Last updated date: 01-Aug-2023

Medically Reviewed By

Written by

Dr. Anas Walid Shehada

Originally Written in English



    Do you ever glance in the mirror and wish your skin tone was more even? If you answered yes, you should think about microdermabrasion. This non-invasive therapy exfoliates your skin softly. Your complexion may seem smoother, brighter, and more even in color after a series of treatments. Microdermabrasion is a dermatological treatment that removes the top layer of skin softly. 


    What is Microdermabrasion (MDA)?

    Microdermabrasion (MDA)

    Microdermabrasion (MDA) treatments remove the thicker, uneven outer layer of your skin by gently sanding it with a slightly abrasive device. This skin rejuvenation procedure is used to address minor scarring, discolouration, UV damage, and stretch marks.

    A dermatologist or esthetician is usually the one who does microdermabrasion. The procedure lasts around 30 minutes and can be coupled with other therapies. It usually does not hurt and may take numerous sessions to achieve the desired results.

    Marini and Lo Brutto first introduced MDA in 1985 as a less aggressive alternative to chemical peels and dermabrasion. The MDA procedure can be performed without anesthesia in an outpatient setting (medical office, medical spa) by a trained clinician, aesthetician, medical assistant, or nurse.

    Microdermabrasion removes a few of the top layers of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. Microderm, like brushing your teeth, helps to gently remove "plaque" and skin debris. Because human skin regenerates at approximately 30-day intervals, skin improvement with microdermabrasion is only temporary and must be repeated at two to four week intervals for continued improvement. The best results are obtained by combining multiple treatments with sunscreen, sun avoidance, and other skin-care creams.

    Microdermabrasion should not be confused with dermabrasion, which is an invasive surgical technique often performed under local or general anesthesia by dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons. Dermabrasion is a treatment for more severe acne scars. Dermabrasion requires anaesthetic since it is extremely painful without it. Dermabrasion is also used to treat certain forms of deep scars.


    What are the Types of Microdermabrasion?

    Types of Microdermabrasion

    Microdermabrasion is a professional technique that doctors and estheticians can perform. Microdermabrasion operations are classified into two types: crystal microdermabrasion and diamond microdermabrasion. Both are used to thoroughly exfoliate the skin.

    • During crystal microdermabrasion, microfine crystals are shot from a small tube onto your skin and simultaneously vacuumed back up. Think of this as working like a high-powered scrub.
    • Diamond microdermabrasion is a crystal-free version that uses a diamond-tipped wand to exfoliate instead.

    Both types of microdermabrasion have several advantages. After just one microdermabrasion treatment, the skin is soft, smooth, and luminous. A series of treatments can improve the texture and tone of the skin. It can also be used to treat fine wrinkles, sun damage, acne/acne scars, enlarged pores, and stretch marks.


    Microdermabrasion Benefits

    Microdermabrasion Benefits

    After understanding what microdermabrasion is and what it is used for, it is important to grasp the advantages. Your skin will feel baby smooth after microdermabrasion, and there should be less variation in colour. Microdermabrasion can also increase collagen formation, which improves suppleness and the appearance of wrinkles.

    Mild scarring, such as that caused by acne or stretch marks, should be less visible. Dead skin cells will be eliminated, and your skin will feel cleaner than it has in a long time. Your skin's circulation will increase, ensuring that all required nutrients and oxygen have a clear path to renew the region.

    After dermabrasion, you'll notice that your skin is more able to absorb the skincare products you've chosen. This is especially beneficial for people who are treating skin issues such as acne, since their skincare products will be more effective. Microdermabrasion can also shrink pores by unclogging them and increasing circulation.

    One of the most significant microdermabrasion face advantages is that it is a safe process, particularly when performed by a professional specialist. It is not as severe or hazardous as procedures such as chemical peels or laser therapy, yet it still produces excellent results. The recuperation period is brief, generally lasting only a few hours.

    You might be wondering if microdermabrasion might help minimize acne scars. The kind and degree of the scarring determine the response. Acne scars that are shallow and depressed should improve. If the scarring is deeper, as with an ice pick scar, the benefit will be minor. However, because microdermabrasion increases the general smoothness of your skin, you may see an improvement in the look of the scars.


    What ages are appropriate for Microdermabrasion?

