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Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure used to renew overall skin tone and texture. It can improve the appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, acne scarring, melasma, and other skin-related concerns and conditions. The procedure uses a special applicator with an abrasive surface to gently sand away the thick outer layer of the skin to rejuvenate it. A different microdermabrasion technique sprays fine particles of aluminum oxide or sodium bicarbonate with a vacuum/suction to accomplish the same outcome as the abrasive surface. Microdermabrasion is considered a safe procedure for most skin types and colors. People might choose to get the procedure if they have the following skin concerns:
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • hyper pigmentation, age spots and brown spots
  • enlarged pores and blackheads
  • acne and acne scars
  • stretch marks
  • dull-looking skin complexion
  • uneven skin tone and texture
  • sun damage
Microdermabrasion is a popular technique used in the treatment of several skin problems, including acne, acne scarring, striae distensae, and photoaging. This article will review the relevant literature and use an evidence-based approach to evaluate the clinical efficacy of microdermabrasion in skin care. In summary, microdermabrasion appears to be a procedure that can produce changes in dermal matrix constituents and result in improvement in skin contour irregularities. It may also be beneficial in improving trans epidermal delivery of certain medications. Its role in the treatment of dyschromia’s and acne vulgaris is limited.
Microdermabrasion is a general term for the application of tiny rough grains to buff away the surface layer of skin . Many different products and treatments use this method, including medical procedures, salon treatments and creams and scrubs that you apply yourself at home. It’s usually done to the face, chest, neck, arms or hands. Before we can understand how microdermabrasion does what it does, it’s important to understand how skin works.
Your skin is made up of two main layers, the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the layer closest to the outside world. It’s a set of dead skin cells on top of another layer of cells that are in the process of maturing. The topmost layer is called the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum mostly acts as a barrier between the outside world and the lower skin layers. It keeps all but the smallest molecules from getting through.
When you put lotions or creams on your skin, some of the moisture passes through the stratum coronium, but not all of it. This layer is home to many minor skin imperfections like fine wrinkle line and blemishes.
All of the action in microdermabrasion takes place at the level of the stratum coronium. Since it only really targets the epidermis (and not the dermis), it is more accurate to call it micro-epi-dermabrasion. Affecting deeper layers of skin would be painful and harmful, and it would risk permanently embedding the tiny grains into the skin.

Microdermabrasion Effects

Whether done with a product at home or in a professional setting with a specialized tool, the principle of microdermabrasion is the same. The idea is that if you remove or break up the stratum coronium, the body interprets that as a mild injury and rushes to replace the lost skin cells with new and healthy ones. In the first hour after treatment, this causes mild edema (swelling) and erythema (redness). Depending on the individual, these side effects can last anywhere from an hour to two days.
This process has a few beneficial effects. With the stratum corneum gone, the skin’s surface is improved. The healing process brings with it newer skin cells that look and feel smoother. Some of the skin’s visible imperfections, like sun damage , blemishes and fine lines, are removed. Also, without the stratum corneum acting as a barrier, medicinal creams and lotions are more effective because more of their active ingredients and moisture can find their way down to the lower layers of skin. As microdermabrasion temporarily removes some moisture from the skin, it is always followed by the application of moisturizing creams.
Early studies suggest that repeated microdermabrasion treatment at regular intervals may influence the way the lower layers of skin grow, as well, removing deeper blemishes over time. Some evidence seems to indicate that the rapid loss of skin moisture may be what triggers the lower skin layers to work overtime in speeding healthy cells up to the surface.