No skin problem is more common – and perhaps more stubborn! – than a perpetual case of blackheads. Whether you’ve got dry, oily, or even normal skin, no one is spared from the possibility of these tiny black dots appearing on our faces – unless, of course, you’ve got seemingly poreless skin like Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez. But for us mere mortals, the closest we can get to sporting that J.Lo glow is with the help of skincare products (nose strips, anyone?) or extensive beauty routines. According to skin experts, the simple task of regular exfoliation is our best bet against blackheads. The process involves removing dead skin cells that clog our pores and in turn, cause these brown spots. That said, they may seem like an easy problem to solve – cleanse, exfoliate, repeat – what else is there to do? Unfortunately for more prominent cases, blackheads aren’t that easy to nip in the bud (literally). At-home exfoliant products may not successfully complete the job, and more potent acids may cause more harm than good. In that case, what else is there to do, really, but turn to the professionals!
With so many exfoliation treatments available in skin clinics and beauty salons – from cult-favorite chemical peels to trendy dermaplaning techniques – many continue to stay true to an older (yet still effective!) method: Microdermabrasion.
Since its invention in the mid-80s and growing popularity in the 90s, it remains to be one of the go-to treatments for exfoliating the face and removing all the gunk trapped by dead skin cells. In other words: Bye bye, blackheads! If you’re curious to learn more, this article will lay it all down for you – how microdermabrasion works, what results to expect, and how to book your treatment with us. But before we discuss the nitty gritty, let’s get to know the enemy a little bit more.
What Causes Blackheads?
We all know blackheads as the tiny black dots that typically appear on our noses, chins, and occasionally around the cheeks, neck, back, chest, and arms. While its name is pretty self-explanatory, not many are aware about this fun fact: Did you know that blackheads are NOT a form of trapped dirt on our skin? In fact, it’s hardly related to hygiene at all! This common misconception is due to the fact that blackheads appear on our pores, which are common hotspots for dirt, oil, and other skin impurities. Now, that’s not to say that those factors don’t cause blackheads – they definitely do – but what happens is slightly more complicated than that.
When dead skin cells are left on our skin’s surface, they end up clogging our pores and trapping another oily substance in the process: Sebum. This is why blackheads are technically considered to be a form of acne (another fun fact!). The only difference is, acne occurs from a build-up of sebum underneath our skin. Blackheads, on the other hand, are formed when sebum is exposed to oxygen from the outside air. This unusual interaction causes the trapped sebum and dead skin to oxidize and darken in colour. And that, dear readers, is the real reason it’s called a blackhead! Interesting, isn’t it?
What’s not so interesting is the realisation that this can happen to nearly anyone. After all, there are about five million pores in the human body, with 20,000 of them found on our faces alone! Bluntly put, blackheads are almost an inevitable fact of life, especially when our skin is subjected to these common causes:
- Increased sebum production in our skin
- Hormonal changes in our body, which can increase sebum production, especially during adolescence, menstruation, and even while taking birth control pills
- Irritated hair follicles due to the accumulation of dead skin cells in our pores
- Environmental and occupational factors, like working in a location with high humidity and pollution, increased exposure to the sun, grease, and other settings that cause skin problems
- Reaction to certain medications, such as androgenic steroids, corticosteroids, and lithium
- Thick sebum resulting in a sluggish oil flow – easily helped by taking a daily dose of omega 3 and 6.
All things considered, blackheads may not appear as bothersome or unsightly as pimples or scarring, but they still get in the way of maintaining that fresh and flawless look. The good news is, while we cannot completely prevent them from forming – especially given our daily exposure to external factors – we can seek facial treatments that help address the problem! Such is the purpose of microdermabrasion. Here’s what you need to know!
What is Microdermabrasion?
For those of you not familiar with microdermabrasion, we’ll start with the basics:
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment that exfoliates the skin to remove dead cells that sit on the epidermis, our skin’s outermost layer. Here at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty, our procedure involves a diamond-tip device that buffs and suctions the skin, similar to how a vacuum cleaner works. Our ideal treatment plan consists of six sessions, after which you’ll notice a significant improvement on your uneven skin tone and texture. Apart from overall skin rejuvenation, it is a great treatment for specific skin conditions like fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, stretch marks, sun spots, dark spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation. Whatever the case may be, its goal is to encourage healthy cell turnover and deliver clearer, smoother, brighter, more youthful skin.
