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Microdermabrasion: Which products work?

Those yearning for the soft, smooth, blemish-free skin normally reserved for prepubescent children may find some complexion clarifying help in the form of microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive treatment, typically administered in medical spas, that removes dead skin cells via a light abrasion process involving a suctioning wand and sandlike crystals, such as aluminum oxide crystals, baking soda, salt, sugar or cob granules.

Once found only in the hands of skin care professionals, consumers can now get microdermabrasion at home with at-home systems or even in a jar, with creams that promise to mimic the effects of microderm minus the spa visit.

But in beauty, no two things are created equally, so this week I've been buffed and polished and I'm reporting back, from the beauty trenches.

Hope in a jar

Head to a medical spa and a microdermabrasion treatment will set you back $100 on average. But Origin's Modern Friction microdermabrasion cream, at $37.50, promises to shrink pores and fine lines with at-home use two to three times per week.

Apply Modern Friction to dry skin, massaging in a circular motion, but avoid getting this product in the eyes at all costs. Sold at Origins retailers as well as online at, Modern Friction won't serve up the same kind of results that you can get with a professional microderm but for those on a tight budget, or those who aren't yet ready for a more intense in-office microdermabrasion, this is the best at-home microdermabrasion cream I've tested.

plug in and peel

Crystalift is a compact at-home microdermabrasion machine that is meant to mimic a professional treatment. Having had dozens of in-spa microdermabrasion treatments, I'm certifying myself as an expert, thank you very much.

I found the Crystalift machine incredibly easy to use; simply plug it in, drop in the crystal container, choose your intensity setting and sweep the micro wand across your face in sections. Retailing for $199 at, this at-home microdermabrasion machine serves up results that surpass those of a cream but are less potent than professional treatments I've received.

doctor's orders

Head to a medical spa or dermatologist to book the skin-saving benefits of professional-grade microdermabrasion. It can clear pores and amp up collagen production to improve the overall elasticity and texture of skin without irritation. In some cases, this treatment may also lessen the appearance of sun damage and shallow scars.

I found a range of prices in the bay area, from $80 at Skin NV on Bay to Bay in Tampa to $120 at South Tampa MedSpa on S MacDill Avenue.

Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail Carolyn at

Microdermabrasion: Which products work? 11/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 20, 2009 3:30am]
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