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
  • hyperpigmentation, age spots and brown spots
  • enlarged pores and blackheads
  • acne and acne scars
  • stretch marks
  • dull-looking skin complexion
  • uneven skin tone and texture
  • melasma
  • sun damage
How much does microdermabrasion cost?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average cost of a microdermabrasion procedure was $137 in 2017. The total cost will depend on your provider’s fees, as well as your geographic location.

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure. Medical insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost.

Microdermabrasion Benefits and Uses

Microdermabrasion is safe for almost everyone, doesn’t require anesthesia, and has shown promising results in clinical studies.

By removing cells from your outermost layer of skin, microdermabrasion promotes new cells to regenerate more quickly than they would ordinarily. The result is skin that looks firmer, more toned, and more youthful.

But the benefits of microdermabrasion are somewhat limited, and it won’t work for everyone the same way. This article will explore the potential benefits of microdermabrasion.

Targeted areas

Microdermabrasion is typically used on these areas:

  • face, including neck, jawline, cheekbones, or forehead
  • upper thighs
  • buttocks
  • hips
  • abdomen and waistline

There’s also a full-body microdermabrasion treatment that targets all of the above and more, avoiding areas where your skin is thin or irregular, such as your ears, feet, and hands.

Uses and benefits

Microdermabrasion has been found as an effective treatment for:

Microdermabrasion may require repeated treatment sessions for you to see desired results. The amount of time you spend getting the treatment can vary depending on its purpose and your expectations.

Reduce lines, wrinkles, and dull-looking skin

One of the most common reasons people use microdermabrasion is to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that can happen from natural aging, stress, and sun damage or photoaging.

One small studyTrusted Source in 2006 showed that women who had the treatment once a week for a period of six weeks experienced increased brightness and decreased yellowness at the site of microdermabrasion. They also noticed a decrease in the visibility of their wrinkles.

While microdermabrasion works well for some people, your experience may vary. The location of your wrinkles and the amount of treatments you receive will determine how effective results will be. Following a skin care routine that includes a moisturizer and a toner may improve your results.

Treat age spots and uneven pigmentation

Some people try microdermabrasion for treatment of hyperpigmentation. This can refer to melasma, or any type of aging spots or darker patches on your skin.

In a 2012 study,Trusted Source women who were given a combination of microdermabrasion and laser therapy experienced significant improvement in the tone of their skin.

It’s likely you’ll need more than just microdermabrasion treatments to see results for hyperpigmentation. Topical vitamin C and laser therapy are some complementary treatment recommendations with microdermabrasion. The good news is, you might need as few as two treatments to notice a difference.

Microdermabrasion isn’t recommended if you have an active breakout of acne or irritated skin, which includes blackheads. But if you get blackheads often, the treatment may be a way to shrink your pores.

Microdermabrasion is recommended by some dermatologists as a treatment for improving your skin’s conditioning and making pores less visible.

An aesthetician experienced with microdermabrasion* or a dermatologist can help you decide on a treatment plan.

Microdermabrasion* won’t work on an active breakout — in fact, it could aggravate your symptoms and make the breakout last longer. But microdermabrasion*, according to a study from 2001Trusted Source, may have a positive effect on acne, depending on what triggers your acne.

It’s also been demonstratedTrusted Source as effective for decreasing the visibility of acne scars. Keep in mind that microdermabrasion* won’t be able to erase deep acne scars.

On the other hand, microdermabrasion doesn’t require anesthesia or any recovery time. This makes it an ideal treatment for some people with acne scars that may want to avoid more intense treatments.

Fade stretch marks

Microdermabrasion* is at least as effective as other popular topical treatments, including tretinoin cream, for the treatment of stretch marks.

Microdermabrasion encourages cell turnover, which can speed your skin’s ability to healing. That could be why the treatment is especially effective when stretch marks first appear.

How does microdermabrasion work?

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that exfoliates your skin cells. This process is performed by a skin care professional using a special microdermabrasion device.

Over 700,000 microdermabrasion treatments were performed in the United States in 2017. There are two main microdermabrasion* techniques:

  • Crystal microdermabrasion. This method involves tiny particles being directed at your face through a wand.
  • Diamond-tip microdermabrasion. This involves an applicator that makes direct contact with your skin as it exfoliates.

Both techniques work by loosening and removing dead skin cells to reveal younger-looking cells.

Finding a practitioner

Microdermabrasion works effectively for several skin conditions. One of the most important things to consider is choosing the right practitioner.

Skin care specialists under the supervision of a healthcare providers, such as the ones you would find at a day spa, are sometimes the most affordable way to get this treatment.

If you have specific skin concerns, a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist may have more medical understanding of the procedure’s risks and limitations.

Ask questions of your professional before the procedure about their experience and knowledge of the treatment.

Remember, this treatment isn’t typically covered by insurance, so you may want to check on cost before scheduling an appointment. Databases such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons are helpful for matching potential consumers with licensed and experienced professionals.

Preparing for microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure. There’s very little you need to do to prepare for it.

It a good idea to discuss your skin concerns with a skin care professional to find out if microdermabrasion* is the right fit for you. Discuss any past cosmetic procedures and surgeries, as well as allergies and medical conditions.

You may be told to avoid sun exposure, tanning creams, and waxing for about a week before treatment. You may also be advised to stop using exfoliating creams and masks approximately three days prior to treatment.

Remove any makeup and cleanse your face before the procedure begins.

How does microdermabrasion* work?

Microdermabrasion is an in-office procedure that usually takes about one hour. It’s typically performed by a licensed skincare professional, who may or may not be under the supervision of a healthcare provider. This depends on what state you live in.

It’s not necessary to use anesthesia or a numbing agent for microdermabrasion*.

During your appointment, you’ll be seated in a reclining chair. Your provider will use a handheld device to gently spray on the particles or sand away the outer layer of skin in the targeted areas. At the end of the treatment, a moisturizer as well as sunscreen will be applied to your skin.

Microdermabrasion was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996. Since then, hundreds of microdermabrasion devices have been produced.

There are a few different ways to do the procedure, based on the specific device used:

Diamond-tip handpiece

diamond-tip handpiece is designed to gently exfoliate dead cells in your skin. At the same time, it will suction them off immediately.

The depth of the abrasion may be affected by the pressure applied on the handpiece as well as how long the suction is allowed to remain on the skin. This type of microdermabrasion applicator is generally used in more sensitive facial areas, like close to the eyes.

Crystal microdermabrasion

Crystal microdermabrasion* uses a crystal-emitting handpiece to gently spray on fine crystals to rub away outer layers of the skin. Like the diamond-tip handpiece, dead skin cells are suctioned off right away.

The different types of crystals that may be used include aluminum oxide and sodium bicarbonate.


Hydradermabrasion is a newer method. It involves combining simultaneous dermal infusion of products and crystal-free exfoliation. The entire process stimulates collagen production and maximizes blood flow to your skin.