Microdermabrasion is a brilliant way to freshen up the look of your skin – but, if you don’t want to end up potentially red and itchy – or undo some of the anti-ageing effects of the treatment that you’re paying for, you’re going to need to know the rules on exercise after microdermabrasion.
So, we asked the experts – can you go to the gym after microdermabrasion, and if not, why not? And is there anything else you need to know about exercise and microderm…
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What is Microdermabrasion?
It’s a skin rejuvenation treatment – basically, a way of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin revealing a new layer of brighter skin cells underneath.
There are a couple of different types you might be offered…
Crystal dermabrasion uses very, very fine crystal particles, usually of a type of aluminium, that are gently blasted onto the skin which helps dislodge the dead skin cells, the crystals – and skin cells – are then sucked back up a tube. It’s a bit like having your face sandblasted, then vacuumed.
Diamond tip microdermabrasion uses a wand tipped with a diamond-coated tip to exfoliate the skin.
Both treatments will leave your face a little bit pink and warm, but otherwise, there are no major physical effects immediately after microdermabrasion.
You might get a little flaking or peeling in the days that follow, and some people might find their skin breaks out a little, but otherwise, there are should be no real negative effects after your appointment.
Benefits of Microdermabrasion
Brighter skin. This is why I love microderm, no skincare product gives a glow like it. The skin renews itself about every 28 days – although as you get older that period gets a bit longer. Dead skin cells don’t reflect light very well and so, removing them reveals new, more luminous skin below.
On top of this, the pressure applied to the skin, particularly in the suction form of microdermabrasion can also help stimulate collagen production in the skin helping keep it plump, healthy and potentially younger looking.
In fact, after just one session of microdermabrasion, one study revealed clear changes in the skin that showed an increase in activity in the collagen forming process.
Microdermabrasion can also unclog pores, dead skin cells do love to block these up, and can help treat pigmentation, acne or mild acne scarring.
It also helps your skincare work better. Skin is more permeable after microdermabrasion and any treatment-based products are likely to be more effective. In fact, doctors are actually treating skin with microdermabrasion before prescribing some topical medications as they think it will also help these work more effectively. How cool is that?
So, now you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it – let’s get to the question you came here for…
Can You Exercise After Microdermabrasion?
To answer this, I decided it was time to bring in the experts and so I asked the question to two of them.
First up Desa Radojevic, Aesthetic Therapist at Stratum Clinics (they have branches all over the UK). Desa suggests a 24-hour gap between microdermabrasion and your next workout, ‘Microdermabrasion isn’t an invasive treatment, so whilst we wouldn’t expect your skin to react too adversely, it is a mechanical exfoliation of the skin and your skin is likely to be more sensitive after it.
For that reason, it’s best to avoid anything that raises your body temperature and might bring a sweat on. Excessive perspiration may irritate your skin and so exercising soon after isn’t recommended.
Plus, after having a treatment that unclogs your pores you don’t want to then ruin your gorgeous radiant skin with a sweaty workout – you want to feel the effects of the products we use for as long as possible.
Also if you have had an extraction done, the skin is broken so, in essence, is an open wound and therefore it’s best to keep your face as clean as possible and avoid contamination.’
My second expert is Milena Naydenov, the Lead Aesthetic Therapist & Educator at 111 Harley St in London. and she too says a break from the gym after microdermabrasion is a must.
‘I’d suggest avoiding exercise for 48 hours. Microdermabrasion exfoliates the stratum corneum, so it can take the epidermis 24 to 48 hours to regenerate and repair. During that time the skin may become more sensitive and reactive and may get red easily. If working out perspiration could feel uncomfortable from the sweat and touching the face to wipe it off could introduce bacteria.’
If you really can’t handle sitting still, gentle exercise like walking, yoga (not hot yoga), Pilates or stretching should be okay.
What About Swimming After Microdermabrasion?
You don’t really sweat when you swim, so does that make it okay? Erm, no!
‘Swimming should also be avoided for 24 hours after treatment in case your skin reacts negatively to the chlorine and also as previously mentioned your face will have more open pores and so you don’t want to run the risk of getting an infection. Although on the whole, this would be a very small risk,’ says Desa.
So, there you have it – why you need to avoid vigorous exercise and swimming after microdermabrasion…. but, what about before your session, do you need to skip the gym then too?
