Microdermabrasion: a molecular analysis following a single treatment

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Feb;52(2):215-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2004.10.008.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / biosynthesis
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Buttocks
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Dermabrasion / methods*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / biosynthesis
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / genetics
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / biosynthesis*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Procollagen / biosynthesis
  • Procollagen / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Wound Healing / genetics


  • Cytokines
  • Procollagen
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase