Discover what microdermabrasion is, its risks and benefits, and how it can help control acne.
Looking for a way to control mild acne without breaking the bank? Searching for a way to get rid of closed comedones, and remove blemishes and fine lines?
Well, sounds like microdermabrasion can be perfect for you!
A gentle and quick procedure, microdermabrasion is a treatment you can actually do by yourself. It’s also readily available in most salons, if you prefer having it done with an expert. Regardless, you’ll find it easy to reap this treatment’s benefits in no time!
Want to know more about using microdermabrasion for acne? Read on to learn more about the procedure and its benefits.
What is Microdermabrasion?
To start, let’s first discuss what exactly is microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a handheld device to gently exfoliate the skin’s top layer, the stratum corneum.
Through sloughing off the skin’s top layer, microdermabrasion triggers the body’s wound-healing mechanism as a response. This stimulates the production of collagen—a protein essential in skin formation.
There are two kinds of microdermabrasion: crystal and diamond microdermabrasion. In crystal dermabrasion, fine crystals of aluminum oxide are sprayed onto the skin at a high speed to effectively exfoliate the skin. At the same time, an attached vacuum is also used to suck away dirt and dead skin.
Diamond microdermabrasion, meanwhile, uses a handpiece with a diamond tip instead. This allows the user to control the depth of exfoliation by varying the applied pressure. As such, this method is perfect for areas with thinner or more sensitive skin, such as the skin around the eyes.
Both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion renew and rejuvenate the skin, thus, addressing issues such as rough skin and skin dullness. Additionally, they improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and acne scarring. They can even reverse sun damage!
Although these may sound aggressive, microdermabrasion is actually a quick and painless procedure. It typically takes only 30 minutes for the face, and 20 minutes for the neck. It’s also easily available—most salons offer microdermabrasion services or you can even purchase microdermabrasion kits that can be used at home.
Can Microdermabrasion Help with Acne?
Microdermabrasion is great for those suffering from mild acne and/or blackheads.
Acne forms when the hair follicle becomes blocked, usually by dead skin cells or excess sebum. But, microdermabrasion can minimize the risk of these two pore clogging factors.
Through exfoliation and suction, microdermabrasion removes the dead skin cells that can block hair follicles. This significantly reduces risk of inducing an acne breakout. What’s more, diamond microdermabrasion has also been proven to help reduce sebum production. With oil production and dead skin cells kept to a minimum, microdermabrasion helps the skin become less susceptible to acne breakouts.
It’s important to note, however, that microdermabrasion is only a viable option for those suffering from mild acne. Unfortunately, those with active acne – specifically moderate to severe acne – should stay clear of this treatment.
Having active acne means that various types of acne are present in the skin: whiteheads, blackheads, and even inflamed papules and pustules.
Microdermabrasion involves exfoliation. This may irritate the skin, making active acne worse and even increasing healing time. In addition, microdermabrasion treatments may inadvertently pop existing pustules, prompting acne-causing bacteria to spread and inflame other clogged follicles.
Instead, people with active acne can look at topical treatments to help control active acne. There are also light and laser treatments that are proven to work against moderate to severe acne. A board-certified dermatologist can also point you towards the right treatment for controlling active acne.
Other Benefits of Microdermabrasion
According to 2019 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, microdermabrasion costs an average of $136 per session. This makes it a cheaper alternative to laser treatments, which can reach up to ten times the price.
Additionally, cheaper microdermabrasion kits are available in the market. These are affordable alternatives to microdermabrasion sessions done with an expert. However, these may also take longer to show results, as they’re not as strong as microdermabrasion sessions done by experts.
While at-home microdermabrasion kits are relatively safe to use, practice caution when using one. This is because you run the risk of exfoliating deeper than necessary. It’s also best to ensure that you’re a good candidate for microdermabrasion–some skin types may get aggravated by the procedure.
