It is a quick, safe, effective form of exfoliation for all skin types and colours with no downtime and no pain or discomfort. It has been available in Europe since the late 1980’s. It uses a diamond-tipped applicator with a slight suction to remove dead or damaged skin cells. Skin will appear softer, smoother, brighter, clearer, fresher and younger looking.
Microdermabrasion is NOT the same as Dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is a much more aggressive procedure, whereas microdermabrasion is much more gentle.
At Essence of Beauty we use the diamond tip method of Microdermabrasion, however there is also a method known as Crystal Microdermabrasion.
Crystal microdermabrasion systems are the traditional treatment of choice and rely on tiny crystals that are gently applied onto the skin to perform the exfoliating process.
Diamond microdermabrasion systems operate without the need for crystals. The exfoliation process occurs when a diamond tipped head makes contact with the skin.
In both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion systems the dead skin cells are gently removed away from the face.
Everyone - men and women of any skin type or colour. Skin that is ageing, congested, flaky, dry, devitalized, thickened, blemished, dull and sun damaged can be rejuvenated and refreshed.
Blotchiness, uneven skin tones and texture will also be improved. Even normal skin can be made to look fresher with a warm glow.
The most common areas that are treated are the face and neck. In addition we can treat the chest, shoulders, back, hands, knees and elbows. Any body area can be treated.
Approximately every 28 days we create a new layer of skin. As new cells form they push their way to the surface and then dead cells settle on the surface. This can cause enlarged pores, clogged pores, a bumpy uneven texture, and a dull appearance. As we age this process slows down leading to the appearance of older skin with less radiance.
Microdermabrasion is a gentle exfoliation that is performed with a diamond-encrusted applicator tip. The tip passes over the skins surface, and creates a gentle vacuum. The diamond tip gently exfoliates approximately 20-25 microns of dead skin cells of the outermost layer (stratum corneum). Once removed, it reveals one’s own fresher, younger looking skin beneath. One Microdermabrasion is equal to three 30% glycolic peels or one 70% peel.
This treatment is meant to be progressive not aggressive. Generally results are more noticeable after the third treatment. After the first session the skin will appear fresher, cleaner, smoother and softer for some clients. Usually treatments are performed every 4 weeks, but can be done more frequently. A typical course of treatment is a series of six Microdermabrasion sessions. Maintenance treatments are suggested once every one to one and a half months.
The actual treatment usually takes 30-40 minutes, depending on the body area.
Probably the single biggest advantage that microdermabrasion has over alternative skin treatments is that a microdermabrasion patient can return to normal daily activities after receiving the treatment. Many other skin treatments used for the same skin conditions involve post-treatment swelling and require days off work. This makes microdermabrasion an ideal treatment for people wanting improved skin without disrupting their daily life over it.
Microdermabrasion can be combined with a new treatment called IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) - also known as Photo-facials. IPL treats brown freckling, shrinks pores, improves sun damage and increases collagen in the skin. All of these lead to smoother, younger looking skin and reduced redness at the same time. To learn more about IPL see our IPL information page.
Until recently, lasers were the preferred choice for those looking to add hair removal and/or photo rejuvenation to their list of services, however, cosmetic treatment providers are increasingly turning to intense (IPL), and new generation super intense, pulsed-light (SIPL) systems. Brian Marshall from Equipmed sheds some light on the subject for Professional Beauty.
A laser is a focused beam of a specific wavelength of light. For instance, an Argon laser has a wavelength of 510 nanometres (nm) and is blue-green in colour. A Ruby laser operates at 694nm and is red in colour, and so it goes on with different types of lasers operating at specific wavelengths within the visible and infra red spectra (see chart).
The three main constituents of skin that absorb light are water, melanin and blood. Each of these constituents has different absorption coefficients, which, in plain English, means they react differently when subjected to different wavelengths of light.
In hair removal, you want the melanin in hair to react as much as possible to the energy in the beam of light, convert that energy to heat and disable the follicular cells responsible for new hair growth. To do this you need to use a light source that has a strong attraction to the melanin in the hair and a long enough wavelength to achieve the required depth of penetration.
Having said that, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only use a specific wavelength of light to achieve a particular result. You can achieve similar results using different wavelengths, but this may increase undesirable side effects, such as pain or burning the skin.
