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Microneedling vs. Microdermabrasion: What’s the Difference?

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There are plenty of reasons for needing skin rejuvenation. Sun damage, skin laxity, and wrinkles are all caused by a loss of structural support under your skin. This structural support is provided by the collagen and elastin proteins at the dermal layer of your skin. These proteins diminish in production as your skin ages and becomes damaged. Historically, skin rejuvenations have been achieved by partially removing damaged skin layers to cause fibrosis in more aggressive ways, like laser resurfacing or dermabrasion procedures. The fibrosis caused by these procedures would then result in skin tightening.

Microneedling and microdermabrasion are recent innovations that preserve the top epidermal layer of your skin while promoting the growth of those supporting collagen and elastin proteins underneath. Although both microdermabrasion and microneedling are effective skin care techniques for rejuvenating your complexion, they are a lot different. Read our guide to find out the differences between the two and which treatment is the right one for your skin care needs.

Whats a Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive facial treatment removes the dead or damaged cells at the skin’s epidermis. This therapeutic procedure is non-ablative and only removes your skin by buffing or exfoliating from the surface level. A microdermabrasion tool with a rough tip made up of materials such as sodium bicarbonate crystals exfoliates the skin surface and stimulates the skin. This resurfacing technique can be used on the face as well as the body.

[Related: Post-Microdermabrasion Care and Products]

What’s Microneedling

Microneedling is a minimally invasive facial procedure that uses tiny controlled punctures to the skin to encourage the skin’s healing responses. These punctures travel through the top epidermis layer of skin and “injure” the skin enough to induce collagen growth while leaving the epidermis intact. A microneedling pen made up of multiple ultra-fine needles .5 to 3mm long is used to penetrate the skin while moving across the face. This technique can be used on the face, scalp, and body.

The Difference

Besides the difference in tool and technique, the two processes achieve different levels of result. Microneedling reaches further below the skin’s surface and instigates collagen growth, while microdermabrasion treats only the skin’s top layer. 

Which is more effective

Between microneedling and microdermabrasion, microneedling is more effective at rejuvenating skin since it tightens skin without disturbing your skin’s basic architecture. This is due to the ultra-fine needles generating percutaneous collagen induction at the dermal layer without partially destroying the dermal papillae or the reticular layer. This naturally oriented approach minimizes common long-term effects seen from previous previous rejuvenation procedures like hyperpigmentation or a thinner, less resilient top-layer epidermis.

[Related: The 10 Commons Questions About Microdermabrasion and Microneedling]

Skin Issues Treated by Microdermabrasion 

Microdermabrasion is a great treatment if you’re looking to rejuvenate your skin and see immediate results. The technique is recommended for:

  • Acne scars
  • Uneven skin tone/hyperpigmentation
  • Sun spots/melasma
  • Age spots
  • Dull complexion

Skin Issues Treated by Microneedling 

Microneedling results take a bit more time to show up, since new collagen takes 3 to 6 months to fully develop. If you’re looking to treat your skin from below the surface, microneedling could be a top contender. The technique is recommended for:

  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Large pores
  • Scars
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Stretch marks
  • Hyperpigmentation

Healing and Aftercare

When healing from both types of procedures, your skin might experience tenderness, redness, light skin irritation. Since microneedling is the more intense procedure of the two, you may also experience swelling or some light bleeding with that particular treatment.

[Related: Microneedling Aftercare and Products: What to Do for Quick Healing and Great Results]

Both microdermabrasion and microneedling require similar aftercare steps. 

  • Refrain from touching your skin
  • Keep skin clean with gentle cleansers
  • Avoid soaks and hot baths
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Don’t use strong skin care products with active ingredients
  • Avoid makeup in the week or two after your treatment

Avoid both microdermabrasion and microneedling treatments if you have open wounds, cold sores, active acne flare-ups, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Contact Athré Med Spa Today!

Still unsure if microneedling or microdermabrasion is right for you? Contact Athré Med Spa today to book a consultation. We’re happy to answer any of your questions and walk you through our high-quality spa services to find the right one for you.


Featured image via Pixabay