When microdermabrasion became popular in the United States during the mid-1990s, crystal microdermabrasion was the treatment to have done for smooth, glowing skin. Crystal Microderm involves a special hand-held device that simultaneously blasts aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin and vacuums up dirt, dead skin cells, and the used crystals. The abrasive nature of the crystals was thought to be excellent for deep exfoliation and stripping of the top layer of skin (an ablative procedure). However, due to the irregular shape of the crystals, they can actually be too abrasive and leave the skin inflamed. For patients with skin conditions that stem from inflammation, like rosacea, crystal microdermabrasion can worsen the condition and appearance of skin. Because this treatment is highly dependent on the machine (proper force of crystal flow and suction), crystal microdermabrasion is often a less reliable form of microdermabrasion. Another downside to this particular treatment is that crystal particles may be left on the skin, as it is hard to completely remove them all.
Diamond microdermabrasion, on the other hand, involves the use of a diamond-tipped wand that is used to slough away the top level of the skin (an abrasive procedure), while the wand’s vacuum sucks up dirt and dead skin cells. No particles are left on the skin. Due to the precise nature of the diamond-tipped wand, especially in comparison with the crystal machine, this treatment can more accurately exfoliate hard-to-reach places, such as areas closer to the eyes and mouth (and there is no risk of stray particles getting in your eye or being ingested through your nose or mouth). Rather than placing the results in the hands of a machine, the diamond Microderm relies on the skill of the operator to apply manual pressure, giving the technician much more direct control over the entire process.
The difference between the two treatments can easily be understood by comparing them to “sandblasting,” which is the crystal method, and “sandpapering,” which is the diamond method. While the crystal treatment is the traditional microdermabrasion treatment, it is slowly being phased out and replaced by the newer system of diamond-tipped wand Microderm. Diamond-tipped wands have been shown to be safer and more precise, and are a great option for clients with any skin condition.