For example, a Ruby laser at 694nm has a high attraction to melanin, but its penetration is poor compared to lasers with longer wavelengths, which means there is a greater tendency for the skin to burn. The Diode laser at 810nm still provides good attraction to melanin, and provides much better penetration, while the Nd:YAG laser at 1064nm requires about 50% more power (read pain!) than the Diode at 810nm to achieve the same degree of attraction to melanin. In addition, some of its power is absorbed by water in the tissue.
The upshot of this long-winded explanation to your simple question is this; the main difference between a laser and a pulsed-light system is that lasers produce a beam of light at a specific wavelength, with specific characteristics that makes them mostly suitable for specific applications. This means a number of separate lasers are needed to provide a comprehensive range of cosmetic and medical services. Pulsed-light systems, on the other hand, give the user the ability to change the wavelength of the light, making them much more versatile in the range of applications they can be used for.
For years clinicians have been asking us for one machine that does it all. And while there are still some particular applications for which they are not really suitable, such as tattoo removal, pulsed-light systems come the closest to fulfilling that request.
More so, but I also need to explain that not all powers are equal. The aim in most cosmetic applications is to get as much power into the area being treated as possible, without damaging the surrounding tissue. Lasers traditionally delivered their power within a very short pulse-width. That is, all of the power in the beam of light was applied to the skin in a few milliseconds (ms). A lot of the early pulsed-light systems also delivered their power in a similar way, in short, sharp bursts.
Later generation hair removal lasers could place much more energy safely into the skin by lowering the high peak power and extending the pulse-widths (see photo for a dramatic illustration of the effect of delivering power at different pulse-widths).
The new generation of super intense pulsed-light systems also uses this principle. They have extended the pulse-width from 6ms to 100ms and reduced high power peaks, which means they deliver their power over a longer period of time, reducing the incidence of burning.
In summary, pulsed-light systems are usually gentler on the skin, and can effectively deliver more power than lasers, generally increasing the efficacy of the treatment.
While they are more gentle on the skin than lasers, pulsed-light systems can still burn or damage the skin if not used correctly, or if the skin is not cooled properly. Ice is typically applied to the area prior to treatment, and the latest generation pulsed-light systems have a separate patient cooling system around the Sapphire of the treatment head, in addition to the in-built lamp cooling system. This enables the use of higher power levels for more effective treatments.
No, another major difference between the technologies is the spot size. Lasers typically operate with an effective head size of around one square centimetre. Imagine how long it would take to treat a person’s legs using that size of spot. The new generation of super intense pulsed-light systems, on the other hand, offer a spot size of up to 7.4 square centimetres, making them significantly quicker to use, and enabling much faster treatment times. For example, to do a man’s back with a laser could take up to a couple of hours. With a super intense pulsed-light system, the treatment shouldn’t take much more than 15 minutes. Another benefit of new generation pulsed-light systems is that no messy gels are needed to provide a barrier between the light source and the skin. This helps to reduce treatment time and loss of treatment power due to reflection in the gel.
While permanent hair removal is the most common application for pulsed-light systems, they are also very effective for treating a broad range of aesthetic and therapeutic skin conditions on most skin types including: Broken Capillaries; Birthmarks; Age and Sun-Spots; Rosacea; Pigmented and Vascular Lesions.
The hair removal process itself actually leaves the client’s skin smoother and more eventoned due to the stimulation of collagen-producing fibroblasts. A lot of people who are initially treated for hair removal, decide to follow it up with some photo rejuvenation work, getting rid of freckles and sun-spots, or broken capillaries and the like, or even just improving the appearance of coarse, rough skin with enlarged pores.
Coming back to where we started, when we were discussing the difference between lasers and pulsed-light systems, pulsed-light systems can be used for a lot more applications through the use of different handpieces, which, by selective filtering, enables the system to output light at specific bands of wavelengths to suit the particular application.
The MultiLux SIPL, for example, has six separate treatment heads. You need at least two to provide an effective range of treatments. Trying to make do with one simply creates the same limitations as lasers.
The technology is advancing quickly and, in just the past couple of weeks, we have seen the release of two new handpieces specifically designed for treating Psoriasis and Acne. These offer people suffering from these conditions, a much more pleasant treatment scenario than the likes of chemical peels or microdermabrasion, both of which only provide short-term improvement.
There are specific after care gels and creams designed for use immediately after and between treatments and, in most cases, people will get the best results from their treatment by using these specially-formulated moisturisers. Beneficial results may also be seen from the long-term use of these products.
