Breakout After Microdermabrasion – Why It Happens & What to Do

By Emily M.| Last updated on June 22, 2023
breakout after microdermabrasion
⏱️ 4 min read

Microdermabrasion is a super popular way of refreshing and rejuvenating the skin while simultaneously getting rid of blackheads, signs of aging, and other surface-level blemishes.

The microdermabrasion device uses light suction and crystal or diamond buffers to deeply exfoliate the skin, removing the dead cells from the outer layer.

There have been many reports of people experiencing breakouts after getting this treatment, and if you’re one of them – you’re on the right page!

We’re here to break down whether getting a breakout after microdermabrasion is normal and what you can do to help it.

Is Getting a Breakout After Microdermabrasion Normal?

Yes. Not everyone will have the same experience, meaning that, if you’re new to microdermabrasion, breakouts aren’t a necessary part of it. Still, if you do break out, there’s nothing to worry about – it will most likely go away on its own.

Not only are post-facial breakouts completely normal, but they’re also pretty beneficial to your skin. It’s part of a process called skin purging.


Image source: Freepik

What Is Skin Purging?

This term refers to the period of adjustment your skin goes through after making changes in your skincare routine. It won’t happen every time and with every product, but when it does, know that it’s normal.

The most common trigger for skin purging is a sudden introduction of AHAs, BHAs, and retinoids. It also commonly occurs after getting a chemical peel, dermaplaning or other facial that aims to cleanse the skin, such as microdermabrasion.

Our skin goes through a 4–6-week cycle, called skin cell turnover. Introducing new products or facial treatments accelerates this process which can lead to skin purging.

During that time, all the excess oil, sebum, and dead skin cells rise to the surface as the skin tries to get rid of the debris. That same debris then clogs your pores, which is what causes the breakout.

Learn more about skin purging here!


Image source: Freepik

What Can I Do to Help a Microdermabrasion Breakout?

Post-treatment breakouts usually last shorter than those caused by other factors. If you’re experiencing a skin purge breakout right now and are starting to get frustrated by it, here are a few tips on what you can do to help relieve it:

  • Don’t touch! Picking at pimples will introduce bacteria into the pores and spread them to unaffected areas, causing the issue to get worse.
  • Don’t try to fix it. There’s no need to add more ingredients or further exfoliate the skin – wait for the breakout to pass before your next microdermabrasion treatment (or other facial).
  • Stay hydrated. The hydrolipidic film made up of sweat, lipids, and sebum is what protects your skin. A lack of water can cause that film to overcompensate and produce more oil, which then traps dead cells and blocks pores.
  • Be gentle. Scrubs, harsh cleansers, and acids will only further irritate the skin. Use gentle products and ask your microdermabrasion therapist for aftercare tips and product recommendations.
  • Moisturize. Even though your skin feels more oily than usual, moisturizer should still be an essential step of your routine. You can find a lighter one if your regular moisturizer feels like too much during a breakout.
  • Protect the skin. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and get an SPF of 30 or higher to avoid irritating the already irritated skin and risking a sunburn.
  • Trust the process. The breakout will go away on its own in time, and you’ll be left with much clearer skin afterward. It’ll be worth it, just be patient.

what to do and what to avoid with a skin purge

Top Products to Help a Breakout After Microdermabrasion

Like we said, the post-microdermabrasion breakout will go away on its own – it’s just your skin getting rid of all the debris that was trapped in the inner layers. There’s no magic formula or product that can speed up this process, and instantly get your skin back to normal.

However, there are products that can help keep the breakout contained and less uncomfortable.

The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré is a great moisturizer to help your skin stay hydrated and protected during the purging period. It includes aloe vera and shea butter, which are both soothing and nourishing ingredients that will ease any discomfort you might feel.

To keep your skin safe during this time of crisis, we recommend the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. It’s very lightweight and helps protect the skin’s natural barrier. It also contains ceramides, which help rebuild the hydrolipidic film. Plus, it has SPF 30!

How Long Does It Take for Skin to Recover After Microdermabrasion?

After microdermabrasion, your skin should heal within that same day. It may feel and look flushed, but this is due to the suction drawing the blood toward the skin’s surface – not a reaction or anything to worry about.

You can read more about potential side effects here!

The breakouts may appear a few days after the treatment but will be gone in a week or so. That is if you follow your therapist’s instructions, keep the skin moisturized and protected, and resist the urge to pick at it.

Final Piece of Advice – Don’t Stress About It!

We get it – getting a breakout after microdermabrasion can be annoying. You went in for and cashed out for a treatment that will make your skin look better – not worse!

However, purging is a common side effect of many facials, and there’s not much you can do about it except to accept it and wait it out. Once it clears up, your skin will look great!

Cover image source: Freepik

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