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Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that uses fine crystals and a vacuum to remove dead skin cells. It can be used on the face, neck, chest, back and hands.

The aim is to reduce fine lines, minor scars, wrinkles and age spots, and make the skin smoother and younger looking. You may need more than 1 treatment.

Microdermabrasion should not cause any skin colour changes or scarring. It does not work for more significant scarring, stretch marks or deep wrinkles.

It may also not be suitable for everyone. Your practitioner will be able to tell you if microdermabrasion is suitable for you or whether an alternative treatment would be better.

What to think about before you have microdermabrasion

Be aware that microdermabrasion can be expensive and has its limitations.


The cost of microdermabrasion depends on the areas of the body being treated and the number of treatments needed.

For example, a single treatment for the face can cost about £60.


Having microdermabrasion is usually safe if it's done by an experienced and suitably qualified practitioner.

Check the person doing the procedure is on a register to show they meet set standards in training, skill and insurance.

Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course.

Read more about choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure.

What microdermabrasion involves

Local anaesthetic is not necessary when having microdermabrasion.

The practitioner moves a handheld device over your skin. Tiny crystals remove dead skin cells and they're vacuumed away.

It usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes.


The side effects of microdermabrasion, such as redness and swelling, tend to be short-lived.

Your skin may be dry and flaky for a day or 2, or longer if you have sensitive skin. You may also have some slight bruising.

Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun afterwards, so you should avoid sun exposure for a few days and use sunscreen.

What to do if you have problems

If you're not happy with the results of microdermabrasion or you have problems, contact the clinic where you were treated.

Speak to the person who treated you if you have any complications that need medical attention. If this is not possible, see a GP or go to your local accident and emergency (A&E).

Page last reviewed: 24 September 2019
Next review due: 24 September 2022