Needless to say, microdermabrasion boasts an impressive list of benefits for any skin type, skin colour, or superficial skin condition. If you’re dealing with certain skin concerns and want to explore this option, you can check out our ultimate guide on microdermabrasion. You’ll learn about its benefits, minimal side effects, and step-by-step procedure. It’s a fun and insightful read if we say so ourselves! But for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on why you’re here in the first place: Microdermabrasion to get rid of blackheads.
How Microdermabrasion Deals With Clogged Pores and Blackheads
As we’ve already established by now, dead skin cells are a major accomplice in the formation of blackheads, which luckily for you, is microdermabrasion’s main target. After buffing the outer layer of our skin, it suctions out all the accumulated impurities in our blocked pores – grease, grime, bacteria, and yup, blackheads! Not only will your skin feel a whole lot cleaner, but it also reduces the appearance of enlarged pores. For that reason alone, it’s easy to see why many continue to rely on it as an effective solution. And that’s just the half of it!
Microdermabrasion treatments double as a preventive solution – loosening up any excess oil around our pores before they can develop into blackheads, or worse, acne. Moreover, it stimulates cell turnover and collagen production. The easy translation: It gets rid of our old, damaged skin layer and makes room for a new, healthy one to surface! That means, no impurities, smoother surface, even skin tone, and overall brighter complexion.
But perhaps, the biggest advantage of microdermabrasion is its ability to balance both safety and efficacy. While other treatments like dermaplaning and chemical peels are technically capable of the same benefits, microdermabrasion is lauded for its holistic yet gentle approach – it’s more hardworking than a dermaplaning razor, but also not as harsh as chemical peel solutions. And that brings us to our next question:
Can Microdermabrasion Damage Your Skin?
Because the buffing process has a slightly abrasive nature, microdermabrasion is sometimes perceived as damaging, painful, or irritating to the skin – assumptions that are far from the truth. On the contrary, many of our customers actually find the procedure to be relaxing and quite soothing! It is completely painless, save for a mild scratching sensation that is far from bothersome or uncomfortable. The same can be said for post-treatment downtime. The most you’ll experience afterwards is temporary redness and sensitivity, which won’t limit you from carrying on with your daily activities. As long as you follow our aftercare instructions of avoiding sun exposure and at-home exfoliation, then recovery should be a breeze! You can come in for your next session as early as 2 weeks.
All that said, while microdermabrasion is generally safe for all skin types, it may not be the most suitable for certain skin conditions. The following cases are prone to inflammation and irritation so getting your doctor’s approval is necessary, and that goes for all treatments for that matter.
- Active and cystic acne
- Open wounds and cold sore breakouts
- Rosacea and broken capillaries
- Extremely sensitive skin that scars easily
- More mature or older skin, especially those with deep wrinkles or signs of aging
Benefits, check! Safety, double check! Now, let’s get to the million-dollar question – although the answer is pretty obvious by now.
Final Thoughts: Is Microdermabrasion Good For Blackheads?
To set the record straight: Yes! Microdermabrasion is a great way to remove AND prevent blackheads, especially if you’re looking for a more gentle treatment that still promises results. Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Get it done by a professional. Yup, that means no at-home microdermabrasion kits and DIY attempts! Anything skin-related should not be taken lightly, more so when it comes to fancy tools and procedures. Plus, it’s best to get a professional assessment of your skin before proceeding with any treatment, just so you’re sure that microdermabrasion is the most promising solution.
- Do not expect instant results. This is where microdermabrasion may hinder some of you. Microdermabrasion will typically take at least two sessions to see visible improvements, although that will ultimately depend on your skin type and condition. The best results are seen after the full course of 6 sessions, but it will be worth the wait! If you’re looking for instant results, we can recommend other beauty treatments that can get the job done.
- Do not expect permanent results. As we mentioned, blackheads cannot be completely prevented, simply because our skin is continuously exposed to factors. This goes for all treatments, microdermabrasion included. That said, many incorporate it into their regular skincare routine, coming in once a month to maintain the benefits of smooth and healthy skin.
- Pair it with a good skincare routine. The last, and possibly the most important thing to consider: Getting microdermabrasion is only half the battle, how you care for your skin afterwards is the full reward. You’ll be able to enjoy long-lasting results so long as you keep up a good skincare routine and hygiene habits!
Book Your Microdermabrasion Treatment
We’ve reached the end of our article, and hopefully the start of your journey to clear and clean skin! If you’re interested in getting your treatment with us, go ahead and book a microdermabrasion facial here.
You can also book a consultation with our skin therapists for a thorough assessment of your skin concerns and goals. Whether it’s microdermabrasion or one of our other beauty treatments, we’ll be sure to create a personalized plan best suited for you!