You’ve probably heard about microdermabrasion, an up-and-coming skincare treatment available in several forms – including exfoliating scrubs, at-home machines, and expensive spa treatments with diamond-tipped wands.
Keep reading to learn more about microdermabrasion, to find out if you are a candidate for this popular skincare treatment, and for reviews of some of the best home machines on the market.
What is microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive, non-chemical treatment that involves strong exfoliation to improve skin tone and treat a variety of other concerns including wrinkles, acne, dark spots, and scars.
In essence, a microdermabrasion treatment removes the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal the smoother, younger looking skin beneath.
The first microdermabrasion treatments involved a messy spray of sand or crystals. This procedure was dangerous in that the crystals could get into a patient’s eyes. This technique has been replaced by a diamond-tipped wand that gently sands the surface of the skin. Dead skin and other debris is sucked back into a waste filter.
Pros and cons
The benefits of microdermabrasion have made it one of the most popular anti-aging skincare treatments today. In addition to anti-aging effects, microdermabrasion has been shown to:
- Decrease acne
- Brighten and lighten skin tone
- Minimize hyperpigmentation
- Increase absorption of products
- Minimize the appearance of pores and scars
- Reduce oiliness
- Clear skin of build-up and bacteria
Microdermabrasion is also a great because it is non-invasive, painless, and uses no chemicals. It is a relatively safe procedure that can be done at home with a microdermabrasion machine (more on this below). It is appropriate for all skin types and can even be performed on tattooed skin.
The main downside is that it isn’t appropriate for everyone.
Microdermabrasion is highly effective in treating resistant acne bumps, but is not appropriate for people suffering from active acne.
Avoid microdermabrasion if you have any of the following:
- Visible or broken capillaries
- Highly sensitive skin
- Thin or fragile skin
- Inflamed acne/breakout
Consider microdermabrasion a good choice if you have any of the following:
- Dark spots/age spots
- Mild acne scars
- Acne that is not inflamed (blackheads and whiteheads)
- Rough skin
- Fine lines/wrinkles
- Dull skin
- Thick skin
- Very oily skin
- Stretch marks
Best at home microdermabrasion machines
Trophy Skin Rejuvaderm MD Microdermabrasion System ($199 on Amazon)
This is a spa-grade device that effectively treats a variety of age-relate skin issues like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Regular use has also been shown to decrease the appearance of acne scars and sun damage.
Rejuvaderm features a diamond tip for precise exfoliation and a vacuum motor to remove dead skin cells, sebum, and dirt from your pores.
Product features include:
- Easy to use
- Fast treatment time
- Four suction levels
The device comes with three tips, one for exfoliating, one for extracting, and one for infusing (skincare products).
Microdermabrasion at home before and after (photo)
Silk’n Revit Microderm Device ($69 on Amazon)
This is a cost-effective product that provides simple, gentle treatment in the privacy of your own home.
Silk’n comes with three “diamond-peeling” tips for different uses: coarse, fine, and precision.
Silk’n has two intensity settings: low and high. First-time users should always start with the lowest intensity. According to reviews, this product is great for opening up pores and is a great choice for people with blackheads and whiteheads.
Microdermabrasion before and after acne scars (photo)
Microdermabrasion is a popular treatment for light acne scars and redness left over from acne. Keep in mind it will not fix divots or deep acne scars.
PMD Personal Microderm System ($159 on Amazon)
This is the machine that I use. I like PMD because there are all sorts of options, including 6 colors and one device specifically for men.
PMD is great for beginners. There are several tips of varying coarseness, all the way from “ultra sensitive” to one that can be used on the feet. All the tips are color-coded, so it’s easy to find the one you need.
Unlike the other two products, PMD uses spinning discs with aluminum oxide crystals. The handheld tool also features suction to pull the skin to the disc for effective exfoliation.
Microdermabrasion before and after 1 treatment
As with any skincare or beauty treatment, it’s important to have realistic expectations.
Some people have called microdermabrasion an “instant face lift.” I don’t know if I would go that far, but as someone who has tested multiple microdermabrasion products, I can tell you that there is definitely a visible difference after the first use.
I experienced the following effects after my first time using the PMD device:
- Brighter complexion
- Lighter skin tone (because the treatment had effectively sanded off my tan)
- Red spots and minor irritation (I have sensitive, thin skin)
I had fewer negative effects and more positive effects as I continued treatment (which started at once per week). Over time, I noticed a refined, brighter skin tone with less acne.
I can’t make any comments on wrinkles and scars, because I do not have them. It’s also important to note that because of my skin type I could only use the tips designed for sensitive skin.
In most cases, 4-6 microdermabrasion treatments will be required. There will be 1 or 2 weeks between each treatment. Maintain results with additional treatments every 1-3 months.
Directly before and after treatment, it is important to stay away from:
- Tanning beds, tanning sprays, and direct sunlight
- Peels, waxes, and any product containing harsh chemicals or acids
- Exfoliating products
Best microdermabrasion scrub
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative to the pricey machines listed above, we recommend Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant ($38 on Amazon).
This exfoliating scrub contains magnesium and diamond-shaped crystals to scrub away skin cells, refine skin texture, brighten complexion, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
According to reviews, this product will not irritate sensitive skin and can be effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars. Some users said they noticed results after just one week of use.
Natural microdermabrasion: DIY face scrub
Looking for an all-natural microdermabrasion treatment you can do at home? Here are two easy recipes:
Honey, lavender, and baking soda
How to do it: mix 1 tablespoon raw honey, 2 teaspoons baking soda (no more), and two drops of lavender oil.
Using your fingertips, massage the mixture onto damp skin. Wash with your normal cleanser, rinse with cold water, and follow up with moisturizer. This is a good option for people looking to lighten dark spots on the face.
Brown sugar and coconut milk
How to do it: Mix 2 teaspoons coconut milk and 3 teaspoons brown sugar to make a paste. Like the above recipe, massage the mixture onto damp skin. This recipe is great for soothing swollen, red, or inflamed skin.
Click here to read my article about blackhead extraction tools.