Types of Microdermabrasion

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There are different ways to perform microdermabrasion, and these have changed over time as new techniques and technologies have emerged.  All treatment ought to take around half an hour.  Before your microdermabrasion treatment starts your chosen practitioner will remove any impurities from the surface of your skin using a cleansing product. 

There are now two commonly used microdermabrasion treatments available, and which one you choose will depend upon your own thoughts and opinions.  There is little known difference between the two, although some practitioners swear by the technique that they offer. 

Crystal microdermabrasion

This is the most traditional method of microdermabrasion, and is used by many spas or clinics to treat the skin.  The crystals are completely natural, and once used are never used again.  This ensures that the particles being used for your treatment are completely clean and free from any infections or bacteria.  Different forms of crystals can be used, and it is up to you and your practitioner as to which you would prefer for your treatment.

Aluminium oxide crystals

These particles used are naturally found in the ground and in all precious stones.  They are a very solid metal composite therefore they don’t break, and have irregularly shaped edges, so enabling them to remove the dead skin cells effectively.  The purer the crystal the more effective it is against your skin, as the higher purity of crystal contains more a more antibacterial process than otherwise.  Size is also something that can affect the result of the treatment, the smaller the size, the better the procedure. Aluminium oxide is the traditional crystal form used for microdermabrasion, and has been used successfully for many years.  They are inexpensive and usually white in colour. 

Sodium Bicarbonate crystals

These crystals are being used more commonly now due to the good effects that they have, as well as the gentler nature of sodium bicarbonate on the skin.  Sodium bicarbonate is used in a variety of ways, from making cakes to helping your skin in a non-aggressive and effective fashion. 

The decision about which you would prefer to use comes down to personal choice, on your part and the practitioners.  Both have merits, and as to which one works the better, there is little in it however, due to the rough nature of the aluminium oxide particles it has been suggested that it would be best used in a more medicinal capacity whereas the sodium bicarbonate crystals are rather gentle and could instead be used as a facial or relaxation treatment. 

The crystals are applied to the surface of your skin through a paddle shaped tool, allowing them to work on your skin and then to instantly be vacuumed back into the system.  This means that there is only minimal risk that any aluminium oxide particles are released into the environment around you, and as such, you are unlikely to meet any through eye or nasal contact.  Only though an accident would such a thing happen, and if it did only very small amount of crystals would leave the machine, not causing you any real harm.  Just to be careful you will be given goggles to wear throughout your microdermabrasion treatment to protect your eyes in the event of such a problem occurring. 


  • The crystal can access all of the surface of the skin, even deeper wrinkles
  • Crystal treatment is gentle and ought not cause any soreness of the skin
  • Readily available and practitioners are familiar with the system


  • There is a small risk of crystals leaving the system and being released into the atmosphere.  They might then be inhaled or ingested by yourself, creating a very small risk of some health problems
  • Cannot reach areas such as the mouth or eyes due to the problems caused by stray crystals.  These are common areas that pople wish to have treated. 

Crystal microdermabrasion is a more traditional form of the treatment, and is commonly used and has been for years.  Recently there has been another form of microdermabrasion that has increased in popularity as it becomes more widely available. 

Diamond microdermabrasion

Instead of using crystals and blowing them across the skin, diamond microdermabrasion removes the dead skin cells by gently rubbing it away through the use of a removable diamond based surface on the end of an applicator.  The roughness of the surface makes removing the skin easy, and it can be easily adapted using different tips for people’s individual skin types and needs.  Diamond microdermabrasion carries no risk of crystal ingestion and can be carefully used close to the eyes and nose.  Alike to crystal microdermabrasion the waste removed from your skin is vacuumed away and your skin will be cleansed after the procedure. 

A couple of problems with diamond microdermabrasion have been raised, and would be worth you bearing in mind.  The same tip is used for all of the skin surface being treated, so could spread any bacterial problems or increase the extent of an infection.  Also, as diamond is the hardest form found naturally, it could mean that improperly used more damage could be done to the skin through the use of diamond microdermabrasion as opposed to crystal. 


  • Can get to areas such as the mouth and near eyes which is where some fine lines start to appear
  • No risk of any particles entering the body
  • Getting more and more available as spas and clinics pick up on the new idea


  • Might be a harsher treatment than crystal based microdermabrasion
  • The flat surface cannot enter every crevice or anomaly on the skin

Both forms of microdermabrasion remove the surface layer of your skin and expose the new skin underneath, with little pain or irritation.  It is known that this improves the blood circulation within your skin cells, removes any surface damage such as sun spots and can remove bacteria from the skins pores.  All in all, this creates healthier looking skin, much like a more extreme form of exfoliation that you might already do as part of a beauty routine.  There are reports that the treatments also increase collagen production, although there is little scientific proof that this is the case. 

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