Microdermabrasion & Enlarged Pores
Microdermabrasion is a popular skin buffing treatment. Its popularity is due to its ease of use, low risk for side effects, the effectiveness of the procedure and the rapid recovery after the treatment. The procedure minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores but does not permanently affect them.
The University of Michigan Medical School defines microdermabrasion as "a process that uses a high-pressure stream of aluminum oxide crystals and negative pressure to superficially peel the upper layer of the skin" to achieve smoother skin; reduce the amount of acne; and lessen the visual appearance of wrinkles, age spots, skin discoloration and scars. Diamond grains are also used in place of aluminum oxide crystals.
Causes of Enlarged Pores
Enlarged pores are caused by a number of factors, including acne, seborrhea, exposure to sunlight, aging and heredity. Studies at the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Research Institute at Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea linked enlarged pores to the amount of oil the body produces, as well as a person's age and gender. Female hormonal cycles, such as the menstrual cycle, increased pore size. Micordermabrasion cannot alter the basic causes.
Microdermabrasion is a "closed-loop vacuum-assisted abrasive procedure, which uses the physical action of inert crystals to exfoliate the skin," according to Mala Bhalla, M.D., and Gurvinder P. Thami, M.D, of the Department of Dermatology and Venereology of the Government Medical College Hospital in Chandigarh, India. The type of abrasive used and the technique applied determine the amount of skin removed from around the pores.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Microdermabrasion, a non-invasive skin buffing procedure, has advantages over other treatments that remove more of the skin surface. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) cited studies in which lasers left skin permanently damaged. A long-term study reported to the DHHS, done over several years at the University of Michigan, concluded that healing was faster with microdermabrasion than with laser treatments. Microdermabrasion is most effective on mild scarring and discoloration, but it also minimizes pore appearance. There is always a chance of skin infection, however, when the top layers are removed.
While the special equipment used in microdermabrasion is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, operator approval is regulated by individual states. States such as Michigan limit sale of the equipment and use to licensed physicians, while other states allow people without medical licenses to use the machine. States regulating the equipment as medical equipment mandate that operators meet the rules of state boards of cosmetology, osteopathic medicine and surgery. Registered nurses, cosmetologists, estheticians and physician's assistants, when operating under the supervision of a physician, may also do microdermabrasion procedures.
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