Beautynomics - The Economics of Vanity
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Home Microdermabrasion Vs. Clinic Microdermabrasion :
Perfect Substitutes?

I've always wanted smooth, and flawless skin. Thank GOD for modern technology that they can do that to my face in a heartbeat - but with a certain price tag.

What is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is kinda "polishing" your skin - scrubs off old skin cells, to facilitate new and healthy skin cells to grow. It gives you an instant glow, too! Say goodbye to that awful layer of old and dull skin that makes you look old, and say hello to younger skin, tighter pores, and a more refined complexion! Well, that's basically the aim of microdermabrasion.

And why micro? It's a less scarier predecessor of the surgical procedure called dermabrasion. My dermatologist described it as "bloody" since you'd be all wounded as a tool scrapes of layers off your face ( this is usually done for really depressed scars! ). It made me twinge since I'm petrified of blood. Microdermabrasion is a less scarier one since it doesn't hurt, it doesn't involve any blood, and the recovery time is only 24 hours!

Professional Vs. At Home Microdermabrasion

Professional microdermabrasion are performed by dermatologists - they use a tool that looks like a "blowtorch", and just polishes away the surface of the skin, gently. Dead skin cells are scraped off, without pain, and the result is instant smooth, glowing and finer skin. Most treatments cost around $28.00 up to $100.00 ( depends on the clinic ), and it's more of a hassle to go to your derma every few weeks to have it done. You should be very patient to come back every few weeks until you get the result you desired ( many say that upon their 3rd or 4th visit, their pores are so much finer, and skin is healthier ), and get it maintained every month.

Some people are far too busy to have themselves go to a dermatologist - professionals and students on the go, and would rather do DIY treatments. So, cosmetic companies have come up with at-home microdermabrasion kits that promise to deliver the same results as clinic microdermabrasion. It is more inexpensive, and you can certainly do it at the comforts of your own homes, for a few minutes! :)

There are good microdermabrasion kits available in the market. My recommendation list includes three, namely :

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Estee Lauder Idealist Micro Deep Thermal Refinisher
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Mary Kay TimeWise Microdermabrasion Kit
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Nu Skin Polishing Peel ( Skin Refinisher )

( In fairness, all three have received good rave reviews! So it's up to you to choose. The most affordable I think, is the Nu Skin Polishing Peel, but everyone's crazy about Mary Kay! So it must be good :) )
I have tried at-home microdermabrasion and clinic microdermabrasion. My comparison? There was more dead skin cells removed via clinic microdermabrasion that at-home microdermabrasion. It doesn't mean that at-home microdermabrasion kits are useless. They are to be used when you're too busy to give you a quick fix , and a quick glow on your face, but you still have to find time to have it done at the clinic if you seek a more visible result. But some people find at-home microdermabrasion procedures enough already. Maybe my skin's too complex. Oh well. :)
Economic theory learned? There are two choices, which bring similar results, but priced differently. It would be better if the more reasonably priced one would deliver exactly the same results as the more expensive one, but in this case, it is just a close substitute. In the absence of time, or accessibility to the more expensive but more effective procedure, a substitute would suffice. There ya go! :P

For a formal lesson, from, here's a rundown of the theories. Try to keep it within the beautynomics concept - microdermabrasion, and even beyond! :)

Substitution with respect to needs
"Goods are said to be substitutes if they serve to the same purposes, if they are equivalent in functional terms, if they satisfy the same need(s).
Imperfect substitution occurs when two goods, while satisfycing the same main need, score differently on quality and features (e.g. a Jaguar and a Mini are substitutes since they both carry people from one place to another, but on several characteristics they are different - as for comfort, prestige, etc.).
Product differentiation is here fundamental.

Substitution in terms of time
"Two consumption goods can compete on the limited time the consumer has. A holiday destination competes on another one not only because both are satisficing the same need but also because one cannot be in two places at the same time. Similarly, holiday destionations compete with house duties in week-ends, although most of people prefer the former to the latter."

There is also another kind of substitution, and that is income substitution. It depends on the purchasing power of the consumer. The higher his income, the less he needs to substitute.:)
Til then! tata! Leave your comments! :)

posted at 9:37 AM by Charmed One


Microdermabrasion uses physical exfoliation to advice accoutrements away the top mould of skin to accord it a advantageous afterglow and help access corpuscle turnover.

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About Me

An economics graduate that always hated her math
but loved her theories.
Believes that Economics can be found in :
- the bathroom
- in front of your vanity mirror
- an in every place beautiful.

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