With all the exfoliating skincare treatments out there- both professional and at-home, its easy to fall into an abyss of skincare options and get lead down a path of self-destructive treatments. This defeats our goal of having healthy, youthful, and glowing skin. Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a quick guide on the different types of exfoliating treatments along with a few Do’s and Don’ts.

There are many different types of at-home or medical grade exfoliation treatments: Chemical exfoliation (such as peels and enzymes) and physical (dermaplaning and microdermabrasion). While chemical peels are typically safe on all skin types- physical exfoliation is not and should not be recommended for everyone.

Those with very sensitive skin, active acne, rosacea, and/or couperose skin should steer away from most, if not all, physical exfoliants. For these types of patients, chemical exfoliation is best- both professionally applied and  self-applied skincare regimens.

At-home physical exfoliants such as scrubs (skincare containing particles or granules to scrub dead skin away) are not recommended. It’s best to stick with products containing chemical exfoliants such as lactic, light glycolics, fruit enzymes, and in some cases bakuchiol (natural alternative to retinol). The only physical form of exfoliation recommended for those mentioned above is dermaplaning- which would still require a consultation and skin analysis for clearance.

Let me explain the difference between the various medical grade physical exfoliation treatments.

First of all, physical exfoliation is when we physically or mechanically exfoliate the skin, such as with a dermaplaning or microdermabrasion treatment. The two most common types of microdermabrasion devices are: Crystal and Diamond.

Crystal microdermabrasion is a procedure in which a small crystal-emitting handpiece sprays fine crystals onto the surface of the skin to “scrub” away dead skin cells while simultaneously suctioning off the exfoliated skin. This procedure is a bit outdated and messy, as patients often complained of inhaling crystals through their nose.

Diamond microdermabrasion uses a diamond-tip handpiece (similar to the look and feel of sandpaper) to exfoliate the outermost layer while also simultaneously suctioning the dead skin that was exfoliated. This is a great treatment option for those of you who don’t have sensitive skin or any of the above mentioned skin concerns. Both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion (as well as with facial scrubs) are notorious for causing more broken/ dilated capillaries on the face- leading to more unwanted redness and sensitivity.

Dermaplaning, on the other hand, is a great form of physical exfoliation without the capillary breaking suction, making it a much safer option for all skin types. I would have to go as far as saying its even better than any microdermabrasion treatment out there. Dermaplaning is so safe (in the skilled hands of a well-trained professional in a medical setting) that even pregnant and nursing women or people with sensitive skin and rosacea can take advantage. That said, keep in mind that you can’t be treated if you happen to have a rosacea flare-up on the day of your appointment.

Dermaplaning uses a sterile, single use blade that is gently passed over the skin to remove a buildup of dead skin. The added benefit: it takes with it all that unwanted vellus hair (aka peach fuzz) that your makeup clings to. Basically- healthier, brighter, dewier skin= instant gratification. Flawless makeup applications, and better product penetration from medical grade treatments and your at-home skincare regimen, without any downtime.

It is important to note that anyone with active acne will not benefit from physical exfoliating treatments and should stick to a regimen that consists of chemical exfoliants.

If you would like more information or a complimentary skincare consultation, we’re just a phone call or email away.

I look forward to helping you achieve all your skincare goals!

Best, Juliana