Microdermabrasion is a skin treatment that is getting more attention than ever. While it is safe and non-invasive, it should be done in moderation so as not to cause skin irritation. So how often should you have a microdermabrasion session?
You can try microdermabrasion as often as once a week if your skin tolerates it well. Once you’re happy with the results, you can have maintenance microdermabrasion every four to six weeks.
In this article, I will explain in detail how often you should receive microdermabrasion treatments, as well as the side effects and the recovery downtime. Read on to learn more!
How Many Sessions Does Microdermabrasion Take To See Results?
Microdermabrasion is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that uses a tool to remove the outer layer of skin, promoting skin rejuvenation. It is used to improve the appearance of age spots and other skin conditions such as:
- Uneven skin tone
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Large pores and blackheads
- Acne and acne scars
- Sun damage
- Melasma and hyperpigmentation
- Stretch marks
- Dull complexion
Microdermabrasion generally takes six to twelve weekly sessions to see dramatic results. Since skin regenerates every month, it’s recommended to have a maintenance microdermabrasion session every four to six weeks.
Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of skin, revealing fresh glowing skin which is more sensitive to UV rays. It’s, therefore, important to wear good sunscreen after you’ve had microdermabrasion.
How often you have microdermabrasion depends on your skin concern. I’ll explain below how microdermabrasion frequency is impacted by the skin concern you’re trying to address.
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How Microdermabrasion Helps Skin
Evens Skin Tone
A study in 2010 revealed that microdermabrasion effectively addresses skin contour irregularities, including uneven skin tone.
Common causes of uneven skin tone include:
- Sun damage
- Unexfoliated skin
- Hormonal issues
If you have uneven skin tone, it’s usually in the superficial skin layers, and you may see a drastic improvement after only one or two microdermabrasion sessions.
To prevent further issues with uneven skin tone, your esthetician might recommend monthly maintenance microdermabrasion treatments.
Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
If you’ve noticed that you’re starting to develop a few fine lines, now is an excellent time to soften or eliminate them with microdermabrasion. Since fine lines are not deep-seated, microdermabrasion can be effective after a cycle of treatments.
Having monthly maintenance microdermabrasion can help prevent fine lines. The procedure stimulates blood flow to the face and increases collagen production, which plumps up the skin.
Unfortunately, microdermabrasion can’t eliminate deeper wrinkles or sagging.
Large Pores and Blackheads Appear Smaller
Blackheads are caused by excess sebum in the skin and large pores. One cycle of microdermabrasion treatments can help shrink your large pores and prevent future blackheads.
If you’d like to prevent blackheads and large pores on an ongoing basis, it’s best to have monthly microdermabrasion.
Reduces the Appearance of Acne and Acne Scars
Microdermabrasion does an excellent job of softening the appearance of scars and redness from acne. It won’t eradicate acne or acne scars, but one to two series of treatments can make a drastic difference.
You might consider having monthly maintenance microdermabrasion treatments if you regularly have breakouts.
Helps Heal Sun Damage
Minor sun damage normally only affects the top skin layer, making microdermabrasion an ideal treatment. In such cases, you may only need one to two treatments.
However, if you have more severe sun damage, deeper layers of the skin will be damaged, and you may need a few cycles of treatment to notice a difference.
Fights Melasma and Hyperpigmentation
Melasma appears as dark spots or freckles on the skin. It usually happens if you’re pregnant, aging, sunburned, or have thyroid disease.
Luckily, melasma is easy to treat, and most patients see a noticeable difference after one to two treatment cycles.
People with hyperpigmentation or freckles normally have pale skin, which darkens in patches when it’s exposed to the sun. Hyperpigmentation is notoriously stubborn, and you may need several microdermabrasion cycles to see a difference.
If you’re having treatment for sun-triggered hyperpigmentation or melasma, it’s essential to wear a high UV-resistant sunscreen to ensure that the results last.
Reduces appearance of Stretch Marks
If you’ve recently lost weight or are pregnant, you have stretch marks. Microdermabrasion usually doesn’t remove stretch marks entirely, but since the procedure stimulates collagen and elastin, it can help tighten the skin and soften the look of stretch marks.
Brightens a Dull Complexion
The most straightforward condition to treat with microdermabrasion is a dull complexion. A dull complexion is often due to excess dry skin or not exfoliating enough and is a superficial condition.
