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  5. What Is Skin Polishing & How Does It Really Help?

You’re excited to attend the wedding party of the year, and can’t wait to wear that new backless blouse you recently bought. Suddenly, your gaze falls on your dull, lifeless skin and your excitement goes for a toss. How often has this happened?

In such times, quick fixes like skin polishing work wonders to bring an instant glow to your body. But are you eligible for it? What does the procedure entail? If too many of such questions are popping in your mind now, keep scrolling. We give you all the details.

What Is Skin Polishing?

Skin polishing is a technique used to brighten or exfoliate dull skin by removing the dead skin on the surface. This improves your skin’s texture, making it smoother, and also reverses skin damages like tan or uneven skin tone.

It is also referred to as microdermabrasion [1]. The procedure can be done on various parts of the body like the neck, hands, back, etc. Microdermabrasion treatments are effectively used to treat melasma [2], photoaging, striae or stretch marks [3], hyperpigmentation [4], age spots [5], crow’s feet and improves the tone and texture of the skin.

How Is The Treatment Done?

Skin polishing is a treatment where the skin is polished and nourished with nutrients, while the dead skin is removed. It is a gentle procedure and similar to a facial.

The technique typically includes a device that the skincare professional will use to gently remove the top layer of the skin in the area being treated. This is followed by the application of a serum or moisturiser based on your skin type to close the open pores and maximise the benefits of the procedure on the skin.

Skin polishing can be done at home or by a skincare professional or dermatologist. However, we advise you not to try it without the professional advice of an expert. For best results, microdermabrasion should ideally be done for upto 8 sessions with a gap of 3-4 weeks between each session.

Types Of Skin Polishing

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are the two most popular forms of skin polishing treatments. The most common ones are the Crystal and the Diamond Microdermabrasion techniques used by most dermatologists and skincare professionals.

A new method being used is hydradermabrasion, where crystal-free exfoliation products are used simultaneously with creams that get absorbed into the skin. This method aims at increasing collagen [6] production and blood flow while removing dead skin.

Depending on the problem being addressed, the number of treatments can vary from person to person. They usually range between 4-12 sessions; however, there should be a gap of 2-3 weeks between each session.

1. Clinical Methods

A. Crystal Microdermabrasion

It is a non-invasive procedure that uses the principle of friction to sand away the top layer of the skin. The hand held device uses aluminium oxide [7] crystals that are sprayed onto the skin at high speed. Simultaneously, an attached vacuum sucks away the dirt and dead skin.

Pros:

  • Very little downtime required (24 hours).
  • Results visible almost immediately after the procedure.
  • Permanently removes scars and marks in a few sittings.
  • Good for acne reduction as the crystals have antibacterial qualities.
  • The crystals can access wrinkles, and the lines near your nose and mouth because of their irregular shape.
  • Aluminum Oxide that is used in the crystals is inert, hence non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and will not cause any allergies or adverse reactions.
  • Crystal dermabrasion can be more effective for older skins with sun damage that need treatment.

Cons:

  • It may be too strong a treatment for younger or sensitive skins.
  • The skin can be sensitive to the sun for a few weeks.
  • Slight redness of the skin can occur, however, that fades away in a few hours.
  • The spray can be hard to control in the hands of someone less experienced.
  • Skin may feel sensitive to the touch.

Aftercare:

  • Use a strong sunscreen with high SPF, if you have to step out.
  • Use hypoallergenic products that nourish and moisturise your skin.
  • Avoid colour cosmetics on the skin if the treatment has been done on the face.
  • Avoid using anti-acne creams and lotions on the face.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid touching your skin and body heating exercises like a sauna or a hot shower.

B. Diamond Microdermabrasion

Here, a handpiece with a diamond-tip is used to exfoliate the skin very gently. It simultaneously uses a suction method to suck in the dead skin and dirt it exfoliates. This method is used for sensitive areas with thin skin -- the under-eye region and the surrounding areas.

Pros:

  • Preferred by skincare professionals as it gives them more control for better results.
  • No chance of any particle getting inhaled or irritating the eyes.
  • Diamonds being the hardest substance found, they can be most effective for dermabrasion.
  • Gives the professional more control for better treatment over delicate areas near the eyes and mouth.
  • Effective on sensitive skin and does deeper exfoliation.
  • Ideal for younger, firmer skins, especially if you need glowing skin for your wedding or a big occasion.

Cons:

  • Fixed and rigid shape makes it difficult to reach every part of the face.
  • Build-up of dead skin particles on the wand’s tip may increase risk of bacterial infections.
  • Can be less effective on skin with wrinkles and lines as the wand doesn't have crystals that can fit into the crevices and irregularities on the skin’s surface.

Aftercare:

    • Avoid applying any topical creams -- medicated or cosmetic.
    • Use sunscreen with a high SPF.
    • Avoid applying make-up for a few days.
    • Stay away from hot showers or saunas; steam rooms or exercise -- anything that increases your body temperature -- for at least 24-48 hours.
    • Drink a lot of water and don’t touch your skin.

2. Home Methods

Microdermabrasion can be done at home as there are several branded kits available. These treatments can be done once a week upto a period of eight weeks. However, it is best to talk to your dermatologist before trying it yourself at home.

An effective home solution that can work as a substitute for a salon microdermabrasion treatment is mixing baking soda and your cleansing face wash to form a paste. Scrub your face gently with this mixture -- it will remove dead skin and help the skin to absorb any moisturiser that you use after a shower. You can do this once or twice a month.

Benefits Of Skin Polishing

Skin polishing can make the skin brighter, softer and minimise the appearance of acne, fine lines and spots. It also improves blood circulation and is effective in treating enlarged pores and blackheads. For skin problems such as stretch marks and scars, hyperkeratosis [8], etc., skin polishing can be a permanent solution.

 

How Is Skin Polishing & Brightening Different From Facials?

A skin polishing treatment can make the skin’s tone even and take care of a wide range of skin problems in a non-invasive way. Its results are more effective than facials, in terms of giving the skin a glow and removing dead skin. Facials only work on the top most surface of the skin to improve its appearance, while polishing exfoliates dead skin to resurface healthier skin.

What Are The Side Effects Of This Treatment?

Usually, there are no side effects if you follow all the precautions prescribed by your dermatologist. Immediately after a session, there might be slight redness on the skin, which goes off in a few hours.

How Long Does The Procedure Take?

Depending on the area it is being worked on, each skin polishing session lasts for 45 minutes to an hour.

Who Is Eligible For This Treatment?

All skin types can avail of this treatment as it is safe. However, people with severe skin conditions are not eligible for this treatment.

Wrapping Up

So, if you wish to have younger and brighter looking skin, or want to minimise the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet or wrinkles, skin polishing is a treatment you can opt for. It is safe, non-invasive and the results are visible in a few sessions. However, getting it done by a professional dermatologist is recommended.

Did You Know?

  • Microdermabrasion as a procedure got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996.
  • Microdermabrasion is one of the most commonly used anti-ageing treatments in use today, worldwide.
  • If you combine skin polishing with a treatment like a chemical peel or a hydrating mask, you can get glowing skin almost immediately and the results will be visible sooner.
  • Due to its short duration, you can even have it done in your lunch hour.
  • It works across all kinds of skin types and skin colours.
  • It doesn’t need anaesthesia.
  • For those with normal, well-looked after skin, the procedures show best results.

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