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How Does Microdermabrasion Work & What Are The Different Types?

How Do Microdermabrasion Machines Work

Microdermabrasion is the process of using tiny crystals to exfoliate the skin and then drawing out debris and impurities with suction. It uses no chemicals and is not invasive. The procedure removes the dead and dry outer layer of the skin’s surface to reveal fresh, healthy skin underneath. It rejuvenates the surface, resulting in a brighter complexion.

It works in two parts. Firstly, a machine utilizes tiny crystals to gently exfoliate the surface of your skin to remove the dead skin cells, while a vacuum sucks the removed skin cells and debris away.

Microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin types and colors and will not cause scarring or color changes. It is a less aggressive procedure than traditional dermabrasion and has a quicker recovery time, but can still achieve great results and won’t require needles or medications to numb the skin.

Microdermabrasion has been used to treat a number of conditions by dermatologists for years and became a popular salon treatment in the 1990s. Now there are many kits available for home use that enable you to get great results in your own home and without the hefty price tag. It is also a lot safer than other cosmetic skin procedures.

Microdermabrasion works by using one of two methods – either swiping a crystal/diamond-tipped wand across your skin, or firing highly pressurized crystals against the skin surface to rejuvenate and brighten the skin. The latter type is generally only available in salons and dermatologist’s offices. This gently but vigorously exfoliates the top layer of the skin surface, removing impurities and the dead layer of skin. At the same time, a built-in vacuum will suck out the dead skin cells and impurities, leaving your skin brighter and clearer.

Microdermabrasion is non-invasive and will not require medications or numbing agents in preparation. It should not hurt and has been described as feeling like a cat is licking the skin. Unless the microdermabrasion treatment includes a skincare product, there are no chemicals involved.

How Does A Microdermabrasion Machine Work?

A microdermabrasion device has two functions. Firstly, the machine will gently exfoliate your skin. This can be done by different methods. Some microdermabrasion techniques use a high-pressure flow of very small crystals at the skin. These crystals can be made up of a number of substances, the most common of which is aluminum oxide, but others can include magnesium oxide, sodium chloride and even diamond!

Another method, which is common in at-home microdermabrasion machines, is to exfoliate using a diamond or crystal-tipped wand which you draw across your skin. The tip of the wand is solid, so there are no crystals being fired around, meaning it is easier to keep clean. As suggested by its name, diamond is often used for the exfoliation surface, although other minerals can also be used.

The second function of the microdermabrasion machine is to remove the dead skin cells that have been exfoliated away by the crystals. This is done by a built-in vacuum which sucks away the dead cells. In most microdermabrasion devices, you can adjust the suction pressure to suit your sensitivity.

Some microdermabrasion machines also have a third feature which is to apply a skin care product which complements the microdermabrasion and enhances the results you can achieve by using it.

Benefits Of Microdermabrasion

Benefits Of Microdermabrasion

As well as clearing away the dead skin cells, microdermabrasion also has other advantages.


The process can improve blood and lymphatic circulation deep within the skin, which can improve the internal health of the skin. The enhanced blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients are supplied to the cells. This improves cell processes and therefore enhances the skin, improving elasticity.

Enhances Product Efficacy

By removing the dead skin and promoting circulation, microdermabrasion has been shown to enhance the absorption of skincare products by the skin by up to 50%. This means that if you are treating your skin for acne, the skin will be more receptive to the product, so it can have better results than it normally would.

Pore Size And Health

Microdermabrasion can not only unclog pores but also reduces the size of them. While to a certain extent we are born with a certain pore size, some external factors can enlarge them. Pores may enlarge due to hygiene, inflammation of the skin or as a result of being clogged. Microdermabrasion can help clear the blockage and by improving the circulation of the skin can reduce inflammation and improve natural skin hygiene.


Many people now choose microdermabrasion over other treatments options like laser procedures and chemical peels because it is safer and still achieves great results. It is one of the safest cosmetic procedures you can have done and does not require medications or a long recovery time. You can even do it yourself at home, or in your lunch break!

Range Of Uses

Microdermabrasion has been used for multiple skin conditions. These include acne, acne scarring, age spots, dull skin, fine lines, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Does Microdermabrasion Hurt?

No, microdermabrasion should not hurt. It may feel a little uncomfortable during the treatment, and your skin will likely feel tight for a few hours after, but it should not be painful. It is one of the softest, non-invasive skin treatments available today and can achieve great results. If you have very sensitive skin prone to bruising you may notice some bruising if the suction is set too high, but this will not last long.

Is Microdermabrasion Painful

Skincare Uses For Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is most commonly used on the face, however, it can be used in most areas of the body. These are some of the common conditions which microdermabrasion is used to treat:


Microdermabrasion facials can reduce acne by clearing away dead skin cells and impurities that can block pores and lead to inflammation and spots. The improved circulation also gives more nutrients and oxygen to the cells, encouraging a faster turnover. It also stimulates collagen productions to make the appearance of the skin softer and more supple. It can be particularly successful for the reduction of blackheads. The top of the blackhead can be removed by the exfoliation while the suction from the vacuum can remove the remaining hardened oil. This can ultimately reduce pore size because they are no longer clogged with matter that is holding them open.

Acne Scars

Microdermabrasion can also be a solution for people who would like to reduce the appearance of their scars that have accumulated due to acne. This is most successful on more superficial scars, which may benefit from enhanced healing due to the improved circulation and promotion of collagen production.

Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles can benefit greatly from microdermabrasion, particularly due to the natural promotion of collagen production. Collagen stimulates the skin renewal process but sadly decreases with age, so giving it a helpful boost can help reduce the appearance and delay the formation of fine line and wrinkles that are the results of repetitive expressions and sun damage.


Microdermabrasion can help reduce the appearance of many different types of scars, for example, those caused by acne as mentioned above, surgery or accidents. While scars may take more treatments by microdermabrasion to get desired effects than other conditions, it can result in substantial improvement without pain or long recovery times that other treatments may need.

Scars are often irregular in shape and the skin surrounding them can have superficial, increased pigmentation which may make the scar more obvious. Microdermabrasion can work around the irregular edges of scars and even lesson the appearance of the hyperpigmentation. The skin also benefits from improved circulation which promotes healing and from the stimulation of collagen production. Scars can be treated as early as 8 weeks from the initial scarring, but it is important to leave enough time in between treatments to let the skin recover. Studies have shown that significant improvements in scarring can be apparent three months after treatment is begun.


Stretch marks are scars which begin right down in the dermis layer of the skin. This makes them difficult to treat, however, microdermabrasion has been found to help in a number of ways at reducing the appearance of stretch marks. It promotes the production of collagen and elastin, which help to keep the skin supple and the circulation which brings nutrients and promotes skin healing. This can prevent stretch marks from getting worse. It also makes skincare products more effective by increasing the depth of penetration the products can achieve. By using microdermabrasion alongside topical products, the stretch marks may fade.

Uneven Pigmentation

Microdermabrasion can lighten the appearance of areas of hyperpigmentation. It can also benefit from the improved cell turnover which replaces damaged cells, reducing the incidence of hyperpigmentation, as well as boosting the collagen within the cells to even the skin tone.

Microdermabrasion Anti Aging

Microdermabrasion Results:

Depending on your reason for using microdermabrasion, you may even notice results after your first treatment. This is particularly the case when being used to brighten the skin or remove blackheads. Other conditions, however, will require more sessions before you are able to notice its effects. Often between 5 and 8 treatments are suggested for the best results, with deeper scarring requiring more. Occasionally to maintain the good results you may need a top-up treatment, but in some cases you only need to treat small areas, not the whole area you treated initially.

How Often Will I Need To Have Microdermabrasion?

