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In the not-so-distant-past, professional dermabrasion was the only option for sanding away acne scars, pockmarks, scars from accidents, and signs of aging. Today, however, there’s microdermabrasion. Far gentler than dermabrasion, microdermabrasion requires no real recovery time, is safe for all skin tones and types, and leaves skin looking healthy and new almost immediately.
Best of all, there’s no doctor needed. Microdermabrasion can be done right in your own home with a microdermabrasion machine. While not as powerful as the microdermabrasion devices used by a dermatologist or esthetician, at-home machines are an excellent way to improve your skin.
If you’re considering buying one of these skin-changing machines, we’re here to help. At BestReviews, we never accept free products or perks from manufacturers in exchange for a good review. Instead, we do our own research, talk to experts in the field, and gather owner feedback. All so we can give you unbiased, honest shopping advice.
Ready to buy? Check out the matrix above for our favorite five microdermabrasion machines on the market. Want to learn more? Read on for everything you need to know about at-home skin resurfacing.
Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment that buffs away the very outer layer of skin cells. As these cells are already dead, there is no pain or bleeding. The layer of skin that is revealed underneath is healthy and glowing.
Dermabrasion, by contrast, removes a thicker layer of skin, and is only safely performed by a professional. Done in a dermatologist’s office, dermabrasion requires considerable recovery time and leaves skin sore, red, and unsightly during the healing phase.
Some of the best at-home microdermabrasion kits have adjustable suction power and multiple diamond tips for a more effective session.
Microdermabrasion done in a dermatologist’s office is a more aggressive procedure with more drastic results. But at-home machines can give a big effect, too. Skin benefits you can expect include:
Reduction of fine lines and minor wrinkles
Improvement in skin tone and glow
Fading of dark spots and blotches
Removal or improvement of minor scars, such as shallow acne scars
Elimination or reduction of enlarged or clogged pores
Increased collagen production for a more youthful appearance
Decrease in rough, dry patches
A fresher, healthier complexion
While your skin should look healthier after your very first microdermabrasion treatment, the best results come after several sessions spaced at least a week apart.
In general, there are two types of microdermabrasion machines: those that use a spray of very fine crystals and those that use very fine bits of diamond to exfoliate.
While both have their good and bad points, many estheticians prefer diamond-tip machines as they do a more effective job with less chance of skin irritation.
Having a portable machine means you can take your device on trips – great for weddings, family reunions, and vacations.
Many microdermabrasion machines have a small suction wand to suck away the loosened skin cells. The minimum suction is usually around 16 in/Hg, which is sufficient, but you’ll likely be happier with a unit that has a bit more power. Look for suction of 25 in/Hg or more.
Microdermabrasion machines can be intimidating at first. You’ll want a machine that is easy to hold, simple to use, and clear in its design and layout of controls.
Expect a bit of pinkness and slight sensitivity after a microdermabrasion session, but you shouldn’t experience pain, deep redness, or lingering discomfort.
If your machine has a suction wand, it will have small filters to catch the skin flakes. Extra filters make it easy to keep your machine in its best operating condition.
A machine that comes with an assortment of tips or disks is ideal. It’s nice to have a choice of exfoliating tips or disks, ranging from fine to coarse.
Some microdermabrasion kits have a bit of a learning curve. Take time to read the instructions carefully before applying anything to your skin. If it’s a quality product, it shouldn’t take too long for you to get the hang of the process.
Although home microdermabrasion is generally safe, it is possible to damage your skin if you aren’t careful during the process. While your dermabrasion machine will provide step-by-step instructions, the following tips will also help you get the optimum results.
Never treat areas of skin with open sores, irritations, rashes, large moles, sunburn, or deeply inflamed acne.
Don’t use your device within two weeks of waxing, tanning, or having a chemical peel on the skin to be exfoliated.
Before starting the procedure, wash your face (or other area to be treated) with a gentle, non-oily cleanser, then dry your skin thoroughly.
Remember that at-home microdermabrasion machines won’t provide the dramatic results of the professional machines used by your doctor or esthetician, but you’ll still enjoy many benefits and an improved complexion.
Until you have experience with your skin’s reaction to the treatment, it’s best to start with the most gentle disk or setting.
Gently pull your skin taut as you work, keeping the spinning disk or wand tip flat against your skin.
Don’t linger in any one area, and don’t run the microdermabrasion machine over the same spot more than twice in any one session.
Once you’ve finished the treatment, apply the toner and moisturizer that came with your machine, or use gentle, alcohol- and fragrance-free products of your choosing.
Avoid sun exposure for several days after your treatment.
Stay away from strong cleansers or cosmetic products and avoid sun exposure for several days after your microdermabrasion session.
When treating areas with fine lines or wrinkles, move your microdermabrasion machine in upward strokes. This reduces drag on your skin.
You can buy a simple microdermabrasion machine for $30 or so, or you can spend over $300 for a professional model with all the bells and whistles. As with so many things, however, the sweet spot for most people is somewhere in the middle.
Expect to spend around $100 to $150 for a dermabrasion machine that will leave your skin looking its best, be reasonably easy to use, and have most of the desirable features you’re looking for.
To put that price in context, you’d easily pay twice that amount at a spa or dermatologist’s office for a single microdermabrasion treatment.
Q. Is microdermabrasion safe?
A. Yes. For most people, if done correctly, microdermabrasion is a safe, gentle, and effective treatment for many skin conditions and a great way to improve the overall appearance of your complexion.
Q. Can I use my microdermabrasion machine on areas of my body other than my face?
A. Of course! Use your machine to smooth your arms, feet, knees, hips — wherever your skin could use a little extra care.
Q. How often can I treat my skin?
A. As a general rule, you should limit your microdermabrasion sessions to once per week or less.
Q. Is microdermabrasion suitable for any skin tone?
A. While dermabrasion carries a risk of discoloration or scarring for medium and dark skin tones, microdermabrasion is safe for any skin tone.
Q. Are there some people who should avoid microdermabrasion?
A. While most people are fine with this gentle treatment, it’s best to avoid microdermabrasion if you have any type of active skin infection, are pregnant, have unstable diabetes, or have an autoimmune disease.
Q. Is microdermabrasion effective for deep wrinkles, icepick acne scars, or pronounced facial scarring?
A. No, more serious or deeper skin imperfections require dermabrasion or other professional treatment.
Q. Is it safe to use a microdermabrasion machine if I have rosacea?
A. In general, yes. Microdermabrasion is safe for skin with mild rosacea and can help reduce the redness and roughness common with this condition. However, it’s best to get your doctor’s approval before starting treatment.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.