Microdermabrasion is one of the most versatile cosmetic treatments ever developed. This skin resurfacing treatment can correct hyperpigmentation, skin roughness, acne scarring and even acne. Yet, sometimes a funny thing happens with microdermabrasion- you end up with more acne.
This pimple upheaval does not have to happen. With a little planning, you can select the right microdermabrasion therapy for your skin type and tremendously reduce your chances of experiencing post-microdermabrasion acne.
1. Match the microdermabrasion treatment grade to your skin type
The first step of getting a microdermabrasion treatment is deciding what type of treatment you need. Here is a general grading system for selecting your microdermabrasion treatment:
The greater your skin’s oil level, and the larger your pores, the greater degree of microdermabrasion you can withstand. Likewise, if you have smooth skin, with relatively small pores and minimal oil secretion, you will want a milder form of microdermabrasion that uses less pressure.
If you are applying the microdermabrasion treatment yourself, adjust the level of pressure you apply to your skin based on your skin’s pore size and your skin’s oil secretion level.
2. Prepare your skin to remove comedones
A primary function of microdermabrasion is to remove the upper layers of the skin in order to reveal a fresher, less blemished dermis. As microdermabrasion removes the upper layers of the skin, it also disturbs and exposes comedones. Comedones are round plugs of hardened or crystallized oils, fat and cellular waste trapped in the pores. Under the right circumstances, comedones can become inflamed and evolve into acne lesions.
If you have comedones in the skin, you either can remove them via extraction, or allow daily skin shedding to bring the comedone to the surface of the skin. Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive way to encourage comedones to rise to the surface of the skin faster and it does not involve puncturing the skin to remove the trapped waste.
Before having a microdermabrasion treatment, it is easy to test your skin’s level of comedones. Smooth your hand over you skin and feel small bumps beneath your skin. These bumps represent potential comedones. With repeated microdermabrasion treatments, these comedones will rise to the surface of the skin where they may just flake off or fall away from the skin.
If you do have comedones, space your microdermabrasion treatments at least three days apart to give your skin time to calm down after each treatment and minimize comedone irritation.
3. Take care of your skin after the microdermabrasion treatment
After a microdermabrasion treatment, you drastically change the ecology of your skin’s surface. You remove bacteria, oils and skin cells whose primary job is guarding against microbial attacks and environmental elements like ultraviolet radiation.
This makes protecting your skin after microdermabrasion a must. The first thing you need is a moisturizer to apply to the skin after the microdermabrasion treatment. The moisturizer should not contain any extraneous acids like glycolic or retinol because your skin is most likely slightly inflamed and sensitive after a microdermabrasion treatment.
Use a moisturizer designed for sensitive skin like Eucerin. This moisturizer is affordable, does not clog pores, comes with a sunscreen and is available at most drug stores.
Next, make sure to use a sunscreen after your microdermabrasion treatment to mitigate sun sensitivities. Sun sensitivity can also cause the skin to develop small bumps as an immune response to solar exposure. If needed, wear a hat to shield your skin from the sun after a microdermabrasion treatment.
Avoiding unwanted zits after your microdermabrasion treatment is just a matter of planning and post-treatment skin protection. If you properly prepare for skin resurfacing and adjust your microdermabrasion grade and treatment times based on the condition of your skin, you will keep your pimple count to a minimum.
González-Serva, Aldo &George Kroumpouzos. Demonstration of Polarizable Crystals in Fresh Comedonal Extracts: Sebum Crystallizes. Acta Dermato-Venereologica; November 2004, vol 84, no 6, pp 418-421.
Lloyd, Jenifer R. The Use of Microdermabrasion for Acne: A Pilot Study. Dermatologic Surgery; April 2001, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 329-331.
Shim, Elisabeth K; David Barnette, Kathi Hughes & Hubert T Greenway. Microdermabrasion: A Clinical and Histopathologic Study. Dermatologic Surgery; June 2001, vol 27, no 6, pp 524-530.