January 9, 2023

How Does Microdermabrasion Work? Exploring its Effectiveness & Profitability

Moxie Team

Microdermabrasion is the perfect option for any med spa that wants to provide widely appealing and cost-effective services. Catering to all skin types or colors, microdermabrasion is commonly used to treat a wide range of skin issues and can be an excellent add-on to other med spa offerings—promising a quick ROI. It is also a perfect choice for new businesses with limited capital since the startup costs are reasonably low.

Our clients' time is limited, and they often look for fast, effective, and convenient ways to see results. 

This makes microdermabrasion — also known as the "lunchtime facial" — a crowd favorite because it takes as little as 30 minutes and has zero downtime.

This non-invasive procedure involves using friction to exfoliate dead skin cells from the face, neck, and other body areas. It physically removes dirt, oil, and other impurities from the skin's surface and stimulates collagen production for improved elasticity and firmness.

Unlike many other skin treatments, microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types. It has minimal complications, making it an excellent alternative for people who are not eligible for other types of peels. Moreover, it is generally quite affordable and yields immediate results!

Microdermabrasion has become a staple in many med spa businesses and is well worth considering for yours. Keep reading to learn how this process works, what it can be used to treat, how effective it is, and why adding microdermabrasion can benefit your med spa business.

What is microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a painless skin rejuvenation procedure that uses a slightly abrasive surface to gently exfoliate the skin and removes its outer layer. This results in a bright, refreshed appearance.

It can also address a range of skin issues, including:

  • age spots
  • blackheads
  • patches of darkened skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • stretch marks
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • enlarged pores
  • acne and acne scars

Dermatologists may also use it to increase the effectiveness of other products since microdermabrasion allows these products to penetrate the skin more easily by removing layers of the epidermis and dermis.

How does microdermabrasion work?

Generally, microdermabrasion involves moving a specialized device over the skin to "sand" it and stimulate new skin growth. It is typically painless and does not require a numbing agent or local anesthetic.  

Aside from removing the thicker, uneven outer layer of the skin leading to a brighter and even skin tone, by slightly "damaging" the skin, it also helps promote the healing process and collagen production. Collagen adds elasticity to the skin, leading to overall younger-looking skin.

The procedure typically takes 30 to 40 minutes and may cause a mild scratching feeling. There is also a vibrating sensation similar to a massage.

Licensed aestheticians and other medical spa professionals often perform this procedure, but precisely who can administer this treatment varies based on the state where the med spa is practicing.

Types of microdermabrasion

There are two types of microdermabrasion procedures:

  • Diamond-tip or crystal-free system: moving a rotating or vibrating handpiece with diamonds embedded at the tip over the skin to "buff" and exfoliate the skin.
  • Crystal-based system: a handheld device sprays tiny crystals at the skin while an attached vacuum simultaneously suctions the crystals back, along with dislodged dead skin cells. 

How effective is microdermabrasion?

Experts have found that microdermabrasion has a multi-fold effect on the skin.

First, it results in microscopic changes in the treated skin, including reduced melanization (uneven pigment buildup) and improved collagen density.

Immediately following the treatment, sebum levels significantly drop, and the skin becomes thicker and softer, with enhanced elasticity.

Although laser skin resurfacing has become increasingly popular recently, microdermabrasion has been shown to heal faster and is more effective in treating surgical scars and thickened skin.

How long do the effects of microdermabrasion last?

The results of microdermabrasion tend to be temporary since the skin continues to age and repair itself. However, the results may be more permanent for some conditions, like scars or injuries.

Customers may maintain long-lasting results by taking care of their skin and following a recommended skincare plan. Most treatment plans include one monthly microdermabrasion treatment to maintain their radiant complexion and smooth skin.

Read more: Introducing Microneedling: What You Need to Know Before Adding to Your Spa.

What does recovery look like?

There is no significant downtime or recovery time, and a person may resume their daily activities immediately. However, the skin may turn red or pink or swell a little, similar to a sunburn.

Patients must practice diligent skin and sun care routines with any treatment that removes layers of skin.

How popular is microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is widespread and has traditionally been of the most common non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the US. It has been around since 1985, offered as an alternative to traditional dermabrasion and chemical peels.

The popularity of this treatment has decreased by about 40% since 2000, with new technologies and treatments like laser skin resurfacing gaining popularity among some patients. However, in 2020, over 500,000 microdermabrasion treatments were administered in the US alone.

How profitable is microdermabrasion as a treatment option?

Microdermabrasion is one of the most profitable treatments offered in med spas. The cost of the required machines is between $6000 to $14000, while the average cost of a single treatment is $167. This means it is possible to recover the cost of the machine in about 35-85 sessions. For this reason, it is an ideal treatment to add to your spa's services as it quickly pays for itself.

Additionally, med spa revenue can be increased with add-ons such as moisturizers, serums, and sunscreens, typical products used for aftercare.

Moreover, since multiple treatments are necessary to maintain results, med spas can be sure of recurring revenue. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) estimates that most clients require anywhere between 5 to 16 microdermabrasion treatment sessions.


Microdermabrasion is an increasingly popular and profitable treatment option to add to a med spa's services. It takes less than an hour to perform and can provide quick results with minimal downtime. Microdermabrasion is a great option to draw in and retain customers by offering an affordable treatment that solves many skin concerns and pairs well with retail sales.

Need a little help getting off the ground? The Moxie team can help with every part of your microdermabrasion journey, from sourcing the right equipment to running marketing campaigns to drive more customers. Get in touch today to get started! 

Learn More About Moxie and How We Can Help You Open Your Own Med Spa >

*This article is intended to provide a general guide on what professional licenses and conditions are needed to operate a practice or perform certain treatments. This information alone does not authorize, certify, or confer the ability of anyone to perform these treatments, practice outside their scope, or violate the corporate practice of medicine.

While based on currently available information, the rules and policies on scope of practice issues and ownership can, and do, change frequently. Specific training, education, supervision, protocol and regulatory requirements will differ depending on each person's situation in their state. Therefore, each person must examine their own professional situation, skill level, regulating board guidance, and scope of practice before proceeding.

You should not act upon this information without seeking knowledgeable legal counsel that takes into account the laws of your specific jurisdiction. All uses of the content of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited.

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