The Benefits and Limits of Microdermabrasion

A microderrmabrasion treatment being performed.
small_frog/Getty Images

Microdermabrasion is a popular day spa treatment. But before having a microdermabrasion treatment done, it's good to know the results you can expect. It's also important to know what microdermabrasion can't do, so you'll have realistic expectations going into your treatment.

What It Can Do for Your Skin

Because it deeply exfoliates, microdermabrasion will improve the tone and texture of your skin. Even after just one treatment, you'll notice your skin feels smoother and your complexion looks brighter and healthier.

If you have a series of treatments done (which is what is recommended) you should notice your skin tone evening out. You may even see a softening of fine lines and superficial wrinkles. Microdermabrasion can also help fight sun damage.

Although microdermabrasion isn't recommended for those with severe or inflammatory acne, a series of treatments can help reduce the formation of comedones and improve mild acne. It can also help reduce oiliness and make large pores appear smaller.

For some people, microdermabrasion can help lighten post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or those dark acne marks left after a pimple has healed.

What It Cannot Do for Your Skin

Microdermabrasion isn't a miracle treatment, though, so there are certain things it just can't do for your skin. Better to know about it now, than after you've paid money for a series and you're disappointed.

First, know that microdermabrasion can't treat severe or cystic acne. During a microdermabrasion treatment, tiny crystals are sprayed across the skin and simultaneously vacuumed off. This process can irritate already inflamed acne, and leave it looking and feeling worse. Severe acne needs to be treated by a dermatologist, not at the salon.

Microdermabrasion won't improve acne scars, like boxcar or ice pick scarring. It can't be used to flatten hypertrophic or keloid scars, and can actually make them worse, in some instances. Instead of microdermabrasion, your dermatologist can perform acne scar treatments that will give you much better results than microdermabrasion ever could.

If you're using microdermabrasion as an anti-aging treatment, know that it will not completely eliminate lines and wrinkles, and it won't treat deep wrinkles. Another thing microdermabrasion can't do: tighten sagging skin.

Before You Book Your Treatment

Remember, you won't get all of the benefits of microdermabrasion with just one treatment. Although your skin will feel softer after the first treatment, you'll need several treatments to actually see improvement.

Talk to the technician who will be doing your procedure about what changes you're hoping to see in your skin. Your therapist will lay out an appropriate treatment plan for you, educate you on possible microdermabrasion side effects, and tell you what results you can expect from your microdermabrasion treatment.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shah M, Crane JS. MicrodermabrasionStatPearls. Jan 2019

  2. Kołodziejczak A, Wieczorek A, Rotsztejn H. The assessment of the effects of the combination of microdermabrasion and cavitation peeling in the therapy of seborrhoeic skin with visible symptoms of acne punctata. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2019;21(5):286-290. doi:10.1080/14764172.2018.1525751

  3. Kravvas G, Al-niaimi F. A systematic review of treatments for acne scarring. Part 1: Non-energy-based techniques. Scars Burn Heal. 2017;3:2059513117695312. doi:10.1177/2059513117695312

Additional Reading