Confused About Microdermabrasion

Really confused about all the information seen on microdermabrasion. A person tried some do it themselves products (like Olay's)--and they help a little at first, but think they really need an in-office procedure. They have some sun damage and a few acne scars. What types of professional microdermabrasion give the best results? Are some just good and others better? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 4

What microdermabrasion can do

Microdermabrasion is a manual exfoliation of the skin. The in-office treatments also use a mild vacuum effect to stimulate collagen remodeling. At-home kits are limited to a very light exfoliation of the surfface layers. They will make your skin feel a little smoother for a little while. The in-office treatments will give you better results. The strength of the treatment can be increased with more passes of the handpiece over the skin, more pressure with each pass, and more vacuum pressure.

For acne you probably need the stronger treatment that the in-office microdermabrasion gives you. However, microdermabrasion may not help your sun damage, if you have brown spots or discoloration. To treat sun damage, you may need laser or pulsed light treatments and/or chemical peels.

Fractional resurfacing may be helpful to you to treat both your acne scars and your sun damage. This treats a fraction of the skin at a time in very tiny columns. There are several types of fractional resurfacing. Some have very little downtime but require 4 treatments to see results, and some have more downtime but you need fewer treatments to see results.

You should have a discussion with your doctor about your particular concerns, and all of the options that are available to you.

Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

You need more than a microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasions are nice to maintain your complexion but do very little to improve it long term. One of the best microdermabrasion machines is the Vibraderm. It is painless and effective and costs around $150/ session. These are done every week for a month then once a month to maintain results.

With acne scars you need either a real dermabrasion to sand the scars or other scar revisions such as punch grafting or subcisions. For sundamage, lasers or chemical peels do just fine but usually require several sessions and can give long term results that microdermabrasions can't give. Costs run about $3500-5000 for a face dermabrasion. Costs for chemical peels run about $175-350 for each of several light chem peel with almost no down time and about $1000-1500 for a medium peel with a 1 week down time.

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Microdermabrasion for New Skin

Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that uses a spray of microcrystals to remove the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells and reveal younger, healthier-looking skin. It is a process that uses a handheld device that sucks up dead skin cells from the top layer of your face allowing newer skin cells to come to the surface. Treatments vary per person and depend on the type of results you are looking for.

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

There are different levels of microdermabrasion

Regardless of the equipment used, many different levels of microdermabrasion can result depending on the pressure applied and how many passes the provider utilizes. Aestheticians do light microdermabrasions for exfoliation which provides a temporary smoothness and glow of the skin. For acne scars, only a physician can provide good results as there needs to be a deeper injury to effect an improvement in the depth of the scars. There is rawness with this level that doesn’t occur when the more superficial microdermabrasion is done. It also takes two to three days to heal and it is done as a series of many treatments. The Fraxel laser does very well for this and there is less down time, but also is done many times.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.