Main content

What is Microdermabrasion & Aftercare Tips

Microdermabrasion provides rich exfoliation to improve the skin's texture. Discover the benefits of microdermabrasion & how to maintain results. Learn more.


Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive clinical procedure for the skin involving manual exfoliation of the outermost layer of the epidermis. While many people may be familiar with this procedure by name, this article will act as an informative guide to microdermabrasion, including the benefits, possible side effects and general aftercare recommendations.

Microdermabrasion is not a service provided by SkinCeuticals, however, we do provide some skincare suggestions for a SkinCeuticals post-procedure regime for sensitised skin.




Microdermabrasion involves manually exfoliating and suctioning the facial skin using a wand-like device. The exact method of manual exfoliation depends on whether your skin clinic uses a traditional or newer microdermabrasion method, although both methods are effective.

The traditional method uses tiny crystals made from sterile aluminium oxide. A flow of these crystals is sprayed towards the skin for a polishing effect before being vacuumed away. The crystals help remove the outermost layer of the epidermis, as well as impurities and surface level congestion such as blackheads. Variable flow suction is used to provide tailored intensity on different areas of the face. 

More recently, clinics have also embraced the use of microdermabrasion wands with a circular diamond tip. The function is largely the same as with crystal microdermabrasion, however the spray of crystals is replaced with the diamond head moving quickly back and forth over the skin. Because there is no spraying action, diamond tip microdermabrasion can be used to target areas closer to the eyes than the traditional method allows. 

Microdermabrasion is often billed as a ‘lunch break’ cosmetic procedure due to its non-invasive nature, relatively short duration and minimal recovery time. Whilst a microdermabrasion procedure generally last for around 30 minutes, there are after-effects that require an integrated skincare routine. 




Understanding the physical process is one element of this procedure, but what does microdermabrasion do? Microdermabrasion can provide a wide range of skin benefits. In addition to the general benefit of brightening the complexion, microdermabrasion can help minimise the appearance of visible signs of ageing, acne-prone skin and stretch marks. 

For people experiencing signs of ageing, microdermabrasion can reduce the appearance of fine lines, some wrinkles and age-related dark spots. Overall uneven skin texture and tone can also be visibly improved after microdermabrasion, as can discolouration caused by sun exposure. 

Microdermabrasion also provides benefits for people with acne-prone skin. The manual exfoliation effect of microdermabrasion can remove blackheads and surface level blemishes and help prevent future congestion. Additionally, microdermabrasion can also help minimise the appearance of mild to moderate acne scarring.




Since microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure, the preparation required is minimal. However, for optimal results you may wish to avoid tanning or waxing the targeted area for a week prior to your appointment. A few days before the appointment, avoid other cosmetic procedures and chemical exfoliants. For more personalised advice, speak to your microdermabrasion expert. 




The recovery period for microdermabrasion usually lasts only a few days, however the side effects can cause some mild discomfort and visible changes. Immediately after a microdermabrasion procedure, there may be mild to moderate swelling, redness and sunburn like symptoms. Increased skin sensitivity is normal after microdermabrasion, as is increased photosensitivity. 

Microdermabrasion is suitable for most skin types, however those with very sensitive skin or acne-prone skin should always consult a medical professional before undertaking microdermabrasion.




Considering the possible side effects, it’s pertinent to know how to care for skin after microdermabrasion. Complementing any aesthetic procedure with manageable lifestyle adjustments and appropriate skincare is essential. Following these simple recommendations for proper aftercare to enable optimal results.


Avoiding any exercise or physical activity that might cause the skin to flush is important in the first 24 hours after a microdermabrasion procedure to avoid discomfort.


Microdermabrasion works to remove dull surface level skin. Focus on staying hydrated in the few days following the procedure to optimise results.


Just as with exercise, exposing the skin to hot water, salt water or chlorinated water can result in flushing. Avoid this potential discomfort post-microdermabrasion by delaying exposure to hot water and swimming.


SkinCeuticals recommends applying a sunscreen such as our Ultra Facial Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ frequently all year round, however increased photosensitivity makes this especially important to implement after microdermabrasion. 





In terms of what to use after microdermabrasion, keep skincare gentle and free of harsh ingredients and chemical exfoliants. Microdermabrasion can cause increase sensitivity, so opt for a very gentle cleanser and hydrating moisturiser targeted towards sensitive skin. 

SkinCeuticals recommends our Soothing Cleanser, which is formulated with glycerin for sensitive, or post-procedure skin. Gently massage one pump of cleanser into the skin with a light circular motion twice daily, before rinsing thoroughly with room temperature or lukewarm (not hot) water. 

For moisturiser, SkinCeuticals recommends applying our Emollience cream twice daily. This cream is enriched with three nutrient-rich algae extracts to intensely hydrate sensitive feeling and post-procedure skin. Gently pat onto skin as required.

If you’re questioning whether microdermabrasion is suited to your skin type or skin concerns, we recommend consulting a microdermabrasion expert. Our SkinCeuticals skincare professional are also available to tailor a personalised aftercare plan. Always consult with your Local Clinic for individual at-home advice. 


Find a skincare professional near you

Find Now


Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device