In salons, microdermabrasion is often performed as a series of between 6 and 10 sessions, often spaced out by a week or two. If you are treating yourself at home, it is best to use a treatment plan to achieve best results which may include weekly sessions. After the initial sessions, you may find you need an occasional maintenance treatment to top up and continue the good condition of the skin. This may be done monthly or less.

A great benefit of microdermabrasion is how quick it is. Depending on the area, a single session may be as quick as five minutes long or may take up to an hour. It is both cost-effective and time-efficient.

Microdermabrasion Side Effects

After your microdermabrasion procedure, your skin may feel tight and dry and may remain slightly pink for 24 hours. Simply treat this like sunburn and don’t put makeup on the skin for a day. In addition, make sure you keep the skin moisturized and wear adequate sun protection, minimizing the time your skin is exposed to the sun.

There is a small risk of irritation to the eyes if you use the crystal-stream method and the crystals get in. Other than that, however, there are no side effects. Plus, eye irritation can be prevented by wearing suitable eye protection during your treatment.

It is important to realize that after microdermabrasion your skin will be dry and will be more sensitive to the sun. To easily prevent associated complications, apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer to soothe and hydrate your skin after your treatment. You will also need to apply adequate sun protection for a few days following your microdermabrasion.

What Does Microdermabrasion Cost?

Microdermabrasion facials can be very expensive, with an example of a popular New York salon charging $300 for a 50-minute microdermabrasion facial. As with many cosmetic treatments, having multiple treatments over time is beneficial, which can make this a very costly course of treatment.

At Home Microdermabrasion Kits

There are now hundreds of microdermabrasion kits available for at-home use. These can be very effective and can be bought for a fraction of the cost of even a single salon microdermabrasion treatment. Plus, you can treat yourself in the comfort of your own home. These kits are small and portable so that you can take them away with you.

With at-home microdermabrasion kits, if you need a top-up treatment you don’t need to wait for an appointment or pay vast amounts when you only need a small area to be treated. Plus, if you are concerned about the hygiene then you know it will only be used on you. There are many benefits to at-home microdermabrasion kits. To find out more and see reviews on some of the top microdermabrasion kits, click here.

Is Microdermabrasion Expensive

Reasons You Should Try Microdermabrasion:

  • Can be done at home with great results
  • Can improve the efficacy of skin products
  • Fast
  • Hardly any possible side effects or complications
  • No needles
  • Painless
  • Quick recovery time
  • Safe alternative to chemical peels and other treatments
  • Suitable for everyone
  • Very effective on several skin conditions

How Long Has Microdermabrasion Been Around?

There are distant origins of microdermabrasion that go back as far as Ancient Egyptians. This practice was more similar to modern-day dermabrasion techniques. Ancient Egyptian doctors would use sandpaper to soften the appearance of scars.

Modern microdermabrasion was established in Italy when a collection device would gather the discarded cells which could otherwise be inhaled by practitioners. It also tackled some of the issues that were found with regular dermabrasion techniques, such as the pain caused, and improved the effectiveness. It gained popularity and is today still renowned for its safety, effectiveness and minimal recovery time.


  1. Roamy

    Well explained and most of the questions one could have answered, really appreciate you sharing this.
    Still was wondering, with the home microdermabrasion I have heard/read about how often should one use to get results close to as good as professional? I mean I don`t expect home/DIY microdermabrasion to be as good but it should give some results. I`m asking because there is really no salon that offers microdermabrasion where I live so if I`m going to have one, it will have to be a DIY.

  2. Marina

    Hello, I have microdermabrasion machine and diamond tips are 100, 150 and 200. I would like to know which ones are less abrasive? Is 100 more abrasive? What is the difference between the numbers.
    I am new to this.

    Thank you

  3. Catherine Chung

    Good morning,

    I would like to buy a home microdermabraison machine. Which type of machine and brand is most efficient that you recommend? I am new to it and I will be greatful for your advice.

    Thank you.

    Catherine C.

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