A Clean Slate
While there are myriad procedures to help clients improve their appearance, microdermabrasion can maximize the benefits of other treatments and boost your bottom line. “The concept of abrading the skin, or removing the upper layers for skin rejuvenation, dates back as far as 1500 B.C., when Egyptian physicians used a type of sandpaper to smooth scars,” says Mark Pinsley, president of DermaMed Solutions. “Since the development of microdermabrasion machines in 1985, it continues to be one of the top five most requested non-invasive cosmetic procedures in the U.S.”
Over time, skin has a tendency to dull. “Microdermabrasion resurfaces the top layers of skin, removing dull and dark areas and tiny bumps,” says Valerie Goldburt, M.D., a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology (multiple locations). “This smoothes the surface and makes it more uniform in appearance.” In addition to smoothing the skin, the service addresses a variety of skin conditions and signs of aging, and, Pinsley says, it helps improve acne, calluses, fine lines, hyperpigmention, melasma, scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles.
According to Andrew Jacono, M.D., owner of J Spa Medical Day Spa (Great Neck, NY), one major benefit of microdermabrasion is that it works on the majority of clients looking to improve their appearance. “It is effective on all skin colors and types and is appropriate for anyone of any age, male or female,” he says. “Patients with mild acne can benefit from the manual exfoliation, which helps unclog pores and gets rid of the dirt and debris that can cause breakouts. Because it’s relatively gentle, it’s a good alternative for sensitive skin that cannot tolerate harsh chemical peels. Microdermabrasion is great for people with dull or sallow skin or for patients with superficial skin issues. It’s also perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle. As it’s a quick in-and-out procedure with virtually no side effects and no downtime, it’s an ideal ‘lunch hour’ treatment for those patients on the go.” Dana Elise, owner of Dana Elise Solutions, a medical spa in Los Angeles, cautions, however, that there are a few clients for whom this service is not recommended, such as those who have a severe immune deficiency, diabetes, poor healing abilities, active rosacea, or open acne lesions.
Not just for the face, microdermabrasion can also be used on other parts of the body. “We include areas such as the neck, décolleté, hands, and forearms,” says Elise. “I have been performing electrolysis for 30 years, and my clients come once a month for face or body microdermabrasion, usually one week after electrolysis. We live in California, which is very dry, so we need to eliminate the dry layer of skin and hydrate the tissue.”
So, how can you incorporate this service into your existing menu? Easily, says Rita Teixeira, national trainer at Silhouet-Tone. “Microdermabrasion is a great complement to peels and great when used before ultrasound so that the skin is exfoliated, ensuring the dead skin cells are not a barrier,” she says. Elise recommends monthly treatments along with monthly hydrating facials. “Peels work hand-in-hand with microdermabrasion,” she says. “We want to slough off the dead, dry layers. After facial surgery you cannot manipulate the skin for six-to-eight weeks, so having clean skin that looks radiant pre-surgery is a must.” Texeira does warn that some procedures should not be combined with microdermabrasion, such as more invasive services and more aggressive laser treatments that require general anesthesia.
Although microdermabrasion has been around for decades, it continues to evolve. “With the older machines, the projection of crystals are direct, and it feels like being on the beach on a windy day with the sand hitting your skin,” says Teixeira. “There are newer devices that allow estheticians to control the suction and amount of crystals that is projected.”
According to Pinsley, the newest advancement in microdermabrasion is the hybrid unit. It features two techniques: crystal microdermabrasion, an ablative procedure that uses a handheld device to remove the outer layer of the skin with a high-speed flow of sodium bicarbonate crystals, and diamond microdermabrasion, an abrasive procedure that uses a diamond-tipped wand to sand away the top layer of skin. “This multi-faceted approach to microdermabrasion provides topical and mechanical exfoliation of the skin in the same treatment, unveiling a healthier glow,” says Pinsley.
In addition to combining microdermabrasion with existing services on your menu, it can also be marketed as a stand-alone alternative to more invasive procedures. “Microdermabrasion can be offered as an entry point to non-surgical aesthetic procedures,” says Jacono. “For those who have very sensitive skin or fear the risk of side effects, microdermabrasion can be offered as a way for patients to dip their toes in the water with little to no risk and an immediate reward.”
Although many of your clients may be familiar with microdermabrasion, it is still important to find ways to market it to those who may not be aware of its benefits. “Describe what the treatment feels like, explain the benefits, and show images of clients who have had the treatment,” says Texeira. Jacono agrees that education is the key to promoting the treatment. “We host patient-education seminars to share information about microdermabrasion, as well as injectables, lasers, and other in-office aesthetic procedures to help patients make fully informed decisions,” says Jacono.
By way of introduction, Elise suggests letting clients experience it firsthand for free, so they can see the actual results. “It is a non-invasive yet wonderful procedure that can be given as a gift when the client has had a costly procedure, such as fillers or Botox,” says Elise. “Many of the doctors we work with give patients a gift certificate for microdermabrasion to be used during their follow-up appointments.” She also recommends having specially priced packages or memberships available, as well as offering a gift certificate to loyal clients or a 2-for-1 special. Says Elise, “Once they try it, they are hooked.”