K, so as much as I love and trust my gentle, nice, happy little skincare routine, I also sometimes wish I could just scrub away all my blackheads and shrink my pores over night instead. But since that’s literally impossible (seriously, don’t try—you’ll just destroy your face), I’ve been considering a more realistic alternative: microdermabrasion, an in-office or at-home treatment that deeply exfoliates your skin to leave your face softer and brighter over time. And if you’re currently in the same semi-confused boat as I was, I’ve got you covered, because I went ahead and found out everything there is to know about the treatment, below, along with the best at-home microdermabrasion devices to try on your own. But first…
What is microdermabrasion?
“Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment that takes off the outer layers of dead skin to improve your skin’s texture, pore size, and pigmentation,” says Morgan Rabach, MD, dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical in NYC. “It’s also a great option for people who already have healthy skin but are looking to fade their sun damage.”
The in-office microdermabrasion tools your dermatologist might use can differ, but the treatment is generally performed with a handheld exfoliator that either blasts your skin with super-fine crystal particles or buffs it with a diamond-coated tip. The result? Smoother, brighter, and more even-looking skin.
Is microdermabrasion good for your skin?
Yes and no, depending on your skin type. I know the treatment sounds a little intense, but microdermabrasion is usually safe and well-tolerated by most skin types—that is, unless you’ve got ultra-sensitive skin, active acne breakouts, or conditions like eczema, rosacea, or keratosis pilaris, says Dr. Rabach. I know; I’m sorry. Even though scrubbing off your skin may seem like a “logical” fix for zits, flakes, bumps, it’ll only make these inflammatory skin conditions much, much worse, so please don’t try it.
Does at-home microdermabrasion work?
Here’s the thing: At-home microdermabrasion is never going to be quite as effective as an in-office treatment—sorry, but derms have access to ultra-powerful devices (plus a lifetime of skilled training) that you just can’t replicate over the counter. BUT! That doesn’t mean you don’t have effective options though, since there are a number of devices and skincare products that’ll help you achieve similar results at home.
The only caveat? You need to make sure you’re suuuper careful when trying microdermabrasion on yourself—follow your directions to a T and don’t overdo it. “Using an at-home microdermabrasion device too often may take off too many outer layers of skin, leaving skin burned and raw,” says Dr. Rabach, “all of which can lead to hyperpigmentation and scarring.” So, you know, not good, but also fully avoidable if you actually listen to your skin and follow directions.
With that in mind, keep reading for what you really came here for: the best at-home microdermabrasion tools and products, ahead.
Best Microdermabrasion on Amazon
Microderm Glo Mini Diamond Microdermabrasion and Suction Tool
This lil kit is one of the top-rated microdermabrasion tools on Amazon, and for good reason: It’s rechargeable, waterproof, and comes with four different tips (two for blackheads and two for the pro-level exfoliating). Plus, you can switch between a high and low setting depending on the intensity you want—and the sensitivity level of your skin.
Best Microdermabrasion Device for Clogged Pores
Spa Sciences Mio Diamond Microdermabrasion Resurfacing System
If you’re mainly lookin’ to try microdermabrasion for the sole purpose of treating clogged pores, aaaand you don’t wanna go broke doing it, try this resurfacing tool. It’s primarily a pore vacuum with an added microdermabrasion tip, so you can smooth out your bumpy skin while trying to loosen your blackheads.
Best Blackhead Exfoliating Scrub
Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Microdermabrasion Blackhead Eliminator
Here’s a fact: No matter how much you physically exfoliate your skin with a classic microdermabrasion tool, it’s not gonna get rid of your blackheads. For that, you need some chemical exfoliants, like this crystal-spiked scrub that uses a mix of kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and salicylic acid to break down clogged pores. It’s strong, though, so only rub it on your nose, k?
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion for Beginners
Trophy Skin MicrodermMD Sensitive
The best thing about this at-home microdermabrasion device (which comes with a diamond-tipped exfoliating wand) is that you can control the suction—just power it on and hit “sensitive” mode for a gentle introduction to microdermabrasion. It even has a visual to follow and a timer to help guide you through your treatment.
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Tool
Bee Stunning DiamondBuff Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Tool
Perfect for getting the job done without all the bells and whistles, this microdermabrasion tool helps you manually exfoliate your skin with a diamond-coated surface. Set your timer for three minutes (anything longer can irritate your skin) and gently glide along clean skin in small, circular motions.
Best Mini At-Home Microdermabrasion Device
Trophy Skin MiniMD Microdermabrasion Machine
Don’t feel like traveling with a bulky device? This mini microdermabrasion tool is small enough to throw in your carry-on, but it’s just as powerful as its larger counterparts (thanks to the diamond tip and strong suction).
Best Wet and Dry Microdermabrasion Device
Michael Todd Beauty Sonic Refresher Wet/Dry Sonic Microdermabrasion System with MicroMist Technology
The cool thing about this microdermabrasion device is that it has a “wet” mode—as it exfoliates your skin (shoutout to the diamond tip and ultra-powerful suction) the device releases a super-fine mist. The result? A lighter, more hydrating experience that leaves your skin just as soft.
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Device
PMD Personal Microderm Classic
This at-home device is super close to what you’d find in a dermatologist’s office—it’s got a vacuum-like suction that lifts your dead skin cells and crystal-coated discs that exfoliate your skin so it’s softer and smoother over time. After cleansing and patting your face dry, pull your skin tight and gently glide the device in an upward motion.
Best Drugstore Microdermabrasion
Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System
DW, you don’t need to spend your entire paycheck on a microdermabrasion device. This drugstore option comes equipped with single-use exfoliating pads that are pre-treated with ultra-fine crystals—just pop one on to the applicator, wet it thoroughly, and massage it along your face for two minutes.
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion for Sensitive Skin
Foreo Luna 3 for Sensitive Skin
Even though sensitive skin types should stay away from traditional microdermabrasion, this gentle cleansing device offers a safe alternative. You’ll get the same pore-cleaning and skin-smoothing effects, without any of the irritating elements (like the gritty exfoliator and powerful suction).
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Mini
If microdermabrasion tools feel too intense for your routine, try a chemical exfoliant instead. These cult-favorite peel pads from Dr. Dennis Gross are formulated with glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to help clean your pores and promote cell renewal every time you use them.
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Body Scrub
Dr. Brandt Skincare Microdermabrasion Body
While physical exfoliators are typically too harsh for your face, this gritty scrub is perfect for your body (think: legs, arms, and chest). Massage the formula on clean skin for two minutes, and a combination of crystals (to exfoliate), aloe butter (to hydrate) and chamomile extract (to soothe) help leave your skin soft as hell.
Best At-Home Microdermabrasion Mask
Dermadoctor Physical Chemistry Facial Microdermabrasion + Multiacid Chemical Peel
This rinse-off peel is loaded with powerful exfoliants (like glycolic and lactic acids) and soothing botanical extracts that work together to help smooth and brighten your skin. Massage it onto clean skin, rinse, and follow with an ultra-hydrating moisturizer.
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