microdermabrasion for acne scars

Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars: Benefits, Side Effects, and Cost

Living with acne can be difficult, but for many people, the problems still exist even after the papules and pustules have disappeared. Acne leaves dark spots and scars on the skin and if a person has suffered from severe acne, the subsequent scars can be just as severe and stressful as the infection itself.

What Causes Pimple Marks?

The red or brown spots that remain after the buds are healed are caused by pigmentation and are known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation spots – post-inflammatory because they appear after the inflammation (bud) has gone.

The production of melanin, which is responsible for the complexion of the skin, is activated by sunlight. Our skin produces melanin to protect it from the sun, and it is melanin that usually gives the skin a healthy and radiant appearance.

When our skin is injured, as is the case with acne buds, an excessive amount of melanin can accumulate in one area. This excess melanin persists even after the lesion has healed and leaves a spot on the skin.

microdermabrasion for acne scars

Dark-skinned people are usually more affected by hyperpigmentation than light-skinned people because darker skin produces more melanin.

How will microdermabrasion affect pimple marks?

Microdermabrasion can be used to treat mild to moderate acne and acne scars. Microdermabrasion therapy can eliminate or significantly reduce the appearance of the post-inflammatory scars if they appeared on the superficial layer of the skin and are not located deeply in the dermal layer.

Such is the boxcar scars or deep skin damages, following skin picking and, unfortunately, microdermabrasion may not be able to provide the desired results. Deeper scars can be treated more effectively with dermabrasion or chemical peels but these methods require a prolonged recovery period.


Patients with mild to moderate active acne may also benefit from microdermabrasion procedures that will exfoliate the skin and deeply clean the pores from sebum accumulation and various impurities.

Thanks to the polishing effect of both crystal and diamond microdermabrasion the skin surface becomes smoother and the superficial layer, formed by the accumulation of dead skin cells, contaminants and sebum is removed. This kind of exfoliation stimulates the skin cell turnover – new collagen and elastin are being produced to replace the cells that were exfoliated during the procedure.

As a result, after 3-4 microdermabrasion sessions, patients can enjoy smoother skin tone and texture with less visible (if not completely removed) acne marks.

It is important to bear in mind that several procedures are required to obtain visible results from microdermabrasion. Conditions such as scarred skin or acne require persistence to achieve the most satisfactory effect.

It is a good idea to combine this therapy with a moisturizer to apply on your skin after each procedure. This will help it recover faster. Avoid prolonged sun exposure during the week, following your treatment as it may provoke serious skin damage.

Your best option is undergoing microdermabrasion treatments during the cold months when the harmful sun rays aren’t the strongest.

Side effects

Microdermabrasion is the safest facial procedure so far. The non-invasive nature of the treatment and the lack of recovery time make it a preferred option for many women.

However, people with active acne are more prone to experiencing side effects of the treatment, due to the fact that the skin is more prone to infections and irritations.

Thankfully, all side effects following the procedure are mild and usually last no more than 4-5 hours. Such include slight redness, irritation, and minor discomfort. The proper aftercare will guarantee you a faster recovery without even minor complaints.


Microdermabrasion pricing differs, depending on where you live. For instance, this facial procedure would be cheaper in India and way more expensive in the USA. The price of your treatment is important because it is not a one-time-spent – you will need at least 3 or 4 procedures before you can enjoy the optimal effect of the treatment.

Another option is buying your own microdermabrasion kit – they cost a little more than a single procedure in a beauty salon but you can use your machine for as long as you like. In the USA, such machines cost $100 – $350.

You can even find microdermabrasion machines intended for professional or commercial use. Those are the same ones, used at the dermatologists’ office. They usually cost a bit more – from $300 and up.

The semi-professional devices are a good option if you are looking for less aggressive treatment. These machines still provide deep skin exfoliation but the abrasion is not as intensive. These microderm machines can be used once a week and are preferred options for people with increased skin sensitivity. You can find semi-professional microdermabrasion machines for less than $200.

Vanessa Micoff MD

Dr. Vanessa Micoff received her Bachelor of Science degree in Venereology from the University of California, Riverside and her M.D. from the University of California, San Diego. She is a member of multiple dermatology associations and lecturer. More about her here.

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