What ingredients are safe to apply to skin after microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is an in-clinic exfoliation technique used to improve skin texture and overall skin tone. It makes use of a special applicator with tiny crystals at its tip to gently sand the outer layer of the skin and reveal brighter and younger skin.

Although non-invasive and relatively gentle, microdermabrasion requires some aftercare to prevent unnecessary skin irritation after the procedure. So what should you put on your face after microdermabrasion? Rosehip oil? Coconut oil? Hyaluronic acid? What about witch hazel or aloe vera? In this article, you will find out which ingredients are recommended after microdermabrasion and which ingredients are best avoided.

microdermabrasion treatment

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Microdermabrasion after-care

Microdermabrasion is a procedure that helps revive dull skin, reduce signs of aging, and improve skin texture and hyperpigmentation. This physical exfoliation technique helps reveal a new layer of skin immediately after the procedure. So, here are a few things to expect after receiving treatment:

  • Your skin will be pink and may feel slightly sensitive. No need to panic, this is perfectly normal and is due to the friction during the treatment.
  • Redness may also occur but will resorb in the following 24 hours.
  • Your skin will feel dry and tight but this too will last only 24 hours.
  • You may see some whiteheads appear.
  • In rare cases, crusting (dried blood formed over an irritated skin lesion) may occur.
  • Your skin may be sensitive to rapid temperature changes so avoid either too hot or too cold areas. 

This means you will need to take special care of your skin during the days that follow your treatment to limit irritations as much as possible. Here are the best aftercare tips to follow:

What to do after microdermabrasion

Keep your skin properly moisturized

After your treatment, your skin will be softer and more supple, thus very receptive to hydration. You want to make sure that you moisturize your skin properly to boost your skin glow. This will also help deal with the dryness you may be feeling.

Use moisturizers with barrier repair ingredients that will not only boost hydration but also speed up your skin’s healing process. This includes actives like hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, aloe vera, etc… 

Wear your sunscreen religiously 

After succeeding in getting rid of your dull and textured skin with a microdermabrasion treatment you do not want to ruin everything by not protecting your skin against sunlight. For the 2 weeks after your treatment stay away from direct sunlight exposure by wearing a hat and applying your sunscreen every 2 hours. 

What to avoid after microdermabrasion

To get the best results possible from a microdermabrasion treatment after-care is essential. You want to make sure you protect your skin properly until it is completely healed. This may take up to 14 days. As such, here are some of the things to avoid after a microdermabrasion treatment:

Stay away from strong actives

For at least 24-48 hours, you want to avoid any form of irritation on your skin and this includes using strong skincare actives. Chemical exfoliants and acne treatments are a no go zone until your skin is properly healed. This could take anything from 3 to 10 days.

You can resume your vitamin C serum 48 hours after treatment but most importantly, do not rub your skin and stick to very gentle skincare products that are fragrance-free. 

Hold off exercising 

It is best to wait a couple of days after your treatment before resuming any form of intense exercise that will cause you to sweat. This includes swimming, gym exercises, running, boxing, etc. 

Do not touch your face 

Avoid touching your face unnecessarily with your fingers or do not cause unnecessary friction on your skin. This means no facial waxing, steaming, no use of depilatory creams, or any other laser procedures for at least two weeks after your treatment. 

Can I use vitamin C serum after microdermabrasion?

Vitamin C is a great antioxidant that helps protect the skin from UV radiation as well as boosts collagen production. This is a great active to use to speed up the healing process of your skin after a microdermabrasion treatment.

However, due to its very acidic pH, it is best to wait 48 hours before applying it to your skin. This is to prevent any risks of irritation as the skin is still very tender.

Best vitamin C serums include:

Hyaluronic acid after microdermabrasion

After a microdermabrasion treatment, your skin needs to stay properly hydrated. As such, humectants like hyaluronic acid are a good addition to your post-care routine.

Hyaluronic acid is known as a natural moisturizer due to its ability to hold water. When applied to the skin it helps hold 1000x its weight of water in the skin’s connective tissues resulting in smoother, and more plump skin. It is anti-inflammatory and helps improve skin healing by boosting collagen production in the skin. 

Best hyaluronic acid serums include:

Can I use coconut oil after microdermabrasion?

The short answer is no. Although coconut oil has great antibacterial and moisturizing properties it is not suitable to use on your face after a microdermabrasion treatment due to its high comedogenicity.

Coconut oil is one of the most pore-clogging oils, and applying this to your face may trigger breakouts, especially if you have acne-prone skin. 

Can I use aloe vera after microdermabrasion?

Aloe vera gel is a very soothing and hydrating plant extract that will be ideal to apply to your skin after a microdermabrasion treatment. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E that help soothe any inflammations and redness present after your treatment. Its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to improve skin healing.

Some of the best aloe vera gels include:

Can I use facial oil after microdermabrasion?

Facial oils are usually lightweight and moisturizing oils that are applied to the skin for its nourishment. They are usually rich in essential fatty acids and will strengthen your skin barrier and speed up healing after microdermabrasion.

One of such oils is rosehip oil. This natural oil comes from the cold press of rose hip seeds and is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and E that all contribute to boosting skin healing and protect it from further irritation.

Can I use witch hazel after microdermabrasion?

Witch hazel can be used after a microdermabrasion treatment, however, you do not want to go overboard. This plant extract commonly used for its astringent properties (ability to decrease the appearance of pores) is great for people with oily skin to help reduce excess oil.

Also, it has antibacterial properties that can help keep the skin infection free. Added to that it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritations.

Finally, this extract has antioxidant properties that may have the potential to protect the skin from damage.

On the downside, witch hazel can have a drying effect so it definitely isn’t an option for people with dry and/or sensitive skin. It is best for people with a combo and oily/acne-prone skin to use after a microdermabrasion treatment. But remember, a little goes a long way. 

Can I use AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid after microdermabrasion?

Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acids are to be avoided for at least 10 days to 2 weeks after a microdermabrasion treatment. The reason for this is that over-exfoliating the skin can lead to serious irritation and hyperpigmentation.

Remember, microdermabrasion is a physical exfoliation technique; applying chemical exfoliants to freshly exfoliated skin has a high chance of burning the skin. In order to keep your skin barrier intact, it is best to wait for a bit before resuming your regular exfoliating products. 

Can I use BHA such as salicylic acid after microdermabrasion?

Just as it is for AHAs, beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid should not be applied to the skin up to 10 days after a microdermabrasion treatment. Although gentler than AHAs, BHAs still present a risk of irritation from over-exfoliating as the skin is very sensitive after the treatment.

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Petra Nakashian (previously Kravos) is a dedicated blogger who has been writing about natural health and beauty since 2014. Her journey began with a focus on living healthily and naturally, leading her to explore the world of natural beauty products. Influenced by the loss of her parents to cancer, she has meticulously researched the ingredients in beauty products. Her in-depth research and 10 years of hands-on experience have established her as a trusted expert in the field. She shares evidence-based insights to help readers make informed choices. Petra is the founder of Be Healthy Now and Green Beauty Talk, making her a go-to expert in natural beauty. Committed to transparency and honesty, Petra's work is a reliable resource for anyone navigating the complex world of natural beauty.