Difference Between Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion


Difference Between Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion

For fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, and age spots, many individuals are turning to facial rejuvenation procedures. Two effective therapies are dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. Many people confuse microdermabrasion and dermabrasion, but in fact, these are two very different procedures. Find out more about the difference between microdermabrasion and dermabrasion.


Dermabrasion is a procedure used to scrape away the top skin layers using an electrically operated device that has a diamond-coated stainless steel wheel. This procedure is effective for removing raised and/or hypertrophic acne scars, wrinkles, and freckling. The dermabrasion treatment takes around 45-60 minutes, depending on how much skin is being treated. With dermabrasion, some type of oral sedative is used along with a local anesthetic agent. The physician passes over the skin several times using the diamond-encrusted wheel to remove skin layers.

After dermabrasion, your skin will be covered with an antibiotic cream and a dressing. The treated skin will take 5-10 days to heal, and will look swollen and red. You may have some burning and discomfort for several days, and men should not shave until the area has healed. In addition, women must avoid using any chemical agents or harsh soaps on the skin. Over the next few weeks, a crusty scab forms over the treated area. As this falls off, a pink layer of skin is revealed. You must be off from work for 2-3 weeks with dermabrasion.

In a recent clinical study, dermabrasion was found to completely remove the epidermis and penetrate the reticular dermis, which induces remodeling of the skin’s structural proteins. This technique is particularly effective for removing acne scarring.


Microdermabrasion is a method where the technician or physician sandblasts the skin using aluminum oxide crystals or a diamond-tipped wand device. The procedure removes the top epidermis layer of dead skin cells, but doesn’t go as deep as dermabrasion. With microdermabrasion, the skin is rejuvenated and superficial scars and spots are removed. Microdermabrasion treatments are very mild, with no recovery time. This is why it is called the lunchtime peel.

With the microdermabrasion procedure, the technician positions you on the procedure table and cleans the skin. The small device is slowly moved over the face several passes, and this feels like a scratching sensation. After removing the skin cells via suction, a moisturizer with sunscreen is applied to the face. You should avoid any chemical agents or harsh soaps for a few days. It takes 3-12 treatments of microdermabrasion for best results. This will depend on your individual problems.

In a recent study involving 50 patients with acne cars, 95% of patients showed an effective response after 10 microdermabrasion treatments. In terms of satisfaction, the majority of participants said they would have the procedure again.

Candidates for the Procedures

With dermabrasion, the best candidates are younger people with light to medium skin tone. Older people’s skin will heal more slowly, and people with dark skin tones have a greater risk of uneven pigmentation after the procedure. Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, can be used on old and young persons, and individuals of any skin color. People with fine lines, age spots, clogged pores, minor scars, and skin texture problems are all good candidates for microdermabrasion. The best candidates for dermabrasion are people with deeper wrinkling, moderate acne scarring, and more progressive sun damage.


Alkhawam L & Alam M (2009).Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. Facial Plastic Surgery, 25(5):301–310.

Arora S (2014). A Study of Efficacy of Microdermabrasion in Treatment of Facial Acne Scars.International Journal of Medical and Dental Research, 1(2).

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