You’ll likely see a huge difference after only one microdermabrasion session if you have a dull complexion. After you’ve resolved your dull complexion problem, you might consider having microdermabrasion once a month to prevent it in the future.
You may also want to consider alternating microdermabrasion with dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is gentle, can be done inexpensively at home and leaves you with amazingly smooth skin. Find out more here in my article comparing microdermabrasion and dermaplaning.
Microdermabrasion Side Effects and Recovery
There is no need for a recovery time for microdermabrasion because it is a non-invasive procedure.
After a session, your skin may feel dry and feel tight, almost like a windburn or a sunburn. This sensation will likely last only a day or two.
Other side effects may include:
- Skin swelling
- Sensitivity to sunlight
Makeup should be avoided for 24 hours after a microdermabrasion session. It would help if you also used moisturizers and sunscreens while avoiding sun exposure as much as possible for at least three days after the procedure.
Unfortunately, many side effects can occur if you receive too many treatments in a short amount of time or are too rough on your skin. These side effects include:
- Dry and cracked skin
If you’re interested in comparing microdermabrasion to other skincare treatments, I’ve written some articles comparing your options. Check out these options to decide which one is going to be best for your particular skincare goals:
When Should You Have Microdermabrasion Less Often?
Microdermabrasion is generally safe and well-tolerated. But when should you have it less often?
You should have microdermabrasion less often if you have sensitive skin or usually recover slower after skin treatments. You shouldn’t have microderabrasion if you’ve taken isotretinoin, an acne drug, in the past six months.
Microdermabrasion is also not recommended if you have eczema or dermatitis.
Difference Between Professional Microdermabrasion and At-Home Treatment
As discussed, microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that can be done in-office with a professional or at-home by yourself. It is simple and involves two different methods, three if you include exfoliation scrubs:
- A special applicator: This method involves sanding away the outer layer of skin.
- A spray: This method involves spraying fine particles of aluminum oxide or sodium bicarbonate onto the skin. Suction is used to create the spray. Unfortunately, this method is a little more dangerous than the others, given that the spray can get in your eyes.
- An exfoliator: A microdermabrasion exfoliating scrub can be used at home to achieve the same effect of a procedure done professionally in an office.
Are you weighing the pros and cons of a stronger, in-office microdermabrasion treatment and an at-home one? Here’s how they differ:
Depending on the client’s skin conditions, just one professional microdermabrasion session might cost between $100 and $250.
Due to their affordability, microdermabrasion home kits are a popular alternative to professional treatments. The Neutrogena Microdermabrasion Start Kit from Amazon.com helps address acne, wrinkles, and dark spots. It costs less than $20, making it significantly cheaper than having it done professionally.
Most at-home microdermabrasion kits don’t involve suction or vacuum devices. Instead, they use loofahs or buffing sponges to remove the exfoliator.
Unlike professional tools, these aren’t medical-grade devices, so many estheticians don’t believe that at-home kits can perform microdermabrasion effectively. However, there is one popular suction device that you can get at Ulta or Amazon, the PMD Classic Microdermabrasion Machine.
Before starting the microdermabrasion procedure, your esthetician will probably ask you to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health, allergies, and medication you’re taking. This helps to ensure that the treatment is performed safely.
At-home kits don’t involve a pre-treatment evaluation, giving you no assurance that you won’t have an allergic reaction.
Instead of using crystals to exfoliate the skin, at-home kits have gritty and abrasive creams or gels. If you’re not a trained esthetician, it’s easy to rub too hard and damage your skin.
In contrast, a trained professional performs an in-office procedure, and understands how to apply the products to your skin safely.
Is Microdermabrasion safe for sensitive skin?
At-home kits are generally “one-size-fits-all” products and may not be suitable for your skin concern.
However, with in-office microdermabrasion, your esthetician can adjust the treatment according to your skin type or concern.
For example, if you have hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone, your esthetician may use a product containing Vitamin C to fade dark spots and promote an even tone.
Final Thoughts on How Often You Should Do Microdermabrasion
When it comes to microdermabrasion, it’s clear that more is not necessarily better. Over exfoliating your skin can not only cause damage but will also leave your skin looking red, dry and possibly swollen.
Keep your microdermabrasion sessions to one every 4 to 6 weeks and you should be OK. As always, you know you’re skin best so trust your instincts.