Which One is for You: Microdermabrasion Vs. Microneedling

Your skin can be a reflection of health and vitality – or not. As you age, your skin develops lines, wrinkles, and various scarring or discoloration. Deciding on what types of treatments that do what you want can get a little confusing. We’re often asked the difference between microneedling and microdermabrasion.

Microneedling and microdermabrasion have unique benefits and can restore a youthful look. But they are indeed quite different.

The Differences

Microdermabrasion is a superficial treatment that works like “sanding” your skin to remove the top few layers of old skin cells. This in essence refinishes the skin (temporarily). We use Diamond Glow in our practice because it’s effectively a 3-in-1 technique. The old cells are loosened, then vacuumed away as debris is extracted, and finally, a treatment serum is infused into the skin via gentle pressure. Sometimes referred to as “wet” microdermabrasion, or by a previous brand name of SilkPeel, this 30-minute treatment gives you an excellent refresh, hydration, and polish.


Standard or Clinical MicroNeedling?

Microneedling in its most standard form uