One of the main questions people suffering from acne always ask is: “Will my acne scars disappear fully?”
The answer is the same for acne marks and blemishes as it is for all other kinds of scars - most scars never disappear completely.
Scars arise when your skin is damaged at the dermal level. Therefore, you might use home remedies like tea tree oil for acne and benzoyl peroxide but they do not, honestly, work at that deep a level required for acne scars to be eradicated completely.
Don’t get me wrong, these home remedies can diminish the appearance, size and shape of the scars but you may not get back your youthful, pre-acne complexion with these methods.
Now that you have heard the bad news, let’s hear the good news. Medical science for acne treatment has advanced a great deal over the past decade and today, there are many treatments options available at your disposal. One such treatment is microdermabrasion for acne scars. Let us discuss everything you need to know about benefits of microdermabrasion.
What Is Microdermabrasion? Does This Technique Help You Get Rid of Acne Scars Completely?
Microdermabrasion for acne scars is a wonderful treatment that has shown amazing results. To explain this procedure simply, microdermabrasion involves abrasion of the skin using a fine jet of crystals. These crystals gently lift away the topmost layer of your skin getting rid of debris, scars, age spots and blemishes.
Not only does this technique lighten acne marks; it also stimulates blood flow and boosts the collagen and elastin layers for firmer, younger and more radiant skin.
Does microdermabrasion help get rid of acne scars? The answer is yes; this technique has helped hundreds of thousands of men and women reduce acne scarring, and even banish tired and dull-looking skin in just one treatment. Results vary from person to person depending on the age, extent of scarring, menopause, lifestyle, genetics, general skin conditions and of course your willingness to follow a few home protocols.
Benefits of Microdermabrasion at Home: Inexpensive and Effective!
Microdermabrasion, until now, was restricted to beauty salons, spas and dermatologist’s clinics. The price of a single session of microdermabrasion in the United States, can vary from $75 to $200 depending on the extent of scar tissue and the duration of the session.
In Australia, the treatment ranges from $45 for an express facial treatment of 20 minutes to $80 for 45 minutes. Not everyone can afford these prices.
Thankfully, there are microdermabrasion home kits available for those who wish to get rid of acne scars without these expensive salon or spa visits. Microdermabrasion at home kits are also ideal for regular at-home skin maintenance to protect your skin from the ravages of time.
There are many wonderful, reasonably priced microdermabrasion kits that can help you look and feel good and even prevent long term acne scarring.
The best part about these kits is that they are simple and straightforward to use. They are also non invasive and not only help you get rid of acne scarring; they also revitalize dull skin, fight wrinkles, reduce pore sizes, erase fine lines and get rid of pigment irregularities.
Microdermbrasion at home kits even work on surgical scars and stretch marks. This wonderful skin treatment is equally effective on superficial skin imperfections as compared to other in-salon treatments and, most importantly, allows you to get back to your daily routine in no time.
Microdermabrasion Versus Chemical Peels
These days, you can do both microdermabrasion and mini peels at home. Both are safe and effective but as an acne sufferer, the question foremost on your mind would be-which is better from acne scars point of view.
The fact is, in many cases, dermatologists and cosmeticians use both the treatments together. Both techniques are aimed at exfoliating the skin and improving irregularities and imperfections.
A general rule to remember as far as the difference between these two skin treatments is concerned is that Microdermabrasion works for superficial scars, fine lines and blemishes whereas chemical peels work best on very deep scar tissue, rosacea and deep set wrinkles.
What are chemical peels?
Home chemical peels are safe and inexpensive ways of deeply exfoliating your skin to get rid of acne scars and wrinkles. As stated above, chemical peels work on deeper levels of the skin compared to microdermabrasion. You will need at least 10% Glycolic acid cleanser or 2% salicylic acid cleanser for it. Here are the steps for a at-home mini facial peel -
- Lather up your face with the cleanser of choice-work it up well into a lather. Do not wash off immediately-you must leave the product on your face for at least 15 minutes or longer if you can tolerate.
- You might experience a tingling sensation-but that is okay and it means the product is working.
- Avoid getting the cleanser in your eyes.
- Once the time is up, remove the cleanser from your sin using warm water and a wash cloth. Use gentle strokes to remove the debris and dead skin cells. Apply a moisturizer immediately after.
Contraindications for chemical peels:
- Avoid chemical peels if you have herpes simplex, cold sores and open facial sores.
- Patients having had chemotherapy or radiation must stay away from peels
- Acne sufferers who have been on (Accutane®)isotretinoin treatment must not use peels.
- Women and men with severe active acne, eczema and uncontrolled dry skin are also not good candidates for peels.
- Sunburnt skin or people who tan frequently must not use chemical peels.
- Those with history of easy scarring must stay away from peels.
Contraindications for microdermabrasion
- Avoid home microdermabrasion if you have severe active acne, herpes, warts or cold sores.
