Microdermabrasion for Acne

Microdermabrasion is a superficial exfoliation that effectively reduces superficial hyper-pigmentation. The procedure is different from dermabrasion that is used to smooth superficial acne scars by removing top skin layers. When dermabrasion was first used, sandpaper was the tool used to remove damaged skin. Now, there are electrical machines that have taken its place. These abrade the skin using a rough wire brush or a wheel with a motorized handle that has a burr filled with diamond particles.

How to use microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion uses a hand-held vacuum tube-like device with aluminum oxide crystals that remove surface skin. The crystals are blasted on to the skin. The crystals gently ‘polish’ the surface of the skin – called abrading. This is followed by a vacuuming process that removes the surface skin.   The process is similar to a vacuum cleaner and sucks out the dead skin cells and crystals. Microdermabrasion first cleans the surface of the skin and then sloughs off dead skin cells. These cells block pores and cause acne. After the procedure is over, aluminum oxide is sprayed on the skin to remove any residual dead skin cells. 

The results of microdermabrasion for acne scars are similar to chemical peels. This procedure takes only a few minutes and you require at least 6 sittings every 1-2 weeks for the best results. A mild redness will show after the treatment. 

Types of microdermabrasion

There are 2 types of microdermabrasion for acne – home treatment and treatment from a professional. Home treatment can be done using creams that contain rough particles – e.g. granulated pumice. Using these creams on the skin helps in exfoliation and does not abrade entire layers.

Microdermabrasion treatment using machinery is done by an esthetician who is a person trained in specific cosmetology procedures. The equipment contains a closed-air system inside which is circulating small crystals that gently pelt the skin. This wears out the outer layers of the skin. Another more powerful machine that is used by physicians or dermatologists, that exposes deeper layers of the skin and it is meant for deeper acne scars. 

Before and After Microdermabrasion

If you are undergoing microdermabrasion by a professional, they will usually describe the procedure to you. They will also examine the severity of acne and the number of sittings you might require.


After microdermabrasion, the skin will feel tight, pink and dry (like sun or wind burnt skin) for a day. Moisturizers can be used to soothe the skin. Your cosmetologist will tell you some types of makeup you need to avoid. 

Benefits of microdermabrasion

This non-invasive procedure does not require any anesthesia and no lengthy recovery time. The results are evident after one treatment and improve with every sitting. The number of sittings of microdermabrasion for acne depends on the severity of scarring. There is no pigment changes or scarring with microdermabrasion such that those caused by dermabrasion or chemical peels. 

Precautions of Microdermabrasion

The only possible side effect of microdermabrasion is that crystals could get into the eyes if they are unprotected and cause irritation. Hence, adequately protect your eyes before a session.   Be careful when using home microdermabrasion treatment. If it is not done properly, it can cause acne to flare up and worsen your complexion.


Microdermabrasion for acne works well when used with other acne treatments. If you find your current treatment plan not working, you can ask your dermatologist about new treatments like microdermabrasion. Yet, keep your expectations realistic for acne can only be controlled and not cured.   Microdermabrasion is popular because you get quick results, it is a relatively safe procedure and less traumatic.