Microdermabrasion, or microderm, is a popular method for reducing the appearance of shallow acne scars and general skin imperfections. It is often performed in a spa or medical practice, though kits for home-based microdermabrasion are available. Choosing the best type of microdermabrasion for acne scars depends on the type of scars being treated, how much money you want to spend, and other health conditions that could be affected.
Acne scars come in a few variations and not all respond equally or even at all to microdermabrasion. Macular scarring, or flat but pigmented scarring, benefits from microdermabrasion, as do hypertrophic, or raised, acne scars. Microdermabrasion for acne scars is less beneficial for sunken, or atrophic scars, though this can depend on how deep they are. A person may have a combination of all of these kinds of scarring.
In some cases, patients may want to use microdermabrasion for acne scars in conjunction with other procedures, such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Other types will require a more invasive and surgical treatment, so having the procedure done in a spa or medical facility likely is best. Microdermabrasion works only on the external layer of the skin, so scars that have penetrated below this barrier will be unresponsive to treatments.
Kits for home-based use are available for those who want to use microdermabrasion for acne scars without leaving home. They are convenient and less costly, but they also have a tendency to be less effective. They are suitable for those who want to speed up the fading process of pigmented acne scars or smooth extremely light scarring. There are a variety of kits available, so it’s important to choose one specifically for skin resurfacing, which can more closely mimic the results obtained from professionals.
The microdermabrasion device used by a spa technician or dermatologist works two ways. It softly sandblasts the outermost layer of the skin with microscopic crystals and then vacuums the used crystals and exfoliated skin cells to reveal a fresher, newer layer of skin. Though usually done on the face, any skin area can be treated. By gently abrading away the damaged cells, the skin is forced to regenerate by stimulating the production of collagen and pushing newer, healthier skin cells to the surface.
People with sensitive skin may want to consider treatments using a diamond-tip microdermabrasion device, which is a more natural mineral than traditionally used aluminum oxide or sodium bicarbonate micro-crystals and, therefore, less likely to irritate. Diamond tips may also be more suitable for those with allergies. Crystal microdermabrasion produces a lot of dust, and particles that may get into mouths, noses and eyes can stir allergy symptoms.
When using microdermabrasion for acne scars, it often is done in a series of treatments over the course of a few weeks or a few months, allowing the newest layer of skin to heal before the next treatment. This process gradually smoothes the surface of the skin with each succession and eventually reduces the texture of superficial acne scars. There is hardly any downtime, with the exception of slight stinging and redness for a few hours after the procedure.