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Rougher Microdermabrasion Shown to Be More Effective

Posted: October 22, 2009

Rough buffing of the skin does a better job of removing wrinkles and acne scars and stimulating healing than a gentler rubbing, University of Michigan researchers report.

Known as microdermabrasion, skin buffing has become a popular way to improve the appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, skin discoloration and other signs of aging skin. The procedure involves buffing the skin with grains of diamond or another hard substance such as aluminum oxide crystals, the University of Michigan researchers explain.

Laser resurfacing is considered the gold standard for removing wrinkles, acne scars and skin discoloration, but it requires a long healing period after treatment and can sometimes leave the skin damaged, said study leader Darius J. Karimipour, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Michigan.

But with microdermabrasion, he said, the skin heals quickly. Someone could have a treatment at lunchtime and return to work with only a little redness. The researchers' goal was to make microdermabrasion more effective, he said. "We came up with the idea of a more aggressive approach," Karimipour said. "If we treated the skin more aggressively with microdermabrasion, we could generate more collagen."

The key to improving the appearance of skin is to have the treatment induce the production of collagen, which is an important skin protein, Karimipour explained. Earlier studies had found that aluminum oxide microdermabrasion does not always stimulate collagen production, but he said it was not known if that could be achieved with a more abrasive substance.

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