Microdermabrasion Gone Wrong: How To Avoid Unwanted Side Effects

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Microdermabrasion is a popular cosmetic procedure that is used to treat a variety of skin issues, from fine lines and wrinkles to age spots and hyperpigmentation[1]. While it can be a great way to improve the appearance and health of your skin, there is an inherent risk in any type of medical procedure.

Unfortunately, microdermabrasion isn’t immune to these risks—it too can go wrong if performed incorrectly or without proper care and attention. Learn about how microdermabrasion can go wrong, what signs you should watch out for, and what you can do about these issues if they arise.

Can Microdermabrasion Go Wrong?

microdermabrasion gone wrong old womanMicrodermabrasion is usually a safe, low-risk, and effective procedure for improving the skin’s appearance; however, it can sometimes go wrong and cause unwanted side effects.

Serious complications are rare but milder side effects such as redness, swelling, and slight discomfort can occur in the short term.

Skin discoloration and loss of natural pigmentation or increased photosensitivity may take time to develop after the treatment—this may occur if too frequent treatments are performed, or if strong pressure was applied during the procedure.

A microdermabrasion machine works by gently exfoliating the skin with a diamond-tipped wand or spinning brush head, removing dead skin cells and other buildups from the outer layers of your skin.

The diamond-tipped wand uses suction to pull gently on your skin while it polishes away the unwanted layers. This allows for professional treatments of skin care such as:

  • deep cleansing
  • acne treatments
  • pore refinement
  • sun damage
  • pigmentation reduction

How Common Are Microdermabrasion Gone Wrong Events?

Thankfully, microdermabrasion treatments that go wrong are relatively rare these days. Most reputable providers adhere to safety measures and industry standards, so the odds of being dissatisfied are low. Nevertheless, mistakes can happen and it is important to be well-informed before undergoing a procedure such as microdermabrasion.

With proper training and tools, medical professionals can perform this treatment effectively; however, it pays to do your research beforehand and always inquire about a practitioner’s experience when considering any beauty treatment—no matter how minor they might seem.

What Are The Risks Of A Microdermabrasion Gone Wrong?

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with microdermabrasion that should be taken into consideration before undergoing treatment.

microdermabrasion gone wrong face acne woman

Contact Allergies

Some patients may experience contact allergies when undergoing microdermabrasion due to the crystals used in the procedure. The most common type of crystal used is aluminum oxide, which is generally considered safe for use on the skin.

However, if you have any known allergies to metals or other substances in your environment, you should discuss them with your doctor before undergoing microdermabrasion.

Skin Conditions

Patients who have chronic skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may also experience complications from microdermabrasion due to their weakened skin barrier.

If you have one of these conditions and would like to pursue microdermabrasion, you must consult with your doctor beforehand to ensure that your condition is well-managed and that it won’t be exacerbated by the treatment.

For those who are prone to cold sores, you may also want to skip microdermabrasion treatments around the lips as it can trigger this skin infection.

Keloid Scarring

Keloid scarring occurs when an excessive amount of collagen builds up around a wound or injury site and results in a raised scar. Since microdermabrasion involves gently abrading the outer layer of skin which can cause wounds on its own, those prone to keloid scarring should avoid this treatment altogether or proceed with caution after consulting their doctor.

Inflammatory Acne

Those who suffer from inflammatory acne or cystic acne should also avoid microdermabrasion as it may further irritate already inflamed areas of the face and body. If you have severe acne on your face or body and are considering microdermabrasion, speak to your dermatologist first so they can determine what type of treatment will best suit your needs without aggravating any existing conditions.

What Are The Side Effects Of A Microdermabrasion Gone Wrong?

Side effects that microdermabrasion has gone wrong include excessive redness and irritation, extended dryness of the skin, over-exfoliation which can cause scabs and scarring, hyperpigmentation resulting in spots or patches of darker skin, infection of the treatment area due to an aggressive treatment approach, and acne flare-ups.

microdermabrasion gone wrong facial procedure white surgical gloves


One side effect of microdermabrasion gone wrong is hyperpigmentation, which is caused by an increase in melanin production following the exfoliating process. This darkening of the skin can appear as dark patches on the face or body and may occur around areas where excessive abrasion has occurred.


Another side effect of microdermabrasion gone wrong is over-exfoliation. Over-exfoliating can lead to damaged skin cells, which will make your skin more susceptible to further irritation or infection. 

Additionally, it will also make your skin more sensitive to UV rays from the sun, leading to sunburns or further discoloration of your skin tone. If you experience any redness or stinging sensations after a microdermabrasion session, contact your doctor immediately for advice on how to heal your skin properly.


Increasing breakouts is another side effect of microdermabrasion gone wrong. If this happens, it could be because too much dead skin was removed during the procedure, so avoid going back for additional sessions until any breakouts have cleared up completely. If breakouts persist over time or worsen after each session, then this could indicate an underlying issue that needs further examination by a dermatologist.

How To Avoid Microdermabrasion Gone Wrong?

Before you get any kind of cosmetic treatment, it’s essential that you understand your own skin type so you can choose a procedure that won’t harm your complexion in any way. People with sensitive skin should be extra cautious when considering microdermabrasion as it can be too aggressive for certain types of complexions.

To avoid microdermabrasion going wrong, it’s crucial to seek professional advice on the best type of treatment and to research what kind of results you can realistically expect.

Don’t forget that aggressive treatments are capable of damaging your skin if they are performed too often or without proper preparation prior to the session.

To ensure your safety, make sure to select a highly experienced specialist with positive feedback from verified reviews, and be sure to ask questions before you start any aggressive skincare procedure!

two women facial treatment procedure checking face and head microdermabrasion gone wrong

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common signs that microdermabrasion has gone wrong?

Microdermabrasion treatments are generally safe and effective, but if done incorrectly or too aggressively it can cause irritation, pain, and scarring. Common signs of an improper microdermabrasion procedure include swelling or discoloration around the treated area, excessive redness or soreness of the skin that persists longer than a few days after treatment, excessive peeling of the skin on the treated area more than two weeks after treatment and raised white bumps known as milia.

Can microdermabrasion gone wrong cause permanent damage to the skin?

Yes, microdermabrasion gone wrong can cause permanent damage to the skin. If performed incorrectly or too aggressively, it can cause bleeding and raw or irritated skin which can lead to hyperpigmentation or discoloration. Additionally, improperly using coarse crystals at high pressure during the procedure could potentially scar the dermis layer of your skin permanently.

What to do when you experience negative side effects after a microdermabrasion gone wrong?

If you experience negative side effects such as intense pain or burning that may signal an infection, the best advice is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics and/or other topical medications to reduce the symptoms associated with microdermabrasion complications. It is important to stay out of direct sunlight until the area has healed completely, as sun exposure can further irritate sensitive skin affected by the procedure. 

To help reduce discomfort and irritation, use cold compresses and moisturizers designed for sensitive skin if applicable. Avoid scrubbing or exfoliating any area of your face until after it has healed completely.

woman facial treatment with head gown microdermabrasion gone wrong


Microdermabrasion is an incredibly effective and affordable skin care treatment that can help you to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and sun damage, as well as improve your skin’s tone and texture but as with any medical procedure, risks can be involved. That’s why conducting thorough research before proceeding is important. 

We advise you to consult a certified professional whenever considering any type of treatment on your skin—from microdermabrasion down to simple exfoliation or moisturizing for everyday maintenance. After all, your skin deserves the best care you can give it!

Also, check out the other comparison review I did below for more options on facial care procedure: