Ask an Expert: Types of Facial Procedures

With such a variety of facial procedures to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Dr Catherine Porter is a spokesperson for the CPSA and gave us a rundown of some of the popular treatments available:


Microdermabrasion continues to be hugely popular in Australia. According to the 2014 CPSA Survey, microdermabrasion proved to be steady in popularity, with 44% of respondents revealing they had either undergone a microderm or were considering the procedure.
Microdermabrasions are effective as they provide skin with a deep cleanse through a combination of suction and abrasion methods, using small granules which remove dead skin cells from the surface. The treatment can help combat ageing as it provides a thorough exfoliating cleanse which means serums and moisturisers applied to the skin post treatments will be more effective, as the skin can absorb them properly. Post treatment, the skin usually feels quite firm and sensitive, particularly to UV rays; however in the long term, the skin is left feeling fresh and rehydrated, hence its appeal to all ages.

How often: 6 weekly
How many treatments are ideal? Depends on the condition being treated; acne up to 10; general skin maintenance 4 times a year
How long is downtime? 2-7 days of flaking should be expected


Conversely, hydrodermabrasion uses water and oxygen serums to achieve a similar result, which leaves your skin smoother and more hydrated. During this treatment, sterilised water is sent through the machine and is applied to the skin surface at a supersonic rate which cleans away dead skin. The procedure is great for improving circulation, toning and deeply moisturising the skin.
Hydroderms are often a better option for people with very sensitive skin or those who have an important event to attend the next day. This is because redness and swelling post treatment in hydroderms are usually less obvious and the skin is less irritated.

How often: 6 weekly
How many treatments are ideal? Depends on the condition being treated; acne up to 10; general skin maintenance 4 times a year
How long is downtime? 2-7 days of flaking should be expected


Glycolic Acid Peels

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which occurs naturally in sugar cane and works to loosen and remove the top layers of skin which are often dry, rough and scaly. Removing these layers means the face is left smoother, healthier and more illuminated. Glycolic acid peels are often used to treat mild sun damage, pigmentation and help skin rebuild elasticity by stimulating collagen production to produce plumper and more even skin. Such peels can also reduce fine lines, age spots, general pigmentation and acne scars.

How many treatments are ideal / How often? Advise a series of 4-6 peels at intervals of 4-6 weeks. Peels usually go for about 45 minutes.
How long is downtime? There may be none at all, however some may experience flaking, peeling and crusting for 3-5 days

Lactic Acid Peels

Lactic acid peels are also alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA); however lactic acid is derived from milk and is a very mild form of chemical peel. Lactic acid is a natural human metabolite, which means there is less chance of an allergic reaction occurring and are a good option for first-timers to chemical peels and people with sensitive skin.
Lactic Acid is excellent at resurfacing the skin and also increases the skin’s moisture levels. These peels work at exfoliating the skin, improving hyperpigmentation, brighten and lighten the skin as well as improve the appearance of wrinkles and stimulate natural collagen.

How many treatments are ideal / How often? Series of 4-6 peels at 4-6weekly intervals

How long is downtime? There is very little downtime because it is a mild peel. People can expect mild pinkness for 30 minutes post peel and minimal flaking.

The CPSA recommend that intending patients, particularly those who have never undergone a peel, microdermabrasion or hydrodermabrasion; consult their doctor, or a doctor with experience in cosmetic medicine, prior to undergoing procedures, to ensure they are receiving the most appropriate overall treatment for their skin. For example, microdermabrasion may not be a suitable treatment for someone who has very sensitive skin or who may have rosacea or facial capillaries.

Patients interested in finding a doctor that offers such treatments can visit

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