Skin barrier changes induced by aluminum oxide and sodium chloride microdermabrasion

Dermatol Surg. 2002 May;28(5):390-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2002.01239.x.


Background: Microdermabrasion has become an extremely popular method for superficial resurfacing. Despite the popularity of this technique, published studies of skin barrier function changes following microdermabrasion are lacking.

Objective: To study assessed transepidermal water loss (TEWL), hydration, pH, and sebum production following aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and sodium chloride (NaCl) microdermabrasion.

Methods: Eight patients were included in this split face study. Transepidermal water loss, stratum corneum hydration, skin pH, and sebum production measurements were taken from the right and left sides of the face at baseline. One side of the face was treated with Al2O3 microdermabrasion and the other side with NaCl microdermabrasion. Measurements were repeated at 24 hours and 7 days.

Results: Both NaCl and Al2O3 microdermabrasion was associated with a statistically significant increase in TEWL at 24 hours. In contrast, at 7 days, levels of TEWL were decreased to less than baseline. In addition, an increase in hydration was observed 24 hours after NaCl and Al2O3 microdermabrasion. Hydration in NaCl-treated areas remained significantly increased at 7 days.

Conclusion: The results of this investigation suggest that both NaCl and Al2O3 microdermabrasion alter the epidermal barrier. These changes in epidermal barrier function may be responsible for the clinical improvement following microdermabrasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aluminum Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Aluminum Oxide / pharmacology*
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Chemexfoliation / methods*
  • Cicatrix / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / physiology


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Aluminum Oxide