The Magic of Machines
As a single hour of TV viewing can attest, skin is a big deal. You notice it, family and friends notice it, strangers notice it—and not having smooth, youthful skin is an issue regularly addressed by the beauty and medical industries both, whether through dermatology or simple commercials on television. In the quest for enviable skin, dermatologists have developed machines using the latest technology—including crystal machines and diamond machines. The purpose of these devices is to remove the outer layer of skin, revealing the (hopefully) smooth, fresh skin beneath to create a new, youthful look for patients—and fulfilling the skin-appearance fantasies of men and women worldwide.
Diamond microdermabrasion is a microdermabrasion machine used in conjunction with diamonds, as the name suggests. Diamonds are used in this practice for their durability and strength; unlike many substitutes, diamonds do not let off a dust or powder during use. The diamond portion of the machine may be found on the machine’s wand head. Diamonds are laser-cut for precision and proper spacing. Like traditional microdermabrasion treatments, diamond-based machines are used to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and shallow acne scarring, as well as removing the appearance of large pores, blackheads, and difficulties with skin tone.
Because diamond wand heads are not prone to gradual disintegration or powder generation, many skin care practitioners and dermatologists prefer this method of microdermabrasion. Repeated exposure to the diamond wand is not cause for concern, as exposure to other wands heads may be, and allows technicians to get far closer to patients’ eyes, noses, and mouths, as (again), there is no residue to be ingested or inhaled.
Though the name may intimidate some, diamond microdermabrasion treatments need not be expensive or inaccessible. Diamond microdermabrasion kits are available to beauticians and dermatologists in high-powered machines, but may also be purchased at a lower wattage and used at home. Though the average price of a lower-end machine is at or around $200, many users report contentment regarding their purchase; spas may charge upward of $100 per session, while users may do it themselves for a fraction of the cost. When seeking a diamond kit, however, be sure the wand head is 100% made with diamonds. If diamonds are combined with any other type of head, the benefits of diamond heads may be rendered void.
Crystal microdermabrasion devices differ from diamond machines in a number of ways apart from simple materials. Crystal machines have been around for far longer than diamond machines, and have been spa technician and dermatologists’ go-to method of microdermabrasion for years. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Material. Diamond systems are made with diamonds, while crystal systems are (typically) constructed using aluminum oxide crystals.
- Method of microdermabrasion. Diamond wand heads function as a sort of sandpaper, scraping dead skin cells away and exposing new growth, before using suction to remove skin cells and dirt. Conversely, crystal heads actually project aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin accompanied by heat, essentially “blasting” skin, before using suction to remove crystals, dirt, and skin cells.
- Likelihood of residue. Because diamonds are actually scraping the skin of patients, diamond heads do not leave residue behind. Crystal heads, however, leave residue behind due to the projecting nature of the wand’s head.
Like diamond microdermabrasion, crystal wand heads are used by both dermatologists and other skin care professionals. Because the crystal wand blasts crystals onto the skin rather than simply scraping against the skin, both professional and personal crystal microdermabrasion machines require maintenance, upkeep, and the replenishment of product. Skin care professionals typically advise the use of crystal wands for clients with significant skin troubles; aluminum oxide crystals are far more irregular in their structure, and are better able to conform to minute bumps and ridges in skin, while diamond wands function better moving over “regular” skin. Because of this, some spas or offices may charge more for crystal microdermabrasion—though this may deter some clients, clients with severe skin irregularities may benefit more from crystal microdermabrasion than diamond machines.
Crystal microdermabrasion devices may be purchased for at-home use, and are offered at a wide variety of price points, ranging from below $100, to over $500. The devices do require refills on aluminum crystals, however, and this should be taken into account when purchasing a machine. With regular use, devices can last many years, and will require different refill amounts based on use and intensity. When considering at-home treatments, it may be advisable to try out a professional treatment center first to determine which machine and procedure works best for you.
The Verdict: Check Your Skin Type
Although both diamond and crystal microdermabrasion treatments are effective in smoothing and clearing skin, each type of treatment is best suited to certain needs and skin types. For those with less problematic skin, seeking to smooth small wrinkles and undergo a more intense form of exfoliation, diamond microdermabrasion wands may be the best bet. For clients with more difficult skin—particularly greater variation in skin texture due to scars, deep lines, or sagging, crystal wands will provide longer-lasting, more readily visible results. Because both types may be used in-home or done professionally, clients should focus more on their own wants and needs from microdermabrasion rather than simply looking at convenience or price.