• Overview

    Microdermabrasion: Overview

    Microdermabrasion: This non-invasive procedure gently exfoliates the skin to diminish signs of aging.

    Do you ever look in the mirror and wish that your face had a more even skin tone? If you answered yes, you may want to consider microdermabrasion. This non-invasive treatment gently exfoliates your skin. After a series of treatments, your complexion can appear smoother, brighter, and more even in color. 

    The microdermabrasion that a dermatologist performs differs from the one that you can do at home with a kit. A dermatologist treatment goes a bit deeper into the skin. Still, the procedure is safe for all skin colors.

    Microdermabrasion appeals to many patients. They like that they can see more youthful skin without having downtime. 

    • Dull complexion.
    • Uneven skin tone or texture.
    • Age spots.
    • Dark spots that can appear when acne starts to clear.
    • Melasma.


    Dermatologists also use microdermabrasion to improve the results gained from using anti-aging products and skin-bleaching products. Microdermabrasion allows these products to penetrate the skin more easily. 

    Insurance coverage: Insurance does not cover treatment that reduces signs of aging or only improves a person’s appearance. 

  • FAQs

    Microdermabrasion: FAQs

    Microdermabrasion is very popular. To help you decide if it is right for you, the AAD offers the following information. 


    Although microdermabrasion is a gentle, non-invasive treatment, you should see a dermatologist before getting this treatment at a spa or using an at-home microdermabrasion kit if you:

    • Have a mole or other spot on your skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way. This spot could be a skin cancer.
    • Are taking (or have taken) the acne medicine, isotretinoin, which is prescribed to treat severe acne. If you have taken this medicine within the past 6 months, you have a higher risk for complications, including scarring. You may need to wait before having microdermabrasion.
    • Scar easily.


    What happens during microdermabrasion?

    The dermatologist uses a handheld device that gently removes the top layer of skin. You may feel a sanding sensation, but this is not painful. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to treat the entire face and about 20 minutes to treat the neck. 

    After the treatment, a moisturizer is applied. 

    What will I need to do after microdermabrasion? 
    You may need to apply a moisturizer or other skin care product at home.

    You will be given a skin-care plan that includes sun protection. Protecting your skin form the sun helps ensure the best possible results and reduces the risk of side effects.

    Is there downtime?

    You will not have downtime or a recovery period. Some patients’ skin turns pink or red. The skin can swell a bit. These side effects are similar to having a sunburn or windburn for a day or two. During this time, some patients feel uncomfortable returning to work or being in public. 

    When will I see results from microdermabrasion?

    Most patients need a series of treatments to see results. To treat signs of aging, a dermatologist may treat a patient weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. Most patients receive between 5 and 16 treatments. 

    After a series of treatments, patients usually say they have smoother skin and a more-radiant complexion. 

    How long will the results last? 

    The results tend to be temporary. Patients who protect their skin from the sun and follow the recommended skin-care plan will maintain their results for a longer time. Yet, no matter what we do, our skin continues to age. Follow-up treatments are usually necessary to help retain smoother skin and a more radiant complexion. 

    What are the possible side effects?

    After microdermabrasion, your treated skin may be pink or red and slightly swollen. This tends to disappear within a day.

    In some cases, the skin can bruise, burn, sting, or become extremely sensitive to sunlight. These will go away without treatment.

    If your skin tends to develop dark spots after acne clears or a skin injury heals, you may have a greater risk of developing more dark spots. When microdermabrasion is performed by a dermatologist, this risk is minor. 

    When can I safely get another treatment?

    Microdermabrasion treats only the top layer of the skin, so the skin recovers quickly. Most people can safely have another treatment a week later. Some patients, however, need several weeks to recover.

    What is the safety record for microdermabrasion?

    When performed by a dermatologist, microdermabrasion has an excellent safety record. 

    Microdermabrasion also is performed in salons and non-medical spas. You can reduce your risk for side effects by having microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist.

  • Preparation

    Microdermabrasion: Preparation

    To protect your health and find out what results you want, a dermatologist always offers a consultation before performing microdermabrasion. To help you get the most benefit from this consultation, you should:

    • Ask questions.
    • Gather important information before your consultation.


    This page tells you what to ask and what to gather before having microdermabrasion.

    Questions to ask before having microdermabrasion

    Asking questions will help you know what to expect so that you can make an informed decision.

    Before having microdermabrasion, the AAD recommends that you ask the following questions:

    • Who will perform the microdermabrasion?
    • What results can I expect?
    • How many treatments will I need to get these results?
    • What are the potential side effects?
    • Do I have a higher risk for any side effects?
    • May I see before-and-after photos or speak with patients who have been treated with microdermabrasion?
    • How much will the treatment cost?


    During the consultation, your dermatologist will examine your skin. This helps to determine whether microdermabrasion can diminish the signs of aging that concern you. You may learn that another cosmetic treatment is more appropriate.

    If microdermabrasion is appropriate, your dermatologist will tell you what you can expect. 

    Vital information to tell your dermatologist

    Before having microdermabrasion, you should tell your dermatologist about all your medical conditions and medicines that you take. It is especially important for your dermatologist to know if you have: 

    • Cold sores breakouts.
    • Skin that scars easily.
    • Taken isotretinoin, a medicine prescribed to treat severe acne.


    When your dermatologist asks about your medications, be sure to tell your dermatologist about all medicines that you take, even ones that do not require a prescription. Be sure to mention all vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies.