Microdermabrasion: a clinical, histometric, and histopathologic study

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016 Dec;15(4):503-513. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12252. Epub 2016 Jun 29.


Background: Microdermabrasion is a nonchemical superficial resurfacing procedure that removes the stratum corneum. Because it is a somewhat subtle procedure, it may be difficult to demonstrate its cosmetic benefit.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of microdermabrasion in treatment of melasma, postacne scarring, striae distensae, and photoaging by a series of microdermabrasion sittings through clinical, histometric, and histopathologic analysis.

Patients and methods: The study was conducted on 38 patients constituting four groups (melasma, acne scars, striae destinsae, and photoaging), each patient was subjected to a series of 8 microdermabrasion treatments performed at 1-week interval. Punch biopsies, at base line, 1 week after the 4th and the 8th session, were obtained from each subject for histometric and histopathologic analysis.

Results: Clinically, the improvement in melasma, acne scars, and striae distensae groups was mainly mild to moderate, while in photoaging group was mainly mild. Histometric analysis of epidermal thickness showed insignificant changes in all groups. Histopathologically, decreased melanization and regular distribution of melanosomes in the epidermis were noted in melasma group while increased density of collagen fibers with more regular arrangement in collagen bundles was detected in all candidates of acne scars, striae distensae, and photoaging groups. Meanwhile, Orcein stain did not show any significant changes in elastic fibers.

Conclusions: Microdermabrasion is an easy and safe technique. In this study, most cases showed mild to moderate improvement. Decreased melanization with regular distribution of melanosomes and increased collagen density with regular arrangement of collagen bundles were the most common observed histologic changes.

Keywords: acne scars; melasma; microdermabrasion; photoaging; striae distensae.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / surgery*
  • Dermabrasion / methods*
  • Dermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanosis / pathology
  • Melanosis / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Aging* / pathology
  • Striae Distensae / pathology
  • Striae Distensae / surgery*
  • Young Adult