Risks Associated With Microderm Abrasion Skin Resurfacing

Microdermabrasion may be one of the most popular non-surgical skin resurfacing procedures but it's not completely free of risks or contraindications (no cosmetic treatment is completely safe; if there were such a treatment, everyone would only have that). This is the complete list of side effects associated with microderm abrasion (some experienced by people I know myself).

One thing you cannot ignore is your medical history. It gives you useful clues as to which procedures suit you and which don't. Fortunately, there was nothing major in my medical history to prevent me from having microabrasion but I had to see a doctor first to get the all-clear.

Contraindications Of Microdermabarasion

Can I have microdermabrasion if... is a common question I get, particularly for three conditions:

With both teenagers and pregnant or nursing women, hormones can inhibit or change the effects of microderma abrasion. It's best to wait until the hormones settle down before having it.

The third condition I often get asked about:

I understand that you want to get rid of your acne scars as soon as possible, now that Accutane has cleared your breakouts, but doing so may cause serious damage to your skin. Accutane increases skin sensitivity which is why you should wait 6-12 months before having ANY skin resurfacing technique, not just micro derma abrasion. The same applies to recent laser surgery.

Most doctors also agree that micro dermabrasion is not recommended to keratosis sufferers, people with undiagnosed lesions, active rosacea or acne (although people with mild acne have seen good results), weeping acne (stages 3 to 4), diabetes, auto-immune disorders, fragile capillaries, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis or lupus. Microderm also has no visible on active herpes lesions or malignant skin tumors (warts).

Usually, the best microdermabrasion candidates are those with acne-prone skin or blotchy skin, fine scars, rhytides, enlarged pores, milia, sebaceous hyperplasia and those with sun-damaged skin.

What Are The Side Effects Of Micro Derma Abrasion?

There is only one, though minor, risk associated with microdermabrasion: tampering with the skin's color balance (in other words, you may get dark or light patches from micro dermabrasion). It's important to remember that scarring and pigmentary changes are common complications for other skin rejuvenation techniques, like laser resurfacing, dermal abrasion and chemical peels.

The reason the risk is so small with microderm abrasion is because it's a very gentle procedure. It only removes the top layer of skin (which is formed only of dead skin cells), leaving the live tissue underneath intact. However, it's a well known fact that people with darker skin (Type IV, V and VI on the Fitzpatrick Scale -- see below) are more prone to pigment problems and while the risk of micro dermabrasion tampering with the pigmentary equilibrium is very small (smallest of all rejuvenation procedures) with darker skin types, it's still there.

Fitzpatrick Skin Scale The Fitzpatrick Scale helps dermatologists predict how our skin might react to different cosmetic procedures and tell which techniques are best suited for it. For example, a Fitzpatrick Type I person will respond better to laser resurfacing for wrinkle removal than a Type IV.

What Are The Risks Associated With Microderm?

The general consensus is that micro dermabration is not a risky procedure but just like earthquakes can happen, there are things that could go wrong during or after microderma abrasion.

  1. When the microdermabrasion machine is not properly handled or has not been properly sterilized, it can result in hyperpigmentation, skin injuries or infections (extremely rare, but possible).
  2. It's also possible to inhale micro crystals from the microderm machines used during the procedure. Aluminum oxide crystals, however, (the most common abrasive agent used in micro dermabrasion) cause no allergic or adverse reactions. They are neither toxic nor non-carcinogenic. Ingesting micro crystals in extremely large quantities, however, can cause respiratory problems - but so would dust - (extremely unlikely, but possible).
  3. A few years back, I read about people having eye problems after stray crystals from microbrasion machines found their way into the eyes during treatment. These days, however, all plastic surgeries, spas and beauty salons offer special eye protection (plastic or rubber goggles) during microderm abrasion.
  4. I have increased sun sensitivity, flaking and redness after micro dermabrasion and some people also see temporary discoloration in the skin. These are fairly common reactions but not if they persist.

Next, home microdermabrasion kits help eliminate most of the problems mentioned above, though at the expense of effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Olay Regenerist Micro Dermal Abrasion Work?

A: The Over The Counter microdermabrasia product from Olay Regenerist works for some people and doesn't work for others. There are many satisfied consumers who say that Olay Regenerist product does make their skin look younger and feel smother. However, there are some unhappy consumers who say the kit is either too aggressive, causing them skin irritations and break-outs, or not very effective in removing fine scars and wrinkles. The only way to find out if the product works for you is to try to get a free sample and test the formula on your face.

Q: How Is Micro Derma Abrasion Different From Glycolic Acid?

A: Glycolic acid is used as a light chemical peel. It removes the uppermost layer of skin. Light chemical peels and microdermabrasia are both non-invasive procedures that can also be performed at-home with special consumer kits. Neither has any major risks or side-effects and both have limited effectiveness. They can help diminish or even remove superficial scarring and wrinkles, age spots, stretch marks and uneven skin texture. For deeper skin imperfections, you may need a more invasive procedure.

Q: How Safe Is Having Micro Derma Brasion If I Have Psoriasis?

A: Psoriasis patients should not have microdermabrasions This procedures is somewhat invasive to the skin (any skin rejuvenation treatment is to some extent) and can worsen their condition. This applies to home microdermabrasion as well, despite its mild effect.

Q: Microabrasion Is It Recommended On Blackheads?

A: By exfoliating the top layer of the skin, microderma abrasion machines clean deep into the pore and removes excess oil and dirt that clog pores - which causes blackheads. Most blackheads are removed while more stubborn blackheads are reduced.

Q: What Are The Results Of Microderm Abrasion?

A: According to thousands of online testimonials, spa microdemabrasion works on fine skin imperfections. But like with most non-surgical techniques, the effects depend on your medical condition, your body's ability to recover and on who does the procedure. Most people who have tried micro abrasion say the procedure was effective in diminishing acne scars, age spots, fine lines, enlarged pores, red marks, stretch marks and dull skin More severe skin imperfections cannot be improved with this non-invasive technique, because it only sandblasts the top layer of the skin, not being able to reach deeper layers of skin.

Q: What Qualifications Do You Need For Micro Dermabrasion?

A: Microdermal abrasion machines can only be operated by people with specific theoretical and practical training. Since this procedure is still relatively new, regulations regarding microbrasion certification vary from state to state. Generally speaking, for a person to perform professional in-office micro derma abrasion. one needs to conclude a supervised 14 to 30 hour training and pass a practical exam with the institution offering the course. This institution can be a large spa, a vocational school, a dermatology clinic, a beauty academy or a device manufacturer.

Q: Does Microabrasion Make Surgical Scars Even Themselves Out?

A: Microdermibrasion evens out skin texture and helps remove superficial surgical scars. More severe surgical scarring needs more advanced non-surgical techniques, like a deep chemical peel or laser face rejuvenation.

Q: Is Microbrasion Recommended After Accutane (Isotretinoin)?

A: Microdermasion is not recommended for patients taking Accutane. This acne treatment works by reducing the amount of oil produced by the skin's sebaceous glands which reduces the skin's ability to recover after body or facial exfoliation. Having microderm abrasions while on Accutane may cause permanent scarring. This applies to self systems and office treatment.

Q: Does Microbrasion Help If I Have Asian Skin?

A: Professional microdermabrasian tool is appropriate for all skin colors (including Asian skin ) because this procedure sandblasts only the outermost skin layer which is made of dead skin cells. There's no damage to live tissue which could cause scarring or severe irritation. The exfoliation process involved in specialist microdermabration helps the skin renew itself quicker and more effectively.

Q: How Can Microdermabrasion Make Tattoos Less Noticeable?

A: Microderm works by sandblasting the outermost skin layer but cannot abrade deeper skin layers where tattooed skin cells are which is why it cannot remove tattoos. Tatoo removal needs laser or surgical procedures which are invasive enough to reach pigmented skin cells.