Microdermabrasion involves the process of gently smoothing away the top layer of skin with a diamond-tipped wand. The wand contains microscopic aluminum oxide crystals that target the top skin layer to reveal the fresh under layer. The procedure is generally safe but should be performed by a salon consultant unless you have effectively performed the procedure before. Like any skin treatment, there are side effects that you should be aware of before undertaking the procedure.
One of the most common side effects of microdermabrasion is redness of the skin or treated area. This is caused by the treatment; as the crystals begin to rub away at the skin and remove dead particles, the skin can become irritated and red. The redness can be worse in people who have existing skin problems with acne. Acne bumps or open sores may become more irritated and reddened after the procedure. Areas with acne that is cystic or weeping with blood, pus or fluid should be avoided and treatment revisited once the skin has healed. If the microdermabrasion is being used to treat common acne, purging can occur. This is where the pores open up in response to treatment and can cause the acne to temporarily get worse. As the skin repairs itself, the acne outbreak should also resolve within a week. Rarely, redness is caused from an allergic reaction or sensitivity to the crystals or the friction of the treatment.
Visible Skin Concerns
Pigment changes are another side effect of microdermabrasion. This is generally found in those who have recently tanned skin or a dark skin tone. Because the microdermabrasion is revealing new skin, it may take on a pinkish or white hue that can be disturbing at first glance. This is only a temporary concern and the color generally returns to normal in about two to three days as the skin heals. Because of the treatment, one side effect may be dry and itchy skin. This is a direct result of the microdermabrasion and the skin becoming irritated and itchy from flaky skin particles.
Like any cosmetic procedure, there is a slight risk of infection after microdermabrasion. This can be caused from two things: the tool or dirty crystals. If the tool has not been sanitized or cleaned between each use, especially if it is used on multiple people, infection could spread. If the crystals have been left out and not sealed or have been reused for multiple treatments, they could become unsanitary. If you experience a yellow crust on your skin after a microdermabrasion session, infection could be setting in. Seek medical care immediately for an affirmative diagnosis.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Microdermabrasion
- Iranian Journal of Dermatology: The Effects of Different Intervals of Microdermabrasion Sessions on Skin Biophysical Parameters -- A Randomized, Assessor-Blind, Within-Patient Trial
- Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: Superficial Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion for Acne Vulgaris