Microdermabrasion has been around for years. While in some cases it’s been superseded by newer methods of exfoliation, it still has a place, as long as it’s performed safely to avoid damaging the skin. 

What is microdermabrasion, and how does it work? 

Microdermabrasion is really a form of physical exfoliation. Microdermabrasion devices mechanically remove the top layers of the skin, stimulating cell turnover and revealing healthier skin underneath. Microdermabrasion devices can be crystal-based, where crystals are propelled at the skin, or crystal-free where a diamond handpiece is applied directly to the skin to buff away skin cells. In both cases, vacuum suction is used to remove dead skin cells at the same time.

What conditions are microdermabrasion used for? 

Microdermabrasion is used for uneven pigmentation, acne scarring, photoaging, enlarged pores, and to improve the penetration of active skincare ingredients. Sometimes it’s performed prior to a chemical peel, to increase how effective the peel is. By removing dead skin cells on the top of the skin’s surface, it can lead to a brighter, smoother complexion. Effects are usually subtle, and multiple treatments are often required. 

Are there any risks of microdermabrasion? 

Care must be taken to avoid damaging the skin. Risks include hyperpigmentation and damage to tiny blood vessels, causing redness.

Shah M, Crane JS. Microdermabrasion. . In: StatPearls . Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535383/

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Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…