Microdermabrasion is a relatively safe procedure. It’s safe enough, in fact, that you can do it yourself in the comfort of your home. It’s also painless, with no need for topical anesthesia pre-procedure.
In addition, microdermabrasion has a quick recovery time. The skin may look visibly red immediately after the procedure, but the redness normally goes away within the day.
Microdermabrasion stimulates the skin’s wound healing response to form a new epidermis. This means it can help reduce blemishes and sunspots, as new skin replaces the old.
Microdermabrasion has also been shown to help slow down melanin production, thus reducing hyperpigmentation.
Melanin is a protein present in the skin, which is responsible for giving it its natural pigment. As a response to sun damage and other factors, the skin may overproduce melanin at certain areas, causing hyperpigmentation.
Increased levels of collagen and elastin
As we age, collagen and elastin production decline. This makes the skin less firm and more prone to wrinkles and fine lines.
However, microdermabrasion helps with this problem through boosting the skin’s collagen production. This helps the skin regain the elasticity it initially lost, smoothing out wrinkles and making them less visible.
It’s important to note, though, that this may only work on superficial fine lines. Since microdermabrasion doesn’t penetrate deeply into the skin, it isn’t enough to treat deeper wrinkles.
Improved effectiveness of other skincare products
Microdermabrasion has been proven to help increase skin permeability, enabling it to absorb topical products more readily. Because the stratum corneum serves as the principal barrier that prevents products from entering the skin, exfoliating it via microdermabrasion allows topical products to penetrate more deeply into the skin. This ensures you get the most from your topical skincare products post-microdermabrasion.
However, for all the benefits that microdermabrasion poses, it’s still not a treatment that everyone can take.
When Should I Avoid Microdermabrasion?
Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by skin redness, and a burning feeling when using water or skincare products. Because rosacea makes the skin more sensitive, it’s recommended to avoid anything that may irritate the skin. This includes microdermabrasion—a form of exfoliation which can exacerbate skin sensitivity.
Eczema, rash, or open wounds
Microdermabrasion isn’t recommended for open wounds, as this can cause inflammation, and even lead to infections. The same is true with eczema. Scratching eczema wounds alone can already irritate the skin. Needless to say, exfoliation may aggravate the condition and lead to inflammation as well.
Using topical retinoids
Retinoids can already be irritating to the skin, causing drying, flaking, and sometimes a burning sensation. So, adding microdermabrasion to the equation may cause the skin more harm. Undergoing microdermabrasion while using topical retinoids may irritate the skin and make it more susceptible to inflammation.
Since microdermabrasion involves exfoliating the skin, sufficient care must be taken post-treatment to prevent side effects and maximize results.
Here’s what to do:
Microdermabrasion makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight and more prone to sun damage. Hence, it’s important to stay out of the sun as your skin recovers. If you absolutely must go out, remember to use adequate sun protection.
The AAD recommends at least SPF30 for protection against the sun’s UVB rays. A “broad spectrum” or “PA++++” label also assures you strong protection from the sun’s UVA rays.
Don’t pick at dry, flaky skin
Microdermabrasion can sometimes cause some parts of the skin to dry and flake. If this happens, remember not to pick at the area. Doing so may irritate the skin, or even create small lesions in the area.
Gentle skincare routine and avoid exfoliation
Microdermabrasion is already an exfoliating treatment in itself. Therefore, exfoliating after undergoing the procedure risks irritating the skin. With the outer skin layer only recovering, harsh products can also penetrate the skin more easily. This may end up damaging it or leading to overexfoliation.
Instead, stick with a gentle skincare routine consisting of a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen until your skin completely heals.
To answer our main question, microdermabrasion can be good for people struggling with mild acne and other skin concerns. On top of that, it poses many benefits for other skin types, too! However, as with other procedures, sufficient caution must be taken before and after treatment to prevent risks and maximize its benefits. We hope we’ve shed enough light on the treatment to help you decide if it can be a good option for you.
Think microdermabrasion can be the next treatment for you? Let us know what you think in the comments!