Just want to allay your fears re: microdermabrasion and those horror stories --- my guess is that many of these stories are from people who had the diamond crystal spray kind of microdermabrasion done by poorly trained salon staff and/or they are confusing microdermabrasion with more invasive procedures which are also sometimes done by beauty salons. The diamond crystal spray microdermabrasion is the old fashioned method which sprayed crystals on the skin and then sucked up the crystals and dead skin. It was sometimes hard to gauge how intense the spray was, especially by those not properly trained, which resulted in abraded skin...hence horror stories! Unfortunately this method is still in use by beauty salons since it is cheaper to buy and operate the equipment.
I have microdermabrasions done at my derm's office by professionally trained and certified clinicians. The microdermabrasions are done with a diamond tip that is slowly rubbed over the skin and the dead skin is sucked up with a mild vacuum. There is no spray or anything that can abrade the skin. The microdermabrasion also dislodges plugged up pores and pulls out the plugs. My skin is nicely pink after a procedure and I go right to work. My skin feels great...like it can breathe! The first several times I got microdermabrasions while my skin was still recovering from the cysts I had a bit more redness but it was only where deeper plugs had been dislodged and it was totally tolerable...just redness that went away in a day. The only other thing I got in the beginning were a couple of whiteheads afterwards which the clinicians said were due to very plugged up pores coming to the surface. These were totally okay too since they were nothing like a cyst and went away in a day or two. I have not had any cysts...not even one...since starting the microdermabrasions along with the regime below. I feel very strongly that correctly done microdermabrasions are key to healthy skin for those of us who gets lots of cysts. My skin looks incredible now...smooth, clear skin. It is like my skin returned to how it was before I had acne. I don't think meds or diet alone would do this. It takes something like microdermabrasion to help the skin renew itself and build up collagen. My derm says that cystic prone skin does not function correctly...it does not shed properly and is prone to forming sticky plugs so getting regular microdermabrasions helps.
I have to admit that it took me a couple of months before I was brave eneough to do the microdermabrasions because I too had read all those horror stories! And some of them were even current horror stories. But after talking with my derm I learned more about the different kinds of procedures and hence the confusion...which is too bad because correctly done microdermabrasion is wonderful. And he says it is an outright lie that microdermabrasion does not help acne...another internet myth that is often cited. He says microdermabrasion is good for acne prone skin, especially skin that has had the ravaging effects of cysts.
Hope this helps!