- Sunburnt skin
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Skin cancer, eczema, dermatitis, severe rosacea
- Have used Accutane®/isotretinoin over the past year
- History of scarring or keloid formation
As can be seen there are many similarities and differences between Microdermabrasion vs. Chemical peels. The contraindications for using both these home treatments to get rid of acne scars are more or less the same.
My Experience - Microdermabrasion vs. Chemical Peels
I have tried both these procedures and seen good results. What I like to do is use different hydroxy acids in between my microdermabrasion at home exfoliation and the results are fantastic. The acids I have used so far are: AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) peel and BHA (beta hydroxyl acid peel).
Both these are superficial and light acids but they work great on mild acne scarring. For medium depth peels, go for TCA or trichloroacetic acids. These can be quite uncomfortable and are best obtained at a professional’s. For very deep acne scars, you can go for deep chemical peels obtained with carbolic acids or Phenol peels.
These have a considerable downtime, so plan accordingly.
Honest Review of the Best Microdermabrasion Home System
Here is my honest review of one of the best microdermabrasion at home kits. It is none other than Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System.
- Price and effectiveness - The reason why I consider this product as the best microdermabrasion at home is because it really works to remove acne scars and wrinkles effectively and is also very affordable.
Many people who had been advised treatments worth $10K in their dermatologist’s office have used this system and seen comparable results. The Neutrogena system costs under $20 on Amazon and it's been rated 4.5 stars by the users.
The Neutrogena Microdermabrasion comes with one-month supply of pads so I recommend that you also get the Puff Refills that will give you an extra two months supply of the pads.
- Safety - The system is safe and mild for use on the most sensitive skin type. Even users who have never had microdermabrasion treatment before can safely use the Neutrogena system.
- Ease of use - Neutrogena microdermabrasion at home is very easy to use. You just need to apply the pad/sponge, wet it up and use it all over the face. Once you are done, discard the sponge. A word of caution: Do not over wet the pad as the product can then run into your eyes and sting quite badly.
- Waterproof - You can use the system in the shower as it is completely waterproof.
- No downtime - This gentle microdermabrasion at home will not leave your skin beet red. So you can use it before stepping outside. Naturally, you must use a sunscreen as your skin will be a bit sensitive to the sun.
- This product is very good and I personally had absolutely no issues with it. A small percentage of users experienced skin dryness and redness which went away after a while. One user broke out into cystic acne, but I am sure this product had nothing to do with it.
- The system does not come with an instruction guide or pamphlet and you may have to guess how to use it. Watch the video I included in this article demonstrating the exact steps.
And here is a short video that explains how to to use it.
Preparing Your Skin for Microdermabrasion- Steps & Pre and Post Treatment Instructions
- Use a gentle cleanser or cleansing milk to remove makeup and impurities from the face.
- Cleanse well and rinse off with warm water.
- Apply a toner with witch hazel.
- Exfoliate using the microdermabrasion system. I recommend using it once a week. To start with, power up the system (it comes with batteries). Stroke the brush/tip against the skin with even and smooth motions. Do not stroke or brush the same area more than 3 times.
- Treat your face, forehead, arms, hands, and neck using the system. Always start with the lowest suction/exfoliation setting so your skin gets used to it.
- Cheeks- Move the brush/tip of the microdermabrasion unit outward from the nose to the sides of the cheek.
- Lips-Move the tip downward towards the tip. Also move the tip around the mouth.
- Cover the chin region in downward strokes.
- Move carefully around the eyes. Lightly move the brush around the eye region using outward strokes only. Move the tip long the ends of both eyebrows.
- Forehead-Move up the centre of the forehead and outwards to the temples.
- Nose- move up and down along the nose and also sideways across each side of nose.
- Moisturize with a sensitive skin serum (because your pores will be open, avoid using harsh products on the skin as it can cause irritation and burning). (More about post-microdermabrasion skin care regime later in this guide).
- Do not step out in the sun without using a sunscreen.
Key point to remember: Avoid using microdermabrasion at home on open acne, sores, warts and lesions. And, to start with, always use the system on the lowest setting.
Quality skincare post-treatment
It is very, very important what you put on your face after the treatment. Your skin may be red tingly and irritated but that is normal. Many microdermabrasion at home kits do not even give these side effects as they are very mild. You can safely use these kits and start seeing results in the first use!
That said, you must only use the best skincare ingredients post treatment. Your skin will be very receptive to whatever it is you put on it as your pores will be open. Use gentle skin moisturizers and serums containing organic and natural ingredients.
Antioxidants work best- I like products with Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Both are powerful antioxidants that give me a youthful glow. Avoid anything containing parabens and select anti-aging ingredients like green tea extracts, rosehip oil, grape seed extracts etc. Always try these products first to ensure you are not sensitive to them.
There are millions of benefits of microdermabrasion and thanks to top skin care manufacturers like Olay® and Neutrogena®, we can all easily avail microdermabrasion at home without spending a fortune. This fast, easy and effective treatment to get rid of acne scars can give you dermatologist grade results and may just be the ultimate tool for keeping your skin looking young and refreshed.
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