Some of the most common problems that plague millions of faces include acne scars, sun-damaged skin, and wrinkles. With advancing technology, new ways keep appearing in spas and doctor offices nationwide providing skin resurfacing techniques to rid the appearance of these blemishes. The most popular techniques are microdermabrasion, body contouring, chemical peels, and dermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion, a popular skin resurfacing technique, uses light abrasions to remove dead skin from the face. This procedure reduces scars and removes sun-damaged skin, leaving behind a fresh face. The particles used in microdermabrasion polish the skin to remove scarred or discolored skin tissue. In addition to ridding skin of scars, microdermabrasion also revitalizes skin, reduces pores, and erases wrinkles.
There are three different methods to microdermabrasion: home, crystal, and diamond microdermabrasion. Home microdermabrasion is a popular alternative to professional treatments at spas and doctor offices. Although they do not provide the same results initially as microdermabrasion done professionally, they produce equivalent results over time.
Crystal microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals blasted onto the skin to complete the exfoliation process. This is the traditional microdermabrasion treatment system. The diamond microdermabrasion technique uses a diamond-tipped head to make contact with the skin, removing the dead cells. Both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion are performed at spas and suck dead skin cells away from the face, revealing the newer skin cells underneath. Learn more about microdermabrasion.
Body contouring is a popular alternative to liposuction. With body contouring, your selected surgeon will work with you to identify the areas you want to change and provide you with options to best fix the problematic area.
This procedure provides a number of different options, including body fat transfers, abdominal etching, and cellulite treatments. Body fat transfers provides a natural way to round out edges of disproportionate body features, creating a more natural looking body. The fat is removed from one section of the body and transferred to the desired location.
Abdominal etching gives the patient a flat stomach area with muscle definition. This skin resurfacing technique differs from abdominoplasty; in abdominal etching, the patient already has the muscles and only wants excess fat and skin removed. Cellulite treatments provide an option to remove the hard-to-get-rid-of cellulite that plagues women. Although cellulite treatments cannot provide a permanent solution, there are techniques available to temporarily reduce cellulite. Learn more about cellulite reduction treatments.
Chemical peels use a chemical solution to remove damaged outer skin layers, which smoothes the texture of the facial skin underneath. Similar to the effects of microdermabrasion, chemical peels are used to reduce facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. They can be applied to the entire face or a specific section of the face, depending on the desired outcome. After any chemical peel, consistent use of sunscreen with a high UVA and UVB protection is highly recommended.
There are three types of chemical solutions used for a chemical peel: alphahydroxy acid, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol. Alphahydroxy acid is primarily used to control acne and improve the texture of skin damaged by the sun. By mixing this acid with a bleaching agent, skin pigment problems can be corrected.
Trichloroacetic acid works best in smoothing out fine wrinkles, removing blemishes, and correcting pigment problems. This is the preferred method for darker-skinned patients and can also be used on the neck. The third chemical solution, phenol, can correct blotches, smooth out coarse wrinkles, and remove precancerous growths. Unlike trichloroacetic acid, phenol is not recommended for darker-skinned patients, and phenol may remove facial freckles permanently. Learn more about chemical peels.
Dermabrasion is often used to improve facial skin after being scarred from accidents or a prior surgery. This skin resurfacing procedure uses surgical scraping to remove the top layers of the skin. The process can often be performed in multiple sessions if the scar is deep or if there is a large area of skin to be treated. Although dermabrasion was developed to improve scars and marks on the skin, it is currently used to decrease the visibility of wrinkles, age spots as well as tattoo removal.
The instrument used in dermabrasion is a dermatome. The dermatome has a blade that constantly moves forward and backward in order to remove the surface layers of skin surrounding regions of skin, such as a scar. The procedure continues until the lowest point of the scar becomes more even with the surrounding skin, making the scar less visible. Dermabrasion is most useful for removing a raised scar than a sunken scar.
Other Skin Resurfacing Methods
Through skin resurfacing methods, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and damaged skin are reduced, leaving behind a fresh face for the patient. These procedures can be done for an aesthetic reason or for a medical reason, such as to minimize the appearance of scars after a surgery or trauma.
Sclerotherapy is cosmetic procedure used to treat blood vessel malformations such as small varicose veins and large spider veins. The process involves injecting medicine into the area with unwanted veins, shrinking and ultimately absorbing and hiding the blood vessels. Unlike laser resurfacing procedures to remove the unwanted blood vessels, the sclerosing medicine solution also eliminates the cause of spider veins, the feeder veins underneath the skin. Learn more about spider vein treatment.
Discuss the different options with your dermatologist and find the method which will work best for your budget, blemish problems, and skin. With the help of skin resurfacing techniques, an imperfect face is a thing of the past.
[page updated December 2008]