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Image of a smiling woman to represent microdermabrasion machines

Eight things you need to know about microdermabrasion machines

When it comes to pigmentation, acne scars, or even just uneven skin texture, there is only so much your skincare routine can treat. For clearer, more radiant skin, it’s time to consider heading to the clinic for some microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive, mechanical exfoliation treatment used to treat conditions such as:

  • Sun damage.
  • Acne.
  • Fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Age spots.
  • Dullness.

The work is done by a machine that gently runs over your skin. At-home and professional microdermabrasion machines are both available, but of course, they offer different results.

So, what exactly do you need to know about microdermabrasion machines before you book your treatment?

Find a clinic or practitioner near you and enjoy a risk-free booking process thanks to free in-clinic consultations and the option to pay in-clinic. Also, you can now split the cost of your treatment into four equal, interest-free instalments using Tabby.

1. Innovation and safety

The first machine was invented in Italy in 1985 by two doctors, Mattioli and Brutto, in response to the risks of dermabrasion – the act of removing the upper layers of the skin, which included pain, lengthy downtime, and scarring.

Their new machine, which was a ‘closed loop’ system, quickly rose in popularity through the 1990s and is now commonplace in skin clinics across the world.

2. The original crystal tip

Microdermabrasion machines come with one of two tips – crystal or diamond.

Each type of tip works differently, meaning they can be more beneficial for some people than others.

Crystal-tipped microdermabrasion – sometimes called microcrystal dermabrasion – was the original method and is still the most popular.

These machines work like sandblasters, firing a fine stream of crystals at the surface of the skin to blast away dead skin cells.

The crystals and exfoliated skin particles are simultaneously vacuumed away through the same wand they’re applied with.

Aluminium oxide crystals are typically used because they are nearly as hard as diamonds. Magnesium oxide, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and even sodium chloride (salt) crystals are sometimes used as well.

Because they work with more of a 'blasting' action, crystal-tipped machines are often louder than diamond-tipped options, which could be a big consideration if you're uncomfortable with loud noises near your face.

Also, the sandblasting effect of a crystal microdermabrasion machine can be a little too abrasive for people with more sensitive skin, as they can cause more irritation. But they can work deeper into the skin, making them potentially more effective on more profound damage and wrinkles.

3. Diamonds are your best friend

Diamond-tipped machines are the newer version of the original machine. They work almost like a sander, brushing against the skin and exfoliating it.

If crystal-tipped machines are like sandblaster, these are more like sandpaper. Diamond microdermabrasion is naturally more precise and targeted, so it’s best for exfoliating hard-to-reach areas, such as around the mouth and eyes. This means they also give your clinician more control over which sites are being targeted, so you're not likely to impact any skin you want to leave alone.

Both types of microdermabrasion machines have a vacuum element that helps suck out particles and dead skin cells as the machine works. As they are more accurate, diamond-tip machines are often more likely to pick up all the dead skin and particles compared to crystal tips, which can leave more particles behind. The fewer particles and cells left behind, the more noticeable your results are likely to be, which is why diamond microdermabrasion is considered a bit ‘cleaner’ than crystal.

4. Accessories are available

Specific machines can be set up with a range of programmes that enable clinicians to provide an all-round treatment with more benefits to your skin. For example, they may also be able to provide ultrasound therapy at the same time as your microdermabrasion.

Your clinician might also have a range of specific tips that they can swap out, depending on your desired results, such as one designed to reduce wrinkles and another designed to clear pores and diminish acne.

The tips also come in different sizes to cover different sized areas. A bigger tip will cover more space, which could shorten your session with more skin covered in the same period.

5. They are usually flexible

Most microdermabrasion machines are flexible, meaning your clinician should be able to adapt the flow, vacuum, and manual pressure to suit your skin and tolerance.

This way, you may be less likely to see side-effects like redness and irritated skin and enjoy a more comfortable experience.

6. Go pro for better results

While home microdermabrasion machines are available, the best results typically come from a professional treatment.

Home machines aren't as powerful as the ones available in professional clinics and salons and won't offer the same depth of exfoliation. They also typically use fewer active ingredients than salon-based treatments, and this can mean results won't last as long.

7. They can be too much for some people

The beauty of professional microdermabrasion machines is the results you enjoy post-treatment. But this effectiveness is not ideal for everyone.

There is a chance the strength of the treatment could cause skin pigmentation on darker skin tones, due to increased melanin production straight after treatment.

Also, anyone with rosacea, lupus or any other problematic skin or medical conditions should take caution.

8. The cost of the machine will probably impact the cost of your treatment

The cost of a machine will often determine how much a clinic charges for its microdermabrasion sessions.

Typically, more expensive machines will offer more choices regarding accessories and additional programmes. They are also likely to have better suction and, therefore, better results. This means salons with more expensive machines are more likely to have higher treatment prices.


Different machines will provide varied results, accuracy, and a unique experience. It all depends on what you want to achieve with microdermabrasion.

Find a clinic and machine to help you achieve radiant skin with our clinic locator.

Use our clinic locator to book your treatment – and choose between paying online, paying in-clinic, or splitting payments into four equal instalments with Tabby.

*Terms and conditions: The gift card should be used before the end of the card validity period (which shall occur 12 months counted as from the date of purchase). Upon the expiry date, the gift card will become invalid for use. The gift card can be used for any treatment including special offers and with any clinic listed on If the value of the treatment is less than the gift card value you will loose the remaining balance. The gift card cannot be spread across multiple bookings, cannot be combined with other promo codes, and cannot be redeemed for cash.