Helton Skin and Laser Institute - Newport Beach, CA

Physician's Advice: Microdermabrasion and Acne

Treatment of acne needs to be based at the three causes. 1) Hyper-hormonal states 2) Unplugging the pores so the bodies’ oil can flow 3) Reduce opportunistic bacteria, those bacteria that take advantage of the blocked pores by consuming the trapped oils. The only effective methods of combating hormonal states are prescription medications. Unplugging the pores is performed by exfoliation. If the pore is not plugged, the bacteria do not matter as much because there is no food for them to proliferate. Exfoliation is divided into physical and chemical. Today we will discuss physical, or things you do, rather than acids that you apply. The simplest method of chemical exfoliation is simply adding a washcloth to your cleansing routine. Once daily would be a good start. Eventually after 6-8 weeks your skin will acclimate to this and you can move to twice daily. This is more important for women and adolescents than adult men because we exfoliate daily while shaving with razors. No-laundry alternatives to washcloths are 4x4 gauze pads that are sold in the drug store for wound care. They can be thrown away after cleansing the face. The next layer of exfoliation would be adding a scrubbing cleanser made with micro beads.

The final level of exfoliation includes microdermabrasion and Laser. Laser is more important for eliminating discolored spots of the face. More about lasers in a future article. Microdermabrasion made a splash onto the cosmetic scene when it was first introduced to the United States from France in the late 1990’s. Dermatologists were initially skeptical, but after witnessing the positive effects that exfoliation provided, many have adopted the technology. Microdermabrasion is not to be confused with dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure for acne scars where a spinning wire brush abrades the top to middle layers of skin away. It has a several week recovery time and is considered surgery.

Microdermabrasion by contrast is where fine grains of sterilized sand are gently forced onto the skin and sucked away in the same instance. The sand and dead skin cells are whisked away by a suction wand the size of a pencil that also vacuums the pores. One would think that repeated applications of this level of sanding would result in a thinner dermis. Luckily, the skin is a living entity and views this type of activity as exercise. Indeed the first day, the epidermis becomes a little thinner, but what happens next is that the younger cells that were waiting for the older ones to drop off suddenly spring to life to take the old cells place. After 7 days the skin has actually thickened and has become more functional. I liken it to imagining a room full of 90 year old people, verses a room full of 30 year olds. Which would you rather have? The analogy is surprisingly accurate; rather the cells are more like 90 days and 30 days. The younger cells are more rounded than their shriveled predecessors. Your skin care expert may take advantage of the initial epidermal thinning to apply topical nutrients or mild acids to the skin, as they will now penetrate much better. The initial result is that of smoother skin to the touch, a healthier glow, and free flowing pores. Very similar to the results Dermatologists would get with Retin A acid, but without the irritation. An initial downside was that the procedure was a little messy in that there was a need to protect the nose and eyes from potential particles. As the years progressed, most physicians have gotten away from the actual sand and have replaced it with a diamond tipped suction wand that offers the same levels of microexfoliation without using sand particles. Treatments can be done monthly or biweekly and will help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as reducing acne through exfoliation and regeneration of new skin cells.

Interested? Call today for an appointment to see if this innovation can help you.

Written by: Peter Helton, D.O. | Visit Dr Helton's blog

Helton Skin & Laser Institute | Peter Helton, D.O.
1901 Westcliff Dr, Suite 2 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 | 949.646.DERM (3376)