Microdermabrasion is a skin rejuvenation procedure that has been used in the United States since the mid-1990s, so medical providers and many patients are familiar with it. In fact, less extensive types of microdermabrasion can be performed at spas and even at home. Microneedling is a much newer alternative that is rapidly gaining popularity because of it's many benefits. So, what's the difference between microneedling and microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion exfoliates surface skin
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says this is one of the top five non-surgical procedures performed by medical providers. Using a mechanical device, the provider treats the skin surface with an ablative material such as sodium bicarbonate crystals to scrub off dead and dull surface skin cells. The device simultaneously uses suction, to stimulate circulation in the skin. The result is smoother looking skin.
Because microdermabrasion is non-invasive, there is little to no discomfort with the procedure. Treatments take between 30 and 60 minutes and there is no downtime afterward, so this is sometimes called the “lunch hour” procedure. Microdermabrasion is used to reduce the appearance of pore size, fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, stretch marks, and acne scars on many parts of the body. It is suitable for most – but not all – skin types.
Medical microdermabrasion produces the deepest results because providers can use medical grade equipment and products. However, many aesthetic spas can perform a “lighter” variation of the procedure that is relaxing and can produce visible – but more subtle – results. There are also over-the-counter microdermabrasion products and kits available for use at home. These produce the least visible results.
Microneedling stimulates new skin
The microneedling process reaches skin below the surface. The procedure creates many microscopic punctures in the skin’s outer layers. This is sometimes called collagen induction therapy because the process stimulates the body’s production of collagen and elastin during the wound healing response. It is used to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, and stretch marks on the body.
Initially, microneedling was delivered via a dermal roller, a small device embedded with tiny surgical steel needles that are rolled over the treatment area. Dermarollers have also been promoted for at-home use, especially to reduce acne scars, but the process is painful and not very effective.
The SkinPen® microneedling device has revolutionized microneedling, offering improved results compared to dermarollers. SkinPen® is more sanitary because it uses disposable needle cartridges. It's physical design enables clinicians to easily reach small areas. Microneedling sessions are short and require little downtime.
With SkinPen®, the microneedling procedure combines state-of-the-art technology with advanced skin care products specifically formulated to enhance the patient’s experience. Post-procedure products contain essential ingredients that lubricate, soothe, and nourish the skin. Equally important, they are free of ingredients that could interfere with healing. As a result, these products work as a catalyst to help the skin’s tiny wounds heal faster.
One of microneedling’s greatest advantages is that it is safe and effective for every skin type. Patients considering either microneedling or microdermabrasion should consult with a qualified, experienced provider to learn more.