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Image of a smiling woman representing microdermabrasion for acne scars

Microdermabrasion for acne scars – how it works and what you can expect

Around 85 per cent of people experience acne at some point their lives, whether that’s a few spots during adolescence, or adult acne in your twenties and older.

Depending on the type of acne you have, there’s a chance you’ll be left with a bit of scarring. Some people feel comfortable letting this fade over time or covering it up with makeup. But there are also treatments available, such as microdermabrasion, that can speed up the healing of your acne scars.

So, what is microdermabrasion exactly, and is it the right treatment for your acne scars?

Fast facts

  • Best results

    5 to 12 sessions

  • Duration of results

    30 days

  • Back to work

    Same day

  • Full recovery time


  • Price range

    500 SAR to 750 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    30 to 40 minutes

  • Comfort

    Pain relief unnecessary

  • Treatment type


What is microdermabrasion for acne scars?

Microdermabrasion is a type of skin resurfacing treatment that can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

When it comes to acne scars, microdermabrasion is usually only effective on depressed scars that lie flat against the outer layer of skin. It doesn’t tend to work on deeper scarring, such as ice-pick scars.

How does microdermabrasion for acne scars work?

The science behind it

During a microdermabrasion session, a handheld device is placed on the area with acne scarring to exfoliate and gently remove the outer layer of skin – known as the stratum corneum.

There are two main types of microdermabrasion devices that can be used to treat acne scars:

  • Crystal dermabrasion – tiny crystals exfoliate the skin.
  • Diamond dermabrasion – a diamond-tipped wand decorticates the top layer of skin.

As the device exfoliates the scarred area, a built-in vacuum sucks up the dead skin cells – as well as any used crystals. This then sends a signal to your body to replace the area with new, healthy cells.

Before the treatment

Microdermabrasion treatments are usually performed by a dermatologist or aesthetician.

Your clinician may also suggest you pair microdermabrasion with another treatment, such as a topical cream or chemical peel.

During the treatment

Your treatment should last between 30 and an hour, depending on the amount of acne scarring you have. As it is a non-invasive treatment, you shouldn’t need any numbing medicines or anaesthetics. Instead, your clinician can just go ahead and start the exfoliation process.


There’s no recovery time required after a microdermabrasion treatment, so you can usually get back to your regular routine right away. Your skin may feel a little sensitive and dry, but this usually only lasts for the first 24 hours.

Just make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen after the procedure, as your skin might be more sensitive to the sun. Your doctor may also suggest you avoid wearing makeup for one or two days initially.

How much is microdermabrasion? Plus, other things you need to know

How much does microdermabrasion cost?

Microdermabrasion treatments for acne scars usually cost around SR600 per session. This pricing can vary from clinic to clinic, so make sure you do your research and factor in any additional costs, such as consultation fees.

You’ll also need to consider the number of sessions recommended to treat your scarring. This usually sits somewhere between five and 12 sessions.

How can I find microdermabrasion near me?

You can find a local clinic that offers microdermabrasion using the selfologi clinic locator.

Alternative treatments

  • Topical treatments – you’ll find various creams, serums and toners over the counter that can help improve your acne scars. Look out for ones that contain glycolic acid to help remove dead skin cells or salicylic acid that reduces discoloration.
  • Microneedling – it repeatedly pricks the outer layer of your skin to encourage collagen production. It’s a similar price to microdermabrasion, though it can require up to five days of downtime.
  • Chemical peels – they improve your skin’s texture and pigmentation by using glycolic or salicylic acid. While the process can take less than 30 minutes, the healing time ranges from one to 21 days, depending on the depth of the peel.
  • Laser therapy – there are several laser treatments that can help reduce your acne scars, including laser skin resurfacing. These procedures tend to be slightly more expensive and require additional recovery time, but are effective at smoothing the scarred tissue and surrounding skin.

Microdermabrasion for acne scars facts

  • The idea behind microdermabrasion – removing the outer layer of skin for rejuvenation – has been around since 1500 BC, when ancient Egyptian doctors used sandpaper to smooth scars.
  • Before microdermabrasion came dermabrasion, a skin resurfacing technique that used motorised brushes to remove top layers of skin in the early 1900s.


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