Microdermabrasion. Photo: Getty Images

It had been years since I submitted my face to the harsh whirring of the microdermabrasion wand. And, believe it or not, I've missed it's powerful exfoliation and the newly revealed glowy skin that comes after the service.

So I jumped at the chance to try a "new" type of microdermabrasion at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in New York City. But I wondered, what makes it different from the "old" microdermabrasion?

Well, at least at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas, microdermabrasion 2.0 includes Conair's Satin Smooth Derma Smooth machine, which gives the esthetician the option of using two different wands -- one with a diamond tip that does not employ crystals and the other with a tip that can be used with organic or non-organic crystals. With either wand, the level of suction can be customized to your needs and comfort.

I opted for the diamond-tipped wand which I was told would polish my skin, exfoliate dead cells and improve the look of uneven pigmentation and skin texture, as well as acne and fine lines. That's a pretty tall order. I didn't expect to see all of these effects, as the spa recommends a minimum of six treatments for best results.

What I experienced was a much gentler feeling than microdermabrasion has had in the past. I often hear it compared to feeling of a cat licking your face. I can only assume this is accurate, since I'm highly allergic to cats. More importantly, I can say that this improved version of the service certainly felt less harsh than before -- painless, really. My esthetician passed the wand over each area of my face several times, methodically, smoothing and exfoliating away to her heart's (and mine) content.

After she was finished, she gently cleansed my face and applied moisturizer with sun protection. When I looked in the mirror I was pink, dewy and seemingly younger looking? Hmm, that may have been the result of lying down in a dark spa treatment room under plush towels and blankets for an hour.

In any case, the "new" microdermabrasion is much gentler than the old and does still reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. As for the dewiness, I found that faded once the moisturizers sunk in. I'm a fan, but I'm still conducting a cost-benefit analysis of signing up for the rest of the five sessions suggested for optimum results.


In other beauty-treatment news, click here for an honest review of the famous Brazilian Blowout treatment.