The Definitive Guide to Microdermabrasion Treatment

Ever wondered what this treatment is all about? Well here is everything you need to know about Microdermabrasion from the experts here at SkinBase. Our SkinBase microdermabrasion treatment has won Best Advanced Treatment at the National Beauty Awards two years running and we have trained thousands of beauty therapists, so we promise, we know what we are talking about.

Ever wondered what this treatment is all about? Well here is everything you need to know about Microdermabrasion from the experts here at SkinBase. Our SkinBase microdermabrasion treatment has won Best Advanced Treatment at the National Beauty Awards two years running. SkinBase trainers have trained thousands of beauty therapists, so we promise, we know what we are talking about.

What is microdermabrasion

First developed in Italy in 1985, Microdermabrasion has become an increasingly popular non-invasive treatment for skin rejuvenation. The process of a SkinBase Microdermabrasion (MD) facial involves the abrasive action of tiny crystals. Along with a suction action, this gently removes dead skin cells and surface debris. The procedure is simple, quick, and painless, with no downtime, so a perfect choice for regular treatment.

How does it work?

During treatment, tiny crystals gently exfoliate the skin. The SkinBase microdermabrasion machine works using vacuum pressure. The machine draws the crystal, under suction, through a small hole in the handpiece and over the skin. This exfoliates the outer layer of skin, at the same time sucking away the loosened dead skin and used crystals. Used crystals and the outermost layer of skin collect in a reservoir (disposable jar).


Microdermabrasion is chemical-free and non-invasive yet achieves amazing results revealing younger, healthier-looking skin from the very first treatment. The skin’s appearance is further improved through increased collagen & elastin production as your body produces a new layer of skin.

Does Microdermabrasion hurt?

One of the concerns we hear most often about microdermabrasion is that it might hurt. We’re not entirely sure where this misconception comes from but we would like to clear it up. It doesn’t and shouldn’t hurt.

How does it feel?

It feels a bit like a little hoover, sucking the skin whilst jetting tiny crystals onto the surface. The feeling of the crystal is hard to explain but shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or painful at any time.

What about afterward?

Some mild erythema (redness) is quite normal immediately after treatment. For most people, this disappears very quickly. Stick to the aftercare advice from your therapists with regards to what you put on your skin. Drink plenty of water and moisturised – and you can’t go wrong!

And the next day?

Many describe how their skin glows the day after, for some this feeling comes on the third day. The newly exfoliated skin feels soft and silky.

Progressive results

You will continue to see improvements with further treatments. A course of treatments is fantastic for; acne, acne scarring, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and more!

How often should I have a microdermabrasion treatment?

We are often asked ‘How often’ and it really depends on what you are hoping to achieve. We explain more below.

One-off Facial

One Microdermabrasion treatment on its own will exfoliate and remove dead skin cells to reveal a clean, bright complexion. It will unblock pores and help to remove blemishes, blackheads and dry skin. You’ll definitely see the difference and you’ll probably want more!

Microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment which means you will see improvements with each treatment you have. If you decide you love the treatment (we’re sure you will) then there are a few options to consider:

Mini-course of Facials

We most definitely recommend that you plump for a course of facials. If your skin is in pretty good condition already then a mini-course of 3 might be enough. It’s always best to have a proper consultation though. After a mini-course you should be rid of most blackheads and see improvements on the texture and tone of your skin.

Course of Facials

If your skin needs a bit of work and you have skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, or mild outbreaks of spots then a course of 6 might be better. Ideally, treatments should be carried out every 7-10 days. This will allow your therapist to work deeper on the skin with each treatment; but safely and effectively without injury to the skin.

Treating Skin Issues

If you are suffering from acne or have acne scarring you might need even more than a course of 6 to see great results. Remember, microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment so if you are continuing to see improvements, persevere! Acne and acne scarring may require much more than 6 treatments for the best results.

