Background: Microdermabrasion is a popular method of superficial skin resurfacing. It is unclear if dermal remodeling actually occurs.
Objective: To rigorously investigate the molecular alterations observed following a single microdermabrasion treatment.
Methods: Forty-nine subjects received a single microdermabrasion treatment to buttock skin. Serial in vivo biochemical and immunohistological analyses were performed. Reverse transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry assays were used to evaluate changes in transcription factors (AP-1, NF-kappaB), primary cytokines (interleukin-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-9), barrier repair enzymes (acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase), and type I procollagen. Results Elevation of transcription factors, primary cytokines, and matrix metalloproteinases occurs rapidly after a single microdermabrasion treatment. Two of 11 subjects also demonstrated increased type I procollagen messenger RNA and protein levels 14 days after treatment. No alteration in stratum corneum thickness was detected.
Conclusion: Microdermabrasion activates a dermal remodeling/wound healing cascade with minimal epidermal disruption. Evidence now exists to further study manipulation of variables such as number and timing of microdermabrasion sessions.