"I hate it": Why microdermabrasion is the one treatment a dermatologist would never do.

Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular skin treatments getting around - and it's easy to see why.

It's one of those in-clinic treatments where you walk out with skin that feels clean, soft, smooth and fresh. And the GLOW. Goodness, the glow. That's why it's usually recommended as the perfect treatment right before an event.

Watch: Here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

But, according to Melbourne-based dermatologist Dr Shammi Theesan from ODE Dermatology, who is also one of the experts from our recent Skin Summit, microdermabrasion is the one skin treatment she would never recommend.

Yes, really! Don't worry, we're shocked, too.

In a recent Instagram post, she said, "Controversial, but I'm going to put it out there - this is the one treatment as a dermatologist I would never do."

She goes on to say, "It has to be microdermabrasion. I just hate it."

And we... we need to sit down.

If you haven't seen it, check it out below:


Dr Shammi describes microdermabrasion as "a temporary feel-good glow, that just destroys your skin barrier and microbiome."

Wait... WHAT.


That clean, squeaky-clean feeling we were talking about? Apparently that's a very temporary smoothing of the skin’s surface from the intense exfoliation.

While it might look and feel good for a few days, Dr Shammi said this is a good sign that you've essentially just annihilated your skin barrier.

"It's almost this metallic polish of aluminium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate that's sprayed all over your whole face and either suctioned off or you've got this metallic brush that makes you feel squeaky clean. But it's just going to worsen your skin barrier in the long-term."


And as we all know, your skin barrier is pretty darn important. It's like a 24/7 bouncer (a protective layer) outside of a club (your skin). It protects you from environmental aggressors and stops your skin from losing moisture. 

But when you mess with your skin barrier and it becomes compromised, this can cause a whole wealth of skin issues - ranging from irritation and sensitivity to acne and rosacea.

"That's how I see a lot of my new [patients] with onset rosacea and acne flare-ups," said Dr Shammi. "And you go back to the incidents - and it's a couple of microdermabrasion [sessions] thrown in."

"I think you might as well use St Ives Apricot Scrub. It's the same thing - but you're just paying a lot more money for it."


As Dr Shammi goes on to say, there are so many more options for you to put your cash to good use.

"Anything where you can buy four or get a couple free or do a deal - can't be good for your face."

Well, what can you do instead of microdermabrasion?

When it comes to what Dr Shammi does recommend, instead of opting for the manual scraping action of microdermabrasion, apparently chemical exfoliation is the way to go. 

"I love exfoliation," she said. "As we get older, we just don't have the same skin renewal enzymes as we did when we were younger."

"So, get a lactic acid [treatment] on board. If you've got more oily skin, it might [be] a potent serum like your salicylic acid."

Dr Shammi said that with consistency (and used as part of a gentle regimen), this will actually initiate change in your skin over time (including minimising the appearance of things like fine lines, acne and discolouration), without disrupting your skin barrier in the long run. 


Just keep in mind you should pick a chemical exfoliant that suits your skin type, because it's not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal.

Wanna hear more from Dr Shammi? Check out her Skin Summit interview on the best non-injectable options for your face. You can also find her on Instagram.

Did you miss The Skin Summit presented by Mamamia? Get on-demand access to the best skin experts in the world. Whether you love nerding out over a 12-step skincare routine or still use a bar of soap, the summit is the secret to the best skin of your life. Streaming directly to your couch. Catch up on-demand here →

Feature image: Instagram/@drshammitheesan,