Should You or Shouldn't You?
Top docs debate the pros and cons of popular anti-aging treatments
The Pros: Microdermabrasion, a popular skin-smoothing treatment, entails exfoliating the skin by blasting it with tiny crystals followed by a high-powered vacuum. Die-hard fans swear by it for refining skin texture, gradually lightening dark patches, and minimizing pores, and some derms like it too. "It's a great procedure. Depending on skin type and the problem being treated you can have real improvement with regular appointments every two weeks," says Peredo. And Manhattan dermatologist Francesca Fusco sometimes uses it prior to a peel to enhance effectiveness. “It's not for everyone, though,” she says. "Microdermabrasion is safest for people who have thicker, oilier skin."
The Cons: Dr. Fusco warns that it can cause bruising in sensitive types and shouldn't be used on individuals who have peri-nasal telangiectasia (prominently broken blood vessels near the nose) or any tendency toward rosacea. "A gentle chemical peel using a low-level glycolic or trichloracetic acid would be better," she says.
The Bottom Line: If you suffer from dark patches that aren't responding to topical lightening products or if your skin is looking dull and feeling rough, microdermabrasion might be an effective alternative. Just be sure to have it done by a qualified pro—preferably a dermatologist. But for those with thinner, more delicate skin, this treatment may be too extreme.