    While there are no age or gender limits, children over the age of 12 and adults over the age of 65 may often benefit from microdermabrasion. While there is no upper age limit, older skin above the age of 70 may be more prone to bruising and skin abrasions. Individuals under the age of 12 may also undergo treatment from a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.


    How do I Prepare before Microdermabrasion?

    Microdermabrasion might be damaging to your skin. If your skin is inflamed before the operation, your physician may decide to postpone it.

    Do not get microdermabrasion if you currently have:

    • An active cold sore outbreak
    • Moderate to severe acne
    • An open wound or other skin irritation. 
    • A rash
    • Rosacea
    • A suspicious mole
    • Sunburn

    If you have used the acne medicine isotretinoin within the last six months, you should postpone your microdermabrasion procedure.

    A few precautions to take in the two to three days before your treatment include: 

    • Avoid aspirin and aspirin-based medicine
    • Do not wax the treatment area
    • Stay out of the sun to avoid a sunburn
    • Stop using exfoliating products, Retin-A, and glycolic acid 

    Avoid using topical treatments on the morning of the appointment unless otherwise instructed. If at all possible, arrive to the appointment with a clean face and no makeup.



    Microdermabrasion Technique

    Prior to beginning the procedure, the targeted treatment region should be washed with a gentle cleaner. To avoid contact with the abrasive crystals, moist gauze is put over the eyes. The skin makes contact with the device tip. The gadget pushes the skin into the handpiece using negative pressure. The abrasive crystals are then released at a controlled flow rate by the device. Surface debris and the cell's stratum corneum layer are removed, and the particles accumulate in a reservoir.

    After that, the gadget is passed over the skin to target the targeted surface area. Three passes over the treated area are normally required for a single treatment. The residual crystals and dirt are cleaned away with a washcloth before applying a mild moisturizer. The complete treatment usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. To attain the desired outcomes, patients frequently require 4-6 weekly sessions. The degree of stratum corneum removal is determined by the crystal flow rate and the exposure time of the procedure. The vacuum device's pressure has little effect on stratum corneum removal.


    How long does a Treatment Take?

    Actual microdermabrasion operation

    The actual microdermabrasion operation is brief, lasting about 15 to 30 minutes. You will be led to the treatment room by the technician, where you will change into a gown and lie down on the bed.

    Before beginning the microdermabrasion process, your technician will wash your face to prepare your skin. They will scrub your face again after the crystal microdermabrasion to remove any stray crystals. After that, apply moisturizer and sunscreen, and you're done.

    Many salons, day spas, and medi-spas will include microdermabrasion as part of a full facial treatment. In this case, you will also be given a mask and a facial massage. Expect to spend 60 to 90 minutes in the treatment chair for this. 


    How Many Treatments are Needed?

    The number of treatments required is entirely based on your desired aim. A session as a one-time spa treatment will leave your skin looking bright and feeling buttery soft.

    However, if you want to fix a specific skin condition, you'll need a series of treatments to notice any beneficial results. The benefits of microdermabrasion are cumulative.

    Six to ten treatments are usually planned seven to fourteen days apart. The quantity and frequency of treatments are determined by the demands of your skin and your skincare objectives. The professional doing your operation will advise you on the optimal treatment plan for your unique circumstance.


    What Can I Expect after Treatment?

    After Treatment

    Because it operates on the skin's surface, there are little microdermabrasion adverse effects. Tenderness, swelling, or slight bruising may occur, though. Your skin will be somewhat pink following treatment. This normally goes away within a few hours.

    You may feel like you have a minor sunburn for a day or two afterward. Otherwise, you'll be able to go about your day immediately following your treatment without anyone knowing what you've done.

    Acne treatments, toners, and medicated cleansers will almost certainly burn or sting if applied immediately after a microdermabrasion treatment. You might wish to wait a day before utilizing these. Makeup, moisturizers, and non-medicated cleansers are typically safe to use shortly after therapy.

    You will undoubtedly need sunblock. After treatment, you'll be more vulnerable to sun damage.


    How much does it Cost?

    Treatment cost

    The cost of treatment might range from 75$ to 300$ depending on where you live and where you get it done. If you go to a nice salon in a wealthy neighborhood and choose the works facial treatment, you should expect to spend a premium for your microdermabrasion.

    If, on the other hand, you choose no-frills microdermabrasion at your local salon, your costs will be reduced. Look around. The most expensive treatment isn't always the best, but bargain-basement procedures should be approached with caution.


    Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

    Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

    Both dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are cosmetic treatments that resurface the skin to improve look, however they are not the same. Dermabrasion is a surgical operation performed by a doctor, whereas microdermabrasion is a skin treatment performed by a healthcare expert, such as an aesthetician. Both remove skin layers to allow new, rejuvenated skin to grow, but dermabrasion penetrates much deeper into the skin's surface.


    Comparing Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion Procedures

    Dermabrasion is a treatment in which the doctor removes the epidermis and top layer of the dermis using mechanical equipment such as a wire brush or revolving wheel covered in sterile sandpaper. Before the dermabrasion, you will be anesthetized, and your skin will be red, painful, and swollen. A crust or scab forms and falls off within two weeks as your skin heals, revealing the new skin. Dermabrasion stimulates collagen growth for 3 to 6 months, tightening and plumping the skin.

    Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic therapy that is milder and less invasive than dermabrasion. A skincare specialist will use an instrument (several microdermabrasion equipment are available) to remove the top layers of the epidermis, making the skin seem younger. Microdermabrasion requires little to no downtime. Some people receive multiple treatments.

    Microdermabrasion is also not the same as microneedling, which is performed by a skincare specialist who uses a roller with microscopic needles to generate tiny punctures in the skin, creating micro-injuries that heal by building collagen.


    Compare Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion Benefits and Costs

    Dermabrasion can treat acne scars, injuries, and surgical scars, as well as tattoo removal, actinic keratoses (rough patches produced by UV exposure), and rosacea nose enlargement. Dermabrasion takes 3 to 6 months to really benefit you, but your skin should recover in approximately two weeks so you may resume normal activities.

    Microdermabrasion may improve the appearance of your skin by making it smoother, brighter, and more evenly toned. It may assist to remove light scars, fine wrinkles, and discolouration. Microdermabrasion provides the major benefits of younger-looking skin and more even skin tone, but it cannot treat the more significant skin flaws that dermabrasion can.

    Dermabrasion is significantly more expensive than microdermabrasion, and prices vary greatly depending on the depth of the damage, the size of the region being treated, and other factors. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of dermabrasion in 2019 was 1,296$. If you require general anesthesia and hospitalization, the expense will skyrocket.

    Microdermabrasion costs vary, but in 2019 they averaged 136$. Additional fees may apply in various locations and offices. Because they are cosmetic procedures, neither microdermabrasion nor dermabrasion are covered by insurance.

    When deciding between dermabrasion and microdermabrasion, examine the extent to which either may treat your skin issues as well as what matches your budget. If you're thinking about dermabrasion, talk to your doctor about cosmetic laser or chemical peels, which are used to treat similar skin issues.


    Does microdermabrasion help with acne scars?

    People with active acne, modest acne discolouration, pick marks, and extremely superficial or elevated acne scars may benefit greatly with microdermabrasion. Dermatologists use microdermabrasion to treat acne and unclog pores. Microderm is frequently used in conjunction with gentle glycolic peels and medical acne extractions to help speed up acne clearing.

    Individuals with more severe acne scars may benefit from surgical dermabrasion or laser resurfacing.


    Can microdermabrasion help with Melasma?

    Yes, Microderm can aid in the treatment of melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation. Melasma therapy may involve biweekly or monthly Microderm treatments paired with glycolic acid peels, fading lotions such as hydroquinone 4%, and daily sunscreens. Multiple treatments, combined with sunscreen and sun avoidance, as well as other creams, help produce the best results, though permanent improvement is not to be expected.


    Are there Risks to Having Microdermabrasion?

    Microdermabrasion is typically safe when administered by a doctor or qualified esthetician. Scarring might occur if the procedure is not carried out correctly. The following are temporary side effects of microdermabrasion: 

    • Bruising 
    • Dry or flaking skin
    • Increased sun sensitivity that can last several days
    • Mild abrasions
    • A recurrence of cold sores



    Many individuals use microdermabrasion to minimize the apparent signs of aging or to remove acne scars. Microdermabrasion can enhance the look of your skin by gently removing the top layer of the skin. To exfoliate your skin, use crystals or a diamond-tipped wand. The treatment typically takes 15 to 30 minutes. Before undergoing microdermabrasion outside of a clinic, always consult with a dermatologist.