As an esthetician I have found that controlled exfoliation can be one of the most skin transforming tools at my disposal. Emphasis on the word controlled. This is important because over-exfoliation can be very damaging to our skin and choosing the right method, strength and areas of focus much be properly strategized (if you want to know more about this read my post on the art of peeling).
One of my favorite methods of exfoliating is sea salt microdermabrasion for two reasons. First, because I have the utmost control and am able to manipulate intensities, number of rounds of peeling I can do as well as localization (sometimes I only work on lesions themselves and leave the rest of the face alone). And second, using natural sea salt is so much better than traditional methods.
What is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a form of exfoliation that involves “sand-blasting” the skin. A machine is used that disperses aluminum crystals and passed all over the face in a way that feels akin to being sanded down. Depending on the intensity and number of rounds you do in each session, it can range from not hurting at all with minimal flushing to considerable discomfort and redness that last for a few days. The job of the esthetician is to determine where you want to be on that continuum in order to achieve your skin goals. I’ve seen a bunch of skincare products marketed as “microdermabrasion” but believe me, the difference is in the intensity of the machine as well as the talent a pro.
Now there are more than one type of microdermabrasion. The traditional form uses crystals made from aluminum and remains the most popular. I have worked with these machines, and while they can give you excellent results, I do not like the idea of abrading and rubbing aluminum into open skin over and over. Moreover, while most of these crystals are rinsed away in each treatment, a unnoticeable residue will remain on the skin for up to two weeks. Yuck. Enter: Sea-salt microdermabrasion. This form of microdermabrasion uses finely ground all-natural sea salt that dissolves immediately in water. Its safe, its easy to remove and its better for your skin.
Sea Salt Micro 101
I’ve been doing sea salt microdermabrasion for almost ten years and have been amazed at the results I’ve seen. Its incredibly refining, reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores, scars and pigmentation. Dead skin cells are buffs away so that hydrated skin underneath are revealed and impurities are removed so that pores are clear and absorb moisture and skincare much better. Along with this, it temporarily stimulates circulation and blood flow, encouraging oxygenation of the skin as well as collagen production. This makes it excellent for anti-aging and evening out skin tone.
But I also love of safes this peeling is on sensitive skin. Sea salt microdermabrasion is a deeper peeling but causes less inflammation. The natural sea salt gives a deeper treatment but causes much less redness than the traditional type. This makes it much better for sensitive skin types – I have even done rosacea clients with this technology (very carefully of course), with no adverse effects. Most of my clients leave with no redness at all, and those who have had inflammation, experience it because we have targeted a deep issue such as ice pick scars or lesions and still find that their skin redness disappears by the next morning.
Sea Salt itself is purifying anti-bacterial, so has been effective for acne-prone complexions and sometimes we at Pure + Simple actually perform the abrasion after doing extractions so that the pores we picked are disinfected and closed.
Of course, like all exfoliation, you much use proper sun protection after doing a treatment. I also strongly advise using a rich, protective moisturizer for two days afterwards. This is to support your barrier function but also because its a time in which your skin will slurp up topical nourishment the best. I have had acne-prone clients skip this for fear that they will break out (you won’t if you use a petroleum-free product), and found their skin either does not exhibit the results they desired or that their complexion feels tight and dehydrated. Don’t waste your time and money! Do the proper after-care and you will enjoy beautiful, glowing, smooth skin from this natural and effective treatment. For more info, check out this short video we put together on sea salt microdermabrasion!