They are certainly a lot easier to use than lasers. As explained earlier, you really need to have a thorough understanding of which laser is best suited for certain treatments and how to use it effectively for other applications without causing possible damage. New generation pulsed-light systems make the selection of the most appropriate treatment for individual clients a lot easier by having a number of pre-configured settings for different skin types, which are classified under the Fitzpatrick scale (1 for fair to 6 for dark). This is a big improvement on earlier generation IPLs that required selection of power, pulsewidth, rest duration and crystal type, which made them difficult to learn and achieve the best results.
No. Pulsed-light systems are very cost-effective, often costing only half as much as comparable lasers. Like any technology, there are several price brackets of equipment available from around $60,000 to over three times that price but, as with any capital purchase, it pays to look more at the running and whole of life cost for the equipment, than it does the initial purchase price. For example, some of the handpieces on the market are only guaranteed for around 10,000 flashes, while others provide guaranteed performance for over 100,000 flashes. Another benefit that the new generation of super intense pulsed-light systems have over older technology systems is that they are now fully-portable. There is a strong trend towards people that own the newer types of equipment to make it available at multiple locations, be it through their own operations in different suburbs on different days of the week, or as a regular added value service through a conventional beauty salon that cannot afford or justify the expense of having its own system.
Training and service are obviously absolutely key to the on-going success of any business making this type of investment. The supplier should also be able to answer any of your concerns with regards to insurance and liability issues and provide the necessary marketing support to help get your new operation up and running.
As long as you can show the necessary income stream to fund the purchase or lease, most lenders should view the transaction no different to any other piece of capital expenditure. But the banks and financial institutions being what they are, they do tend to make life unnecessarily difficult for small businesses at times when it comes to borrowing money or setting up a lease. Because of this, we recently set up our own finance department to help and advise customers find the most cost and tax-effective finance for their business. A lot of people don’t realise that they can actually arrange the necessary finance they need by simply restructuring their current financial obligations and consolidating their debt.
That is certainly the most difficult question you’ve asked all day! I’ve spent the past 25 years looking with little success, so if you find out, will you please let me know! Seriously, people will quickly find out there is no shortage of information in this industry; the problem is sorting out what’s fair dinkum from what can, at best, be described as somewhat misleading. In fact, the situation gets so out of control at times that one could be forgiven for thinking that “Baghdad Bob”, the Iraqi Minister for Disinformation, was alive and well in Australia and running the PR departments of some equipment suppliers!
The latest furphy doing the rounds is about a new pulsed-light system on the market that claims to have an “exclusive” water filter, which is supposed to be clinically significant in that it claims to filter out wavelengths in the 900nm to 1400nm range. This is akin to General Motors boasting about putting an air filter on their new cars. Other systems have “water filters” too, but their primary function is as a cooling jacket around the flashlamp, rather than purporting to have any great clinical significance.
Another furphy that regularly pops up from time to time is that you need large equipment to get sufficient power. Try telling a laptop computer user that they actually still need a 1980’s mainframe because of its size!
At the end of the day, the best source of independent information is not to rely solely on anything any supplier tells you, but to speak to people who have been using the equipment for some time to verify that what you are being told is genuine. Existing users should have no vested interest and will give it to you straight. They’ll also be able to give you some valuable advice on the quality of service and support they have received, which may help you make the best choice when it comes to choosing between suppliers.
As the Principal of cosmetic equipment supplier Equipmed, Brian Marshall has more than 25 year’s experience in the sales and support of lasers and pulsed-light systems, including the locally-developed MultiLux Super Intense Pulsed-Light system and Equipmed Supercooler systems.
Chart Caption: The vertical axis is a logarithmic scale: if it were plotted in natural scale, it would reveal huge differences in the differing levels of absorption of light into the skin at different wavelengths. A & B illustrates the different absorption points for melanin with Diode and Nd: YAG lasers. For the Nd: YAG laser to achieve the same attraction as the Diode would require 50% more power (read pain!). A CO2 laser, which operates at a wavelength of around 10,000nm (way off the scale to the right), is completely absorbed by water, making it effective for laser skin resurfacing.
Photo Caption: These four test patches show the effect of varying the pulse-width and power by a Diode Laser at Day 2 with the % hair regrowth at Day 79. It and the subsequent results clearly illustrates that delivering the power over the longest possible pulse-width increased the actual effective power in terms of Joules/square centimetre and achieved the best overall result. Note that Patch 3 has received two-and-a-half times the power input as patch 4, but without the skin damage.