdermabrasion and most people immediately
return to daily activity after a session. Makeup and nonirritating creams can
usually be applied right after microdermabrasion. Studies have shown that
microdermabrasion can even facilitate the absorption of some topical medications
through increasing the permeability of the skin.
Microdermabrasion works by removing a few of the top layers of the skin
called the stratum corneum. Much like brushing your teeth, microderm helps to
gently remove "plaque" and skin debris. Since human skin typically regenerates
at approximately 30-day intervals, skin improvement with microdermabrasion is
temporary and needs to be repeated at average intervals of two to four weeks for
continued improvement. Multiple treatments in combination with sunscreen, sun
avoidance, and other skin-care creams yield best results.
Microdermabrasion should not be confused with dermabrasion which is an
invasive surgical procedure performed typically by dermatologists or plastic
surgeons under local or general anesthesia. Dermabrasion is a popular procedure
for deeper acne scars. Dermabrasion requires anesthesia and would be too painful
otherwise. Dermabrasion is also performed for certain types of deep scars.
What is the average cost of professional microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion costs may range from $100-$250, the average cost being around $100 per session. Costs have decreased considerably over the last five to 10 years as these units have become more readily available. Professional microdermabrasion can usually be obtained in a doctor's office, typically dermatologists or less commonly plastic surgeons, as well as aesthetic spas, and facial clinics. Microdermabrasion is quite affordable and much less expensive than other skin-resurfacing treatments such as dermabrasion or laser peels, which may cost around $2,500.