Microdermabrasion using a coarse diamond-studded instrument appears to induce molecular changes in the skin of older adults that mimic the way skin is remodeled during the wound healing process, according to a new report.
"Microdermabrasion is a popular procedure for skin rejuvenation," the authors were quoted as saying. "It has been suggested that microdermabrasion can improve the appearance of wrinkles, atrophic acne scars, dyspigmentation and other signs of aging skin."
The procedure involves using grains of diamond or another hard substance to buff the skin. In order to change the appearance of wrinkled skin, such a procedure would have to induce the production of collagen, the major structural protein in the skin. Previous studies have shown that microdermabrasion using aluminum oxide may not always stimulate collagen production; but whether more aggressive nonablative methods that fall short of destroying skin tissue could consistently stimulate collagen production was unknown.
Darius J. Karimipour, M.D. and colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, conducted a biochemical analysis of skin biopsy specimens before and after a microdermabrasion procedure. Forty adults age 50 to 83 years with sun-damaged skin on their arms volunteered to participate in the study. Each underwent microdermabrasion with a diamond-studded handpiece of either coarse-grit or medium-grit abrasiveness.
The coarse-grit microdermabrasion resulted in increased production of a wide variety of compounds associated with wound healing and skin remodeling, including cytokeratin 16, a well-known response to injuries to the skin's outer layer. Also produced were antimicrobial peptides that fight infection, matrix metalloproteinases that break down skin's structural proteins to allow for rebuilding, and collagen precursors that form the pathway to collagen production.
Individuals who received medium-grit microdermabrasion did not exhibit these molecular changes, the authors noted. All patients experienced a period of mild redness that typically lasted less than two hours.
"We demonstrated that aggressive nonablative microdermabrasion is an effective procedure to stimulate collagen production in human skin in vivo," the authors wrote. "The beneficial molecular responses, with minimal downtime, suggest that aggressive microdermabrasion may be a useful procedure to stimulate remodeling and to improve the appearance of aged human skin."
SOURCE: Archives of Dermatology, October 2009