Dermabrasion Vs. Microdermabrasion: What's the Difference?

I have had microdermabrasion for years. but should i get dermabrasion for longer lasting results?  what's the difference between microdermabarsion and dermabrasion?

Doctor Answers 9

Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a procedure commonly done by aestheticians. The Dermabrasion is done by physicians.

The most common way I utilize to describe them to a patient is very simple. Imagine that you buy an old table at a garage sale. This table has scratches and scrapes. These are the wrinkles. The Microdermabrasion is just applying Pledge on the table. You get a nice finish for about a week, but you still have wrinkles and sun damage. The Dermabrasion is scraping all the surface to a deeper level to be able to improve on the surface of the table. This is the best way to improve on wrinkles and sun damage.

Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Microdermabrasion versus dermabrasion

Dermabrasion does not necessarily give you longer lasting results as they are done for different reasons.

Microdermabrasion and silk peels which combine microderm with infusion of products are a light facial peel to clean out the pores, remove dead skin and rejuvenated the skin.  There is no downtime and your skin will look radiant and feel smooth for weeks to months after.

Dermabrasion is used to improve scars, especially acne scars, improve lines and even out the skin by removing skin down into the dermis.  It requires local anesthesia and you should plan for 4-5 days of laying low as it is red and oozing.  The results can be dramatic and cheeks and lips are the most common areas treated.

Michelle J. Place, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

There is almost no comparison between these two procedures. Microdermabrasion is more of a spa treatment to offer a very mild improvement in skin texture. Dermabrasion generally refers to a surgeon performed procedure that is excellent for acne scars or deep wrinkles. However, the recovery time is obviously greater for dermabrasion.

Dean Fardo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Micro is a beauty treatment, regular is surgery

There are many forms of microdermabrasion, but all of them are very superficial. A simple version could be considered "sand blasting" the skin, and cleans out pores. It is generally performed by aestheticians. True dermabrasion is when a high speed drill with a diamond bur is used to lower the level of your skin. It is a surgical procedure only performed by physicians, and does result in bleeding. It is very useful for deep lines, but it has a significant recovery period (it is very similar to a second-degree burn). I generally only use this technique around the mouth for very deep set lip-stick lines in patients undergoing full facial rejuvenation. Nothing else works quite as well in these circumstances.



Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

The difference betweem Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion...

Microdermabrasion is a light "peel" that has no downtime.  It gives you a freshened look by removing the very top layer of skin cells.  It may improve very shallow acne scarring, skin tone and lighten superficial wrinkles.  Dermabrasion is much deeper procedure as it removes the skin down to the deeper collagen layer so the skin is fully resurfaced.  Some patients have this done around their mouth to smooth out any fine or deep wrinkles or some choose to have their entire face done because of acne scarring.  The downtime is generally around 10 days, with some prolonged redness possible in some patients.  Once healed (7-10 days) you may cover up any redness with make-up.  I would consult with your plastic surgeon to see which procedure would work best for the results you are trying to achieve.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 206 reviews

Dermabrasion vs micro-dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a very effective technique to correct some scars, including acne scars. Dermabrasion works by sending down the area around a scar so that the entire surface is on the same level. Micro-dermabrasion may be performed by an aesthetician as it does not go as deep as dermabrasion and this helps avoid the risk of scarring.

After dermabrasion, your skin will appear red and may have a small amount of bleeding. This should be treated by placing Bacitracin onto the raw skin. You should also use a sunblock with at least a 50 SPF at all times as this skin is extremely sensitive to sun burning and permanent hyperpigmentation. In our practice, we also recommend that patients stay out of the sun for several months after the surgery to make sure their skin heals optimally.


Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Dermabrasion is at a greater depth

Microdermabrasion is a procedure most commonly performed by Aestheticians and involves the outermost layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum). Dermabrasion (performed by Physicians) is a much deeper treatment and removes tissue into the outer layer of the dermis (papillary dermis). Dermabrasion allows for regeneration of the epidermis and thicker collagen bundles in the dermis, which helps remove lines and wrinkles on the face.

Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing procedure and achieves depths similar to medium depth chemical peels (35% TCA). A rotating diamond fraise is used to sand away the layers of skin, making Dermabrasion more technique dependent than lasers or peels. Because Dermabrasion does cause a great deal of collateral thermal damage , patients don't experience prolonged redness typical in CO2 laser cases.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Dermabrasion vs microdermabrasion

The difference between these two procedures is all about depth of penetration into the skin. Dermabrasion actually goes down into the dermis layer and requires healing as if you had a burn. Microdermabrasion is superficial and requires no recovery but does require multiple treatments. They are for very different problems.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Dermabrasion vs Microdermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure that proceeds down to the dermis and will typically result in bleeding. It is most commonly performed by a physician. It is frequently used to manage superficial scars and contour irregularites.

Microdermabrasion is a skin care intervention that essentially exfoliates the skin in an agressive fashion using a sand blasting type technique. It should not produce bleeding and it is most commonly performed by an aesthetician. It may improve skin texture.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.