Microdermabrasion vs Microneedling

Microdermabrasion vs Microneedling

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If you’re still torn between microdermabrasion vs microneedling, you’re in the right place. when it comes to rejuvenating your skin and achieving that coveted youthful glow, there’s no shortage of treatments to choose from. Two popular options that often come up in discussions about skincare are microdermabrasion and microneedling. These treatments may sound similar, but they serve distinct purposes and yield unique results. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between microdermabrasion and microneedling, helping you decide which one might be right for you.

What Is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive skincare procedure that focuses on the outermost layer of your skin, called the stratum corneum. This treatment uses a handheld device that emits tiny crystals or employs a diamond-tipped wand to get rid of dead skin cells and impurities from the skin’s surface. The primary goals of microdermabrasion are to:

How Does It Work?

Microdermabrasion works by exfoliating the skin’s surface, effectively buffing away dead skin cells and stimulating circulation. The handheld device uses either crystals or a diamond-tipped wand to achieve this exfoliation. As the device is moved across the skin, it vacuums away the exfoliated skin cells, leaving your skin feeling smoother and looking brighter. This process not only helps with exfoliation but also encourages collagen production, which can lead to improved skin texture over time.

What Is Microdermabrasion Good for?

Microdermabrasion is a versatile treatment that can address a variety of skin imperfections. Generally, it is used for overall skin rejuvenation, but it is effective in targeting the following conditions: 

Dull Skin

Microdermabrasion is excellent for revitalizing dull and tired-looking skin. By sweeping off dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new ones, it can leave your skin with a fresh and radiant appearance.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

While not a substitute for more invasive treatments like dermal fillers or Botox, microdermabrasion can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles appearance, especially those caused by sun damage and aging.

Uneven Skin Tone and Texture

If you have uneven skin tone, mild acne scars, or rough texture, microdermabrasion can help improve these issues over a series of treatments. It promotes a more even and smoother complexion.

Clogged Pores

Microdermabrasion can effectively clear clogged pores, reducing the risk of acne breakouts. It’s a popular choice for those with acne-prone skin.

Sun Damage and Age Spots

If you have sunspots or age spots, microdermabrasion can help fade them over time, leading to a more even skin tone.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Microdermabrasion?

While microdermabrasion is a generally safe and versatile skincare procedure, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some individuals may not be ideal candidates for microdermabrasion due to specific skin conditions or other factors. Here’s a closer look at who should avoid or be cautious about undergoing microdermabrasion:

Individuals who are/have;

  • Active acne or unhealed skin lesions
  • Skin conditions like rosacea or eczema
  • History of Keloid Scarring
  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding
  • History of Skin Sensitivity
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

What to Expect During a Microdermabrasion Session 

If you’re considering a microdermabrasion treatment to rejuvenate your skin, it’s essential to understand what happens during a typical session. Here’s what you can expect during a microdermabrasion session:

Consultation and Skin Assessment

Your session will usually begin with a consultation with a licensed skincare professional or an esthetician. They will assess your skin type, specific concerns, and goals for the treatment. This assessment helps determine the level of abrasiveness and the number of sessions you may need.


Before the microdermabrasion procedure starts, your skin will be cleansed thoroughly to eliminate any makeup, oils, or impurities. This step ensures that the treatment can penetrate the skin effectively.

Eye Protection

To shield your eyes from any stray crystals or debris, you’ll be provided with protective goggles or eyewear. Safety is a top priority during the procedure.

Microdermabrasion Application

The practitioner will use a handheld device that emits either tiny crystals or a diamond-tipped wand. This device is gently moved across your skin’s surface. The abrasion process works to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells.


You may feel a mild scratching or vibrating sensation as the device exfoliates your skin. However, the procedure is generally not painful. Some people compare it to a light sandpaper feeling.

Vacuum Suction

Simultaneously, the microdermabrasion device suctions away the exfoliated skin cells and debris. This suction not only enhances the exfoliation process but also stimulates blood flow to the treated area.

Targeted Areas

The practitioner may focus on specific areas of concern, such as fine lines, wrinkles, or areas with uneven texture. They will adjust the intensity and duration of the treatment accordingly.

