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Microneedling v Microdermabrasion: Pros and Cons

  • 6 min read

If you’re searching for a treatment to improve the texture and appearance of your skin, you are probably considering microneedling and microdermabrasion as possible solutions to address your concerns. Both treatments entered the aesthetic market in the 1990s, but microneedling has increased in popularity recently.

How do these two powerful skin improvement treatments differ, and how do you know which is right for you?

What Is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure using tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the top layer of the skin. The minor damage these punctures in the skin create help stimulate the body’s healing process, producing more collagen and elastin, the natural proteins in our bodies that maintain firmness and smoothness in the skin. 

One substantial benefit of microneedling is that it can treat areas of thin skin, such as around the eyes and the neck. Though microneedling can produce permanent results, it typically requires three to four treatment sessions to achieve desired results from microneedling. Because it does not risk skin discoloration like some laser or energy treatments, it is ideal for people with darker skin tones.

At HerSpace MedSpa, we offer SkinPen by Crown Aesthetics, the first FDA-cleared microneedling device on the market. Unlike most alternatives, SkinPen has been clinically shown to be effective for women and men with skin types ranging from light to very dark. Likewise, SkinPen’s mechanical process is less abrasive than harsh peels. It is usable year-round and great for patients with a busy schedule.

What Happens During A Microneedling Treatment?

Microneedling is an outpatient procedure that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours depending on the extent of your skin’s condition and the size of the treated area. A numbing cream is applied 30 to 45 minutes before your procedure. 

During your microneedling procedure, an electric tool with tiny needles makes tiny wounds on your skin. These needles pulse up and down to puncture your skin. Your provider can tailor their length to suit your needs. The needle length ranges from .5 to 2 millimeters. Longer needles go further into your skin to correct deeper skin conditions such as deep acne scars.

During the procedure, you may feel some warmth and a scratching sensation. You may feel slight discomfort when the treatment is in areas with bone. If you are getting a deep microneedling treatment, it’s normal to experience some slight bleeding.

It’s normal for skin to be red or swollen immediately after your treatment, but it should settle down naturally within a week. It is a very safe procedure, but risks can include minor bruising, scarring, or skin infection.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Microneedling?

Microneedling can is effective for both cosmetic and medical purposes. Reasons people consider the minimally invasive treatment include:

  • Fine lines or wrinkles
  • Loose skin
  • Acne scars
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Stretch marks
  • Enlarged pores

What Is Microdermabrasion? 

Microneedling and microdermabrasion are both minimally invasive procedures to improve the appearance and texture of the skin.  However, microdermabrasion does not involve the use of needles. Rather than needles, microdermabrasion uses a specialized, rough-edged object to exfoliate the uppermost layer of skin. It treats this top layer to increase circulation and remove dead and dull skin cells. 

What Happens During A Microdermabrasion Treatment?

Microdermabrasion is often called a “lunch hour” procedure, as it typically takes about 50 minutes and does not require any sort of anesthesia or numbing treatment. By using an exfoliation device with an abrasive surface, microdermabrasion involves gently sanding the top layer of the skin to rejuvenate it. This specialized device also suctions the skin during the procedure, promoting circulation and removing dead skin cell buildup to reveal glowing skin. 

Microdermabrasion facials include no downtime, but it’s normal to experience minor bruising after treatment. 

The treatment includes skin evaluation, double cleanse, microdermabrasion to the face and neck, light manual extractions, Hydrojelly mask, facial massage, and shoulder massage. 

Who Is A Good Candidate For Microdermabrasion?

People may consider microdermabrasion to address skin concerns such as:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Acne or acne scarring
  • Melasma 
  • Sun damage
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Issues with skin texture 
  • Stretch marks
  • Dead, dull-looking skin

Benefits of microneedling:

  • No downtime
  • Used on most skin types
  • Help minimize stretch marks
  • Effective in reducing the appearance of scars, including acne and burn scars
  • Can address aging signs such as wrinkles
  • No risk of skin discoloration, unlike some laser treatments 
  • Used on areas with thin skin
  • Can treat alopecia
  • Helpful with hyperhidrosis, or over-sweating
  • Results are longer lasting than microdermabrasion
  • Naturally produces collagen, promoting long-lasting firmness for up to 6 months
  • Used to treat the face, scalp, hands, and body

Cons of microneedling:

  • Most people need 2-5 treatment sessions about a month apart, causing results to take a while to become noticeable.
  • May cause the skin to flake while it heals
  • Deeper treatments may cause bleeding or bruising
  • In rare instances, may cause scars 
  • Though chances are minimal, may cause infection as there is a chance of germs entering the micro injuries

Benefits of microdermabrasion:

  • Improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin
  • Help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles 
  • Can address acne scarring
  • Can reduce pore size
  • Removes dead skin cells to improve dull complexions
  • Increases circulation
  • Can help treat age spots

Cons of microdermabrasion:

  • No penetration of the deeper layers of skin, so unable to treat deep acne scarring
  • Limited to the face and body, while microneedling has a wide range of applications
  • Results are not as long-lasting as microneedling
  • May cause increased skin sensitivity to sunlight.  Patients are encouraged to be extra cautious about protecting their skin from the sun following treatments by applying sunscreen to treated areas often.

Am I A Better Candidate For Microneedling Or Microdermabrasion?

Microneedling goes deeper into your skin than microdermabrasion. If wanting to correct minor aging changes, stretch marks, sun damage, or other skin conditions on the outer layer of the skin, then microdermabrasion can be a very impactful treatment for you. However, if your concerns involve skin problems beneath the surface, such as deep acne scars, you may be a better candidate for microneedling.

Looking to correct fine lines, microneedling, and microdermabrasion can treat this concern using different methods. Microneedling naturally produces collagen through tiny injuries in the skin, promoting firmer, smoother skin. Microdermabrasion reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by removing the dead and dull skin cells caused by the natural aging process.

If you are still unsure whether microneedling or microdermabrasion is a better option to treat your skin concerns, contact our team to discuss your goals and preferences. We have a large team of professionals, highly experienced in performing both popular procedures.