Can You Exercise Before Microdermabrasion?
Both of our experts said that exercise before microdermabrasion was totally fine but if you’re a swimmer mention your session to your therapist. ‘Swimming can dry the skin out so needs to be mentioned to the beauty therapist pre-treatment so they can adjust the settings of the microdermabrasion machine,’ says Milena.
Sun Exposure After Microdermabrasion
Okay, this bit is for the outside exercisers – the runners, the cyclists and outdoor swimmers. Wear sunscreen.
Hopefully, if you prefer to exercise outdoors, then you’re already doing this but, if not, then it should definitely become part of your routine now as sun after microdermabrasion is bad (m’kay).
‘Microdermabrasion removes dead skin, revealing the soft, new skin underneath. The movements we’ve made on the skin can make it more sensitive and irritated, so this new skin is particularly susceptible to the harmful rays of the sun,’ says Desa ‘With the increase in photosensitivity, direct sunlight exposure should be avoided for at least 24 hours following the treatment and, after this, make sure you apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater to prevent the UV rays causing hyperpigmentation or damaging the skin.’
Now, if you’re like me, you might be greeting this news with displeasure – I hate wearing sunscreen when I run as, when I sweat, I find it gets into my eyes and it stings. One brand I’ve found that doesn’t do this is the La Roche Posey Anithelios range- and they also do really handy small flat bottles of sunscreen that fit in a Fuelbelt if you’re going on a really long run, walk or cycle and might need to top up your sunscreen while out.
Click here to check out their site in the US
Or go here for their UK site.
If you’re in the US, you might also, want to look at Endurance Shield which was actually formulated by triathletes so you know that’s not going to do anything that gets in the way of your training.
Anything Else to Avoid Before or After Microderm
‘In addition to avoiding exercise, you should refrain from sauna’s and hot tubs – anything that can make you sweat and hot after your treatment. We’d also recommend you avoid any kind of hair removal on your face whether it’s waxing, use of depilatory creams, electrolysis or laser hair removal,’ says Desa.
‘We’d also check what medication our clients are taking as we wouldn’t do microderm on clients taking the drug Roaccutane for example. We also wouldn’t perform microderm after any form of laser procedure on the face (whether that’s IPL for thread veins or pigmentation) and we wouldn’t do microderm before micro-needling or after a chemical peel.’
Milena also has a list for things to be careful of before and after your appointment. ‘Before your session, you should avoid the use of Retin-A, Renova, alpha or beta hydroxyl acid products and all forms of scrubs for at least 24 hours before a treatment. Avoid tanning beds for at least one week. You shouldn’t have a session within a week of any aggressive cosmetic procedure, two weeks for filler and botox.
After treatment, avoid the use of Retin-A, Renova, alpha or beta hydroxyl acid products and all forms of scrubs for 3 – 7 days. Avoid tanning beds for a week, also avoid waxing the skin.’
What’s the Difference Between Microdermabrasion And Dermabrasion?
Dermabrasion uses more intense methods, either a rotating wire brush or a more powerful diamond-tipped wand, to resurface the skin – it’s used to help treat issues like acne scars or deeper lines and wrinkles.
It’s a much more invasive process than microdermabrasion and should be carried out by a cosmetic doctor or plastic surgeon. It’s is done under a local anaesthetic and will actually break the skin as part of the process.
Because of this, the recovery process for dermabrasion is far longer than that of microdermabrasion and the rules of exercising after dermabrasion are much stricter.
You shouldn’t exercise vigorously for at least two weeks after dermabrasion to prevent irritation and the risk of bacteria entering the open skin which might lead to infection.
On top of that, you shouldn’t lift weights or do yoga inversions, or anything else that might put pressure on the skin and interfere with healing.
If this is sending you into a panic, head over to this post on exercise after microblading (which also needs a long break) where fitness trainer Julia Buckley, gives some reassuring tips on what a longer break actually means to fitness and how to start back afterwards.
It’s also essential to wear sunscreen after dermabrasion as the skin will be extremely sensitive to sun damage.
So there you have it, the rules for exercising after microdermabrasion and dermabrasion. If you have any more questions please drop them in the comments and I’ll see if I can get the experts to answer them.
If you’re planning any other cosmetic procedures there might also be some rules around those you need to follow, so check out all of our ‘when can you exercise’ guides here.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.