Cooling and Calming

After the microdermabrasion treatment, a soothing and calming skincare product may be applied to your skin. This helps reduce any redness or irritation that may occur temporarily after the procedure.

Sunscreen Application

It’s crucial to protect your newly exfoliated skin from the sun. Your practitioner will likely apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to shield your skin from UV damage. They may also provide post-treatment care instructions, including recommendations for skincare products and sun protection.

Return to Normal Activities

One of the advantages of microdermabrasion is that there’s minimal to no downtime. You can usually resume your usual day-to-day activities after the session. However, it’s essential to avoid sun exposure and harsh skincare products for a few days after the session.

Follow-Up Sessions

While you may notice some improvement in your skin’s texture and appearance after a single session, most people benefit from a series of treatments for optimal results. Your provider will discuss the recommended treatment plan with you based on your skincare goals.

What Is Microneedling?

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Microneedling is a cosmetic treatment used to improve the appearance of the skin. It utilizes a device called a dermaroller or a microneedling pen that has ultra fine needles. These needles are used to create tiny, controlled injuries or micro-injuries in the top layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, and the underlying layer, the dermis.

How Does It Work?

It works by creating controlled micro-injuries using a device equipped with fine needles, such as a dermaroller or microneedling pen. These fine needles gently puncture the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and the underlying dermis. This process triggers the skin’s natural wound-healing response. In response to these micro-injuries, the body produces increased amounts of collagen, a crucial protein responsible for skin elasticity and structure. 

As collagen production intensifies, the skin becomes firmer, smoother, and more youthful in appearance. Over time, this can result in a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and other skin imperfections. Furthermore, the micro-injuries created by microneedling enhance the skin’s ability to absorb topical skincare products, allowing them to penetrate more deeply and be more effective in promoting healthier skin.

What Is Microneedling Good for?

Like microdermabrasion, microneedling can also address a wide variety of skin conditions. Here are some skin conditions it usually addresses:

Acne Scars

Microneedling is highly effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars, including those that are pitted or raised. By stimulating collagen production, it helps to smooth out scar tissue and improve skin texture.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

This procedure is a valuable option for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, particularly those caused by the natural aging process and sun damage. Microneedling enhances skin elasticity, leading to a reduction in the depth of wrinkles.

Skin Texture

If you have uneven or rough skin texture, this treatment can help refine it. The treatment promotes a smoother and more consistent skin surface.


Microneedling can fade areas of hyperpigmentation, including sunspots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, resulting in a more even skin tone.

Stretch Marks

It’s also effective in improving the appearance of stretch marks, particularly when they are newer and have a reddish or pinkish hue.

Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Microneedling?

Microneedling, like microdermabrasion, is a cosmetic procedure that is generally safe and effective for many individuals. However, there are certain situations and skin conditions where microneedling may not be a suitable option. Here are some factors that may make someone not a good candidate for microneedling:

  • Active Acne Breakouts
  • Skin Infections 
  • Open Wounds
  • Keloidal Skin
  • Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Skin Cancer
  • Recent Sunburn
  • Pregnancy
  • Recent Use of Certain Medications

What to Expect During a Microneedling Treatment

Before going into a microneedling procedure, it’s always best to get an idea of what will happen during the course of treatment. Here’s what you can expect during a microneedling treatment. 

Consultation and Skin Assessment

Your microneedling journey commences with a comprehensive consultation conducted by a skilled skincare professional or an experienced esthetician. During this initial assessment, your unique skin type, specific concerns, and desired outcomes will be thoroughly discussed. 

This information forms the basis for tailoring the microneedling treatment to meet your individual needs, including determining the appropriate depth and intensity of the procedure and establishing the recommended number of sessions to achieve your skincare objectives.


Before the microneedling procedure begins, your skin will undergo a meticulous cleansing process to remove any makeup, oils, or impurities. This crucial initial step ensures that the microneedling treatment can penetrate your skin effectively, maximizing its benefits.

Topical Anesthesia

Depending on the anticipated depth of microneedling and your personal comfort level, a topical numbing cream may be applied. This numbing agent helps minimize any potential discomfort during the procedure, ensuring that you have a comfortable and pain-free experience.

Microneedling Application

The heart of the treatment involves the use of a specialized microneedling device equipped with fine needles. This device can take the form of a dermaroller or a microneedling pen. The practitioner will carefully and gently move the device across your skin, ensuring an even and consistent application to the designated treatment area.


As the microneedling device creates controlled micro-injuries in your skin, you may experience a mild pricking or tingling sensation. However, due to the application of topical anesthesia, most individuals find the procedure to be relatively comfortable. Some liken the sensation to a gentle, tolerable prickling.

Targeted Areas

Depending on your specific skincare concerns, the practitioner may focus on particular areas, such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, or areas with uneven texture. The depth and intensity of the microneedling will be adjusted accordingly, tailored to the areas being treated and your unique skin care requirements.

Cooling and Calming

Following the microneedling session, a soothing and calming skincare product is typically applied to your skin. This essential step helps alleviate any temporary redness or irritation that may occur immediately after the procedure. Additionally, your practitioner may provide recommendations for post-treatment skincare products to enhance and prolong the results.

Sunscreen Application

Protection from UV damage is crucial post-microneedling. Your practitioner will likely apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to safeguard your newly treated skin from the sun’s harmful rays. You may also receive post-treatment care instructions, including guidance on skincare products and sun protection.

Downtime and Recovery

Although microneedling downtime is minimal, you may experience slight redness and mild swelling immediately following the procedure. These effects typically subside within a day or two. Most individuals can resume their regular activities on the same day or the day after the procedure. However, it’s crucial to avoid sun exposure and harsh skincare products for a few days to allow your skin to heal optimally.

Follow-Up Sessions

While you may notice some improvement in skin texture and appearance after a single microneedling session, the most significant and enduring results are usually achieved through a series of treatments. Your practitioner will discuss a recommended treatment plan tailored to your skincare goals and specific concerns.

So, What is More Effective? Microdermabrasion vs Microneedling

Determining whether microneedling or microdermabrasion is more effective depends on your specific skin care goals and the concerns you aim to address. Both treatments offer unique benefits and are effective for different purposes. 

Effectiveness of Microneedling

  • Skin Rejuvenation: Microneedling is highly effective for skin rejuvenation. It stimulates collagen and elastin production, which leads to firmer, smoother, and more youthful-looking skin.
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles: It’s highly beneficial for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, including those caused by aging and sun damage.
  • Acne Scars: It can significantly improve the appearance of acne scars, including atrophic (indented) scars, by promoting collagen remodeling.
  • Skin Texture: It enhances skin texture, making it a valuable treatment for those with uneven skin tone or rough texture.
  • Skin Tightening: It offers noticeable skin tightening effects, which can be especially beneficial for individuals with mild sagging skin.
  • Stretch Marks: It can help fade the appearance of stretch marks by promoting collagen and elastin production.

Effectiveness of Microdermabrasion

  • Exfoliation: Microdermabrasion is highly effective for exfoliating the skin’s surface, removing dead skin cells, and promoting a fresher complexion.
  • Dull Skin: It is excellent for revitalizing dull and tired-looking skin, leaving it with a refreshed and radiant appearance.
  • Clogged Pores: Microdermabrasion effectively clears clogged pores, reducing the risk of acne breakouts. It’s a popular choice for those with acne-prone skin.
  • Sun Damage and Age Spots: It can help fade sunspots or age spots over time, leading to a more even skin tone.
  • Minimal Downtime: Microdermabrasion typically has minimal downtime, allowing you to resume your daily activities immediately after the session.


The choice between microneedling and microdermabrasion comes down to your specific skin care goals and preferences. They are both effective treatments that can address a wide range of skin concerns, but it’s best to consult with a licensed professional or a dermatologist who can assess your skin, discuss your goals, and recommend the best treatment for you. 

At Continental Lifestyle Medicine, we have a team of professionals who can help you find the right skincare procedure based on your skin type and concerns. Schedule a consultation to learn more!

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