Monthly Maintenance

After a course of treatment, you will need to maintain the results to keep your skin in tip-top condition. Skin renews itself about every 4 weeks so we recommend a monthly maintenance treatment to ensure the old skin is exfoliated to maintain a glowing complexion. Microdermabrasion also helps the absorption of skincare products into the skin, so your at-home skincare routine is more effective.

What are the crystals used in SkinBase Microdermabrasion?

We thought you might like to know a bit about the actual white stuff involved in each SkinBase Microdermabrasion treatment that we carry out.

What do you call them?

At SkinBase we call them crystals but we hear quite a variety of names used at the SkinBase HQ. Some of the names we have heard Therapists refer to them as include; powder, dust, and sand. Aluminium Oxide is the correct name. These crystals are in fact high purity (99.6%) white aluminium oxide. It is a chemical compound of oxygen and aluminium. Aluminium oxide crystals are used by SkinBase Therapists during a professional microdermabrasion treatment because of its abrasive properties. They are completely safe to use and work with and pose no respiratory risk. It is very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, but a patch test is carried out prior to treatment just in case.

But aluminium is a metal, isn’t it?

Yes aluminium is a metal. Did you know Calcium and Sodium are also metals? But when combined with other elements they become something quite different, and something to eat even! Calcium and oxygen becomes chalk or marble. Sodium and chlorine become Salt. Aluminium and oxygen become Sapphires, Rubies or Corundum (MD crystals). Aluminium oxide is also used in toothpaste, dental cement and as a dispersing food additive (so we eat it every day!).

Microdermabrasion crystals exfoliate the skin, to safely and comfortably remove dead cells from the epidermis and enhance cell renewal at the superficial skin surface.

How Much Does MD Cost?

We are often asked this question and there isn’t one simple answer. You can expect to pay approximately £35-45 for a 30-minute treatment. Our therapists are based throughout the UK and the cost in London and the South-East can vary greatly from other parts of the UK. Some therapists offer a face mask, a hand and arm massage or even £10 off your first SkinBase facial treatment, so it’s well worth investigating. They’re a friendly bunch, give them a call and find out what’s on offer.

Why are microdermabrasion treatments so expensive?

Have you ever said “That’s too expensive” about a facial? Try rephrasing it to “My skin isn’t worth that”. It doesn’t sound so reasonable now, does it? Whilst nails, brows and waxing are all big business in the beauty industry, we’re surprised how reluctant people are to invest in their skin?! But why should you spend money on a facial like Microdermabrasion? Let us clue you in…

How do you feel about your skin?

A huge number of people are insecure about the way that their skin looks. Many women feel self-conscious leaving the house without a layer of full-coverage foundation on. Regular Microdermabrasion facials are the answer to this.  Rejuvenating and deep cleansing, the treatment will improve your skin’s natural texture and appearance.

Is a facial really necessary?

It’s common for people who don’t get facials to think that all a therapist will do is apply products that you could use at home yourself. And if not that, then they’ll use harsh chemical peels that will leave your skin sensitive and red for days. But Microdermabrasion facials are completely different. Our trained therapists use a special machine to pass a fine jet of abrasive crystals over the skin. These crystals loosen dead skin and grime, and the debris is then vacuumed away. Every stage of the Microdermabrasion facial has benefits for the skin that are difficult to replicate at home.  Even better, you can go right back to your normal daily activities afterward.

What will a facial actually do?

A course of SkinBase Microdermabrasion Facials helps to target skin concerns such as spots, blemishes, enlarged and blocked pores, acne scarring, uneven skin tone, pigmentation, dullness and fine lines. You can even see results from the very first session! You aren’t just investing in your skin’s appearance, you’re investing in feeling better about yourself, and investing in your skin’s long-term well-being.

How regularly can I have microdermabrasion?

The optimum amount of time between your microdermabrasion facials is 7-10 days. In fact, we recommend that you stick within this timeframe to achieve the best results. This allows your skin time to recover but is also close enough together if you are working to improve skin issues. Your therapist can work deeper on the skin with each treatment; but safely and effectively without injury to the skin.

