Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is a painless, noninvasive, skin-rejuvenation procedure using a combination of a fine abrasive tip or crystals and vacuum suction applied to the skin. There are no needles or anesthetics required for microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion should not be confused with dermabrasion which is an invasive surgical procedure performed typically by dermatologists or plastic surgeons under local or general anesthesia. Dermabrasion is a procedure for deeper acne scars. Dermabrasion requires anesthesia and would be too painful otherwise.
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What are dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?
Dermabrasion vs. microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion produces substantial changes in the appearance of the skin by injuring it in a controlled manner using an abrasive. Dermabrasion is most often used to treat certain types of scarring and aged skin. Other options that produce similar results include laser surgery, moderate to deep skin peels, and the injection of fillers. Most often the facial skin is treated, but skin at any site can be treated. Dermabrasion is performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Microdermabrasion is a nonsurgical technique that affects only the superficial dead layer of the skin, producing transient changes. Microdermabrasion is often administered by nonphysician professionals.
Who is a candidate for dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?
Dermabrasion produces controlled skin damage involving the deeper layers of the skin. The resulting wound heals with a scar that is cosmetically superior to what was there originally. The conditions that seem to respond best to this approach include acne scarring, traumatic scars, rhinophyma (nose enlargement in rosacea), wrinkles, tattoo removal, and actinic keratoses (very early stage of skin cancer). Currently, there are other available modalities, including laser surgery, which are more popular and probably more effective because they seem to be more controllable. Lighter-skinned individuals generally get more reliable results because they are less likely to develop increased pigmentation after the procedure. Patients who have recently been treated with isotretinoin (Accutane) should avoid dermabrasion for at least six months.
Microdermabrasion is a technique that affects only the most superficial layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. This layer is composed of dead horny cells that are exfoliated by this procedure. This procedure is safe for most people because it should not produce any significant damage to the skin. Patients who have an active skin disease such as acne should not receive treatment to the affected skin.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/13/2016