Dermabrasion Versus Microdermabrasion: How To Know Which One Might Be Right For Your Acne Scarring

Posted on: 20 June 2016

If you have acne scarring, you may be considering undergoing an ablative therapy that removes the affected skin cells. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are two such cosmetic procedures that can help diminish the appearance of acne scars. Despite their similar names, these procedures are quite different from one another, and knowing which one to choose can be difficult. Below is more information on dermabrasion and microdermabrasion and how to pick the one that is best for you:

What is the difference between dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is the removal of the outer layer of skin using a medical instrument that planes the skin. The specific device used varies, but it usually consists of a powered handset with a rotating wire or stone wheel. Dermabrasion can only be performed by a physician in most locales, so its use is necessarily limited to a conventional medical clinic or hospital. Dermabrasion often involves several members of a medical staff, including an anesthesia administrator and recovery nurses. Recovery usually takes several weeks, and patients need to perform a careful regimen of self-care following dermabrasion in order to prevent infection or bleeding.

Microdermabrasion is also a technique designed to remove outer skin cells but at a much more gradual pace than dermabrasion. Removal of the skin cells occurs when a practitioner, who may or may not be a physician, abrades the skin with a jet of tiny abrasive crystals. Microdermabrasion can be performed in a variety of settings and does not usually demand much postprocedural care other than basic precautions about sun exposure.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dermabrasion?

There are several reasons why you might prefer dermabrasion as a means of removing your acne scars:

  • Established and well-tested - Dermabrasion has been utilized for a number of years and has undergone rigorous medical scrutiny during this time. It has been proven to work and does not rely on new, yet-to-be tested, technologies.

  • Practitioner education and competence - Since dermabrasion is performed only by licensed physicians, usually dermatologists or possibly cosmetic surgeons, you can be sure you are receiving a high-level of care in a controlled, safe setting.

  • Effectiveness with deep scarring - Dermabrasion is a more aggressive approach at treating acne scarring, and it is able to strip away deeper scars and get past the damaged layers of skin. It does not depend on multiple treatments and is a reliable "one shot" means of eliminating scarring.

There are few disadvantages to dermabrasion that you should be aware of before committing to the procedure:

  • Discomfort - Since dermabrasion is a much more invasive removal of skin cells, it can be expected that you will experience a greater degree of discomfort during the follow-up and recovery period.

  • Skin pigmentation type limitations - Dermabrasion isn't usually recommended for those who have dark complexion, as it can permanently lighten the skin and result in a noticeable blotchy appearance.

  • Expensive - Due to the involvement of more personnel as well as the need to perform it in a controlled medical setting, dermabrasion can cost thousands of dollars in some instances, and insurance does not always pay for the treatment.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion can offer some people advantages over dermabrasion, so here are a few reasons it might be a good choice for you:

  • Inexpensive - Microdermabrasion is usually quite a bit less costly than dermabrasion, as you can expect to pay no more than one hundred dollars per session.

  • Less intrusive - If you are not prepared to endure a lengthy recovery period following dermabrasion, microabrasion offers a faster, less-painful period of recovery after each session. Skin irritation is usually fairly light and does not involve the need for pain management or dressing changes.

  • Suitable for all skin pigmentation types - Microdermabrasion does not typically affect a patient's skin pigmentation due to its shallow depth of treatment. This eliminates concerns about possibly changing someone's skin color on a long-term basis.

There are a few possible disadvantages to be aware of when considering microdermabrasion. These potential negatives include:

  • Lack of benefit for some - For individuals with deep scarring and skin pitting, microdermabrasion is often simply not able to provide the deep-reaching treatment necessary for healing.

  • Treatment inconsistencies - Since microdermabrasion isn't considered a medical procedure, it can be performed by anyone, including those who aren't properly trained in its administration. As a result, treatments performed by unqualified persons may provide little or no benefit due to practitioner incompetence.

  • Multiple treatments necessary - One microdermabrasion treatment is likely to do little to remove your acne scars, and that means several sessions are going to be necessary to provide a tangible, visible benefit.

For more information, contact a skin clinic that offers acne treatment services in Hoffman Estates, Il