Skin concerns like pigmentation, acne, scarring, and uneven skin tone all need a consistent and regular treatment plan to achieve the best results. Read on to find out why this 7-10 day window is important.


Our skin does naturally slough away some dead cells, the techy term is ‘desquamation’, but it doesn’t do it as efficiently as it could. Microdermabrasion uses exfoliating crystals to remove the dead skin cells trapped in our pores by excess oil, which leads to blackheads and spots. Makeup and pollution particles can also get ‘stuck’ to dead skin cells, leading to oxidative stress, which ages the skin. Frequent exfoliation will help prevent this build-up of dead skin cells which leave skin looking dull and lacklustre.

Vacuum Action

As well as jetting out a stream of tiny crystals, microdermabrasion will actually hoover the skin! You heard us right, and this ‘hoovering’ has an important purpose. The vacuum action stimulates the microcirculation within the skin, which promotes collagen production. Collagen is a really important substance that helps make the skin plump and firm. By helping to increase the skin’s collagen levels, Microdermabrasion helps you to achieve a smoother and less wrinkled complexion. Regular treatments will keep these levels high and improve the skin’s texture and plumpness.

What happens if I wait longer?

If you wait longer, nothing bad is going to happen but you aren’t going to get the best results and our job as beauty therapists is to try and manage expectations and what can be achieved. We want you to achieve the best possible outcome for your time and money.

What about once I’ve finished my course of treatments?

Once you have finished a course of treatments we recommend a monthly maintenance treatment to maintain your results and keep skin looking and feeling great. Use a good high protection spf at all times and throughout the year to prevent further skin damage. Remember, investing in your skin is a lifelong commitment, there are no quick fixes that last. Start looking after your skin properly now and reap the rewards in the future.

Why Do We Recommend A Course Of Microdermabrasion Facials?

No matter how much you look after your skin, it will still be adversely affected by the environment and the ageing process. A course of Microdermabrasion facials can help to repair damage that has occurred over the years, (accelerated by a decline in collagen production during our late 20s/early 30s. The extent of skin damage will vary, so it stands to reason that to repair some of this damage, a course of treatments will be required.

Remove dead skin cells

Regular sessions of Microdermabrasion work to gently remove the dead skin cells from your face and clear blocked pores. If you continue to have 3 to 4 sessions a month, over time your skin will continually look better. It evens out your skin tone, removes dark spots and improves fine lines and wrinkles. During a course of Microdermabrasion facials, your blood circulation will get a boost and so will collagen production. Your skin will be firmer and more hydrated, meaning you look younger and fresher.

How long do the results last for?

Skin is continually renewing itself and this happens approximately every 28 days. MD provides a deep exfoliation to remove build up and old skin and so your skin will continue to benefit from regular MD treatment after a completed course. Results achieved for skin problems such as pigmentation and acne/acne scarring can be maintained by protecting the skin from UV rays and maintaining a healthy diet & lifestyle alongside monthly microdermabrasion treatments.

What can it treat?

Microdermabrasion can help various skin concerns, below we take a look at a few of these and how microdermabrasion can improve them.

Acne and Acne Scarring

Microdermabrasion works by removing the top layers of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface making it particularly effective in treating acne. Eliminating dead skin cells unclogs pores and minimises sebum production reducing the chance of new spots developing.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles, Ageing Skin

As we age elastin and collagen production starts to slow down. The vacuum action of the microdermabrasion treatment works to stimulate blood flow, promoting elastin and collagen production. The combination of collagen stimulation and increased skin renewal will improve the condition of the skin’s surface smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles.

Dull and Tired Skin, Uneven Skin Tone, Dry and Dehydrated Skin

Normally skin renews itself approximately every 28 days. By removing the dead cells from the top layer of the epidermis, microdermabrasion speeds up the rate at which skin replenishes and reveals new, fresh skin and a radiant glow.

Stretch Marks

Microdermabrasion can vastly improve the appearance of stretch marks. The microdermabrasion treatment promotes a ‘lifting and smoothing’ effect, improving skin condition and diminishing the appearance of stretch marks and discolouration.


