Ever since I got into skincare 3-4 years ago, I’ve tried more than 300 skincare products. There were a lot of good ones, some really great ones, but very few that becomes my Holy Grail. There were a few products that are my stables, but if they are gone there are one or two similar products that can replace them. But Holy Grail is THE One that I can’t go without, that I will rave about/recommend to anyone and everything, with nothing else comparable and that I would truly be devastated if it was discontinued. After trying 300+ skincare, the only ones that made it to Holy Grail status were KGD Cleansing Water, Dior Gentle Toning Lotion with Peony and now— Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion.
At $79 for 2oz, it’s my most expensive Holy Grail. I’ve spent years trying to find a good substitute that is cheaper or similar. Dr. Brandt recently came out with PoreDermabrasion, so I immediately got a sample hoping that it would be a cheaper alternative.
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Dr. Brandt MicroDermabrasion
Description: This formula contains pharmaceutical-grade crystals, lactic acid, and soothing botanicals to polish away dead skin cells, provide a radiant, healthy look, and smooth skin’s texture. Watch as the appearance of fine lines, acne marks, and skin discolorations diminish as you achieve maximum results in minimal time.
Ingredients: Water, Alumina, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-12 Glyceryl Distearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Fragrance, Menthone Glycerin Acetal, Allantoin, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Oxide, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Citral, Limonene.
My take: LOVE! …oh wait, you meant you want more explanation than that? Ok then. It’s a creamy scrub with tiny pharmaceutical-grade aluminum oxide crystals that feels super fine and gentle but gives a thorough exfoliation. You are supposed to rub gently for 1-2 minutes (I usually do 1 minute, unless I feel especially oily). It have a fresh, clean, zesty lemony scent and you might feel a slight cooling sensation as you are rubbing it on or rinsing off. Because the chemical component consists of lactic acid, one of the gentler acid, and a mixture of soothing botanicals, your skin will feel clean, refreshed and smooth but not dry or irritated. After months of steady use, I can say it does help with texture and acne marks. As for discoloration, I started to see dark spots from sun damage last summer and I don’t think it had any effect on those, but it does help fade the discoloration from acne scars.
My second choice would be the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, but it’s slightly messy and I don’t use it in the shower for fear of spilling the powder or the moisture ruining it. All the other exfoliators I’ve tried either have grains that are too big, sparse or abrasive for a good scrub… or the chemical exfoliator component may be too harsh/gentle for my skin. This Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion is something I would proudly recommend for all skin types.
Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion
Description: Minimize pores while smoothing and evening skin’s texture with this dual-action formula. This exfoliator instantly works to deeply cleanse pores while it strengthens and tightens the look of pores by removing congestion and clogging-causing impurities. Your skin will look and feel smoother, more even, and shine-free.
Ingredients: Water, Alumina, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carbomer, Methyl Gluceth-20, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol Denat., Sodium Hydroxide, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Sodium Oxide.
My take: It have a sour, more citrusy scent than MicroDermabrasion. The physical exfoliator is the same micro-size pharmaceutical grade aluminum crystal, but because of the lime extract and salicylic acid, the exfoliator feels more abrasive and there’s a very mild stinging/tingling as I rub it on. The instruction says to massage for 1 minute, then leave on for 1-2 minutes. I have dry combination skin in the winter and 3 minutes were too much, but 1-1.5 minutes left my skin squeaky clean and smooth without drying it out or irritates it. It is a great exfoliator, but mostly for oily and problem skin.
Final verdict!!! MicroDermabrasion is a gentle but effective exfoliator appropriate for all skin types, while PoreDermabrasion is more for oily/problem skin. While they are both wonderful exfoliators, I definitely enjoys the microdermabrasion more, so congradulations for finally entering my List of Holy Grail! NOTE: For the best result, it is important to gently rub it on your face for 1-2 minutes as the instruction stated. The chemical exfoliator needs time to work and physical exfoliator is very fine so if you just wipe on a few times then rinse off, you are wasting your money.
Even though you need less than 2 pea size for the whole face and only need to use it 1-2 times per week, it is still pretty expensive at $79 for 2oz. Dr. Brandt usually have some big sale around holiday season that puts it at ~40% off. And there’s always the 20%/$20 off Sephora have every Nov/Dec. The Microdermabrasion is definitely worth the price, although I haven’t need to buy it at full price yet. So, what is your favorite exfoliator?