Is microdermabrasion painful?

Microdermabrasion is a skin resurfacing procedure, aiming to exfoliate the dead skin cells, remove the accumulated dirt, makeup residue, and various particles, clogging the facial pores. According to most people, this is an absolutely painless process. Those with more sensitive skin type may experience a slight discomfort, caused by the abrasion of the crystal or diamond tip.

During the procedure, you will experience a warming sensation – this results due to the contact of the microdermabrasion trip and your skin. This is like having a facial massage, which will additionally boost your blood circulation and open your pores.

Thankfully, unlike chemical peels and other skincare procedures, this one is not painful at all, respectively, you won’t need anesthesia.

After completing the microdermabrasion session, the treatment areas will be more sensitive, this is why you should carefully protect them from the ultraviolet rays and all the potential environmental irritants. Applying moisturizing agents (creams, lotions, ointments etc.) is also recommended, as the skin cell hydration stimulate the regeneration process.

Reddit u/magadrac posted photos of his improvements after the 6th microdermabrasion session:

before and after a microdermabrasion session
Source: Reddit

Due to the intense exfoliation process, the skin may be pink within the next few hours right after the procedure, but it will then regain its’ natural color.

The main conception behind microdermabrasion is to mechanically exfoliate the outermost layer of dead skin cells (the stratum corneum). Most devices provide vacuum/suction feature, which removes them, leaving your skin feeling and looking softer and rejuvenated. This way, you basically ‘deprive’ your skin from the dead cells, covering the healthy ones, and make it quickly replace them with new, healthy ones. Additionally, you will notice that your skin became lighter after the procedure. This is due to the fact that microdermabrasion in one of the most effective methods for eliminating dark spots or uneven pigmentation.

Note that the best home  microdermabrasion machines are usually less aggressive, compared to the professional ones, used by aestheticians in beauty salons. However, over-exfoliating the skin may become the factor making the procedure painful. If microdermabrasion is performed more often than it was recommended (each device comes with a product manual, which indicates how often it should be used, depending on the power used) it may irritate, even inflame the skin.

Like any other skincare procedure, overdoing is not good. Overusing a microdermabrasion device may lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation of the skin. This leads to the overproduction of melanin in the skin cells, which results in darkened skin spots with different shapes and sizes – something you should try to avoid.

Patients, suffering from severe acne should avoid microdermabrasion, as it will additionally irritate the (already irritated) skin. Such procedure will only spread the bacteria, while the tip passes through the skin. Basically, if you have pus-filled cystic acne, the first thing you need to do is to eliminate the initial problem. This usually requires a course of corticosteroid or hormone treatment.

Another thing to remember is that microdermabrasion sessions may provoke a cold sores flare-up if you already have the herpes virus infection. Cold sores may be triggered by the propulsion mechanism of microdermabrasion devices, so the best you can do in order to avoid a potential infection is to make sure your immune system is in a good shape right before performing the procedure. The oral intake of antiviral pills before the microdermabrasion session may be needed.

Is a microdermabrasion procedure painful?
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Is a microdermabrasion procedure painful?
According to most people, this is an absolutely painless process. Those with more sensitive skin type may experience a slight discomfort, caused by the abrasion of the crystal or diamond tip.
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About the author

Monika Hristova

Monika is the Editor-in-Chief at SkinPractice. She is a skin care addict and researcher, who feels strongly about helping people with different dermatology conditions from alopecia to warts.

You can read her recommendations and advice both here at SkinPractice or at Quora where she answers skincare-related questions frequently and is the most viewed author in the Skincare category with more than 3 million views or follow her on LinkedIn.

She is also a certified skin care specialist with certification from the Medical College in Sofia.

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