Hyperpigmentation basically means you have patches of darker pigmentation on your skin which can appear as uneven skin tone, dark spots or patches of darker skin. They appear mainly in the parts of your body that are exposed to the elements like your face, arms, hands, neck and décolletage. It can be caused by the sun, ageing, acne and hormone fluctuations. A course of Microdermabrasion facials performed regularly every 7-10 days will work down the epidermal layers to remove pigmentation. Pigmentation can be tricky to treat and your therapist will be able to recommend a course of action to get the best results.

Red marks caused by picking

Also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, this redness is the result of your skin protecting itself from trauma. Your skin needs to prevent infection when it gets picked, so it initiates an immune system response, increasing blood flow to the area and flooding your skin with white cells to fight any bad bacteria.

Given time, the redness in the area will fade, but you may be left with permanent scarring thanks to the damage caused – both by the act of picking and by the swelling of the immune response. You can speed up the healing process and reduce the possibility of noticeable scarring with Microdermabrasion. This is especially effective for redness that is widespread and hard to get rid of – such as the redness caused by acne.

Benefits of treatment

Improve skin texture

Acne can cause pitted scarring, which is hard, if not impossible, to hide with makeup. The stimulation of collagen production helps to plump up these areas, and combined with the removal of built-up dead skin cells, this helps to restore a smooth texture to the skin. Removing dead skin also helps to speed up your skin’s cell renewal process – this is very important for reducing scarring because it means that the damaged cells are replaced more quickly.

Enhances healing

If you still have active breakouts, Microdermabrasion will help, by reducing the redness and inflammation by stimulating the circulation, allowing the swelling to reduce and encouraging collagen replenishment. This healing action still works even if you’ve picked at your spots. You just have to wait for the broken skin to heal over, and then your therapist will be able to treat them directly.

Prevent further breakouts

Another key benefit of Microdermabrasion is that its deep cleansing action helps to remove excess oil, which can otherwise settle in the pores and cause blockages and blackheads, leading to spots. The removal of dead skin cells is also vital for the prevention of spots, because the exfoliation helps to bring pre-existing pore blockages to the surface, and clears them away. So even if you have the makings of a spot deep inside your skin, a Microdermabrasion facial will help to eliminate it before it gets inflamed. The best way to prevent red marks and scars is to reduce the chances of getting spots in the first place; and Microdermabrasion is the ideal treatment for this.

Who should have microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is one of those rare treatments that suits almost all of us at different points in our lives – virtually everyone can benefit from it! Read on to find out who can really benefit from Microdermabrasion, and who might be better off looking elsewhere.

Suitable for all skin types

Whether your skin is oily, sensitive, ageing, blemish-prone, dull, lacklustre, rough, or unevenly pigmented, you can benefit from Microdermabrasion. It can help with acne scarring, keratosis pilaris, fine lines, wrinkles, and stretch marks. You can even have Microdermabrasion if you have sensitive skin!

Different stages of life

Microdermabrasion’s versatility means that it can be there for you, no matter what your age or situation.

For younger people, congested skin on the face and back can be a source of great embarrassment and discomfort. It’s really hard to be a teenager with spots, but Microdermabrasion can help to reduce the redness and inflammation. It will also help to remove the causes of spots and reduce the appearance of scarring.

Late 20’s / Early 30’s

For those of us hitting our late 20’s and early 30’s, Microdermabrasion’s ability to rejuvenate the skin is perfect for helping to combat the dull, tired complexion that a busy career or new family can bring, and it’s also perfect for helping to reduce the first signs of ageing, those dreaded fine lines!

For later in life, Microdermabrasion can help to stimulate collagen production and cell turnover, which reveals younger, less wrinkled skin.

Who should avoid Microdermabrasion? 

Although MD can help many skin concerns, there are a few that it may not be the best choice for. Anyone with rosacea or extensive broken capillaries should avoid intense exfoliation like Microdermabrasion, and opt for a treatment like IPL instead. People with skin conditions like eczema or hypersensitivity should also avoid Microdermabrasion, but it never hurts to ask: SkinBase Therapists are expertly trained to advise you on what’s best for your skin, so if you’re looking to improve your complexion, get in touch, because even if they don’t recommend Microdermabrasion, they’ll almost certainly be able to help you anyway!

Microdermabrasion procedure – What’s involved in the treatment?

Sometimes, simply not knowing what’s involved in a procedure can put us off wanting to try something new, so we thought we would talk your through exactly what happens during our Microdermabrasion facial. It’s actually a really simple, relaxing treatment, with four main steps to it, so here we go:

Step 1: Prepare

Your therapist begins by talking through your skin concerns with you. They will make sure they know exactly what you want to get out of the treatment, and will ensure that Microdermabrasion is the right choice for what you’re looking to achieve. They will also work out how many treatments you’re likely to need for the results you’re looking for. Once they have all the right information, they will prepare your skin by thoroughly cleansing it with a gentle cleanser. This removes makeup and surface impurities, to get the skin in the right condition for treatment.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Now that your skin is perfectly clean, your therapist is ready to begin Microdermabrasion. They place a special hand piece onto your skin, which fires out thousands of tiny crystals. These crystals have an abrasive action, which enables them to lift away dead skin, and deeply embedded oil and grime. The hand piece automatically sucks away all of the crystals, dead skin and grime. Your therapist will work methodically over each part of your face. They will go back to target any problem areas with extra Microdermabrasion if needed. This isn’t painful and shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at all. In fact, some people find the hum of the machine relaxing enough to take a nap during treatment! You can watch the treatment in action on our YouTube video here.

Step 3: Moisturise

Microdermabrasion is a very deep form of exfoliation, so it’s extra important to moisturise afterwards. Skin may also feel drier than normal after treatment so it’s vital to keep it well moisturised and hydrated. This is all part of the process. Your therapist will give you all the advice you need to make sure skin is glowing after treatment. If you have booked a luxury Microdermabrasion treatment, your therapist may also include a mask or massage. We definitely recommend this for extra pampering. Microdermabrasion is a very effective treatment on its own, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a treat too!

Step 4: SPF

Lastly, your therapist will apply SPF to protect your freshly abraded skin from harmful UV rays. You should also try to avoid direct sunlight after your treatments.

Microdermabrasion aftercare – what to do after

It’s important you follow the aftercare to avoid adverse reactions after treatment. Some of these may seem harmless enough and you might think, does it really matter? Well, yes, it really does!

Adhere to the advice given

Reactions to the crystal used are so rare but what you do to your skin after treatment is super important. Avoid anti-ageing creams or anything with active ingredients. Use something simple and soothing such as the SkinBase homecare cream with SPF. During MD, the outermost layer of skin is removed and therefore skin is more susceptible to the elements. Therefore, it’s important you avoid exposure to UV or any chemicals.


Use SPF 15+ (at least) throughout a course to protect skin and regularly apply moisturiser to replenish moisture. If your skin does feel hot or dry and itchy – splash with cold water and apply a recommended moisturiser regularly.

The Aftercare

  • 12 hours after: Avoid heavy makeup (you can use mineral makeup as it doesn’t block the skin)
  • For 24 hours: No swimming, facial waxing or fake tan application
  • Up to 48 Hours after: No sauna, sun beds or sun exposure. No injectables, collagen injections or dermal fillers.
  • For 72 Hours: Do not use any anti-ageing creams, AHA’s, glycolics, retinol or exfoliating products.
  • At all times during a course, apply SPF 15 (at least) and avoid UV exposure. Regular moisturiser applications are vital to replenish the skin and prevent it becoming dry and peeling.

In short; avoid chemicals, heat treatments, UV exposure and apply your moisturiser regularly with an SPF of 15 or higher!

We hope that this article has covered everything you might want to know about Microdermabrasion treatment, you can see some of the fantastic results here and if you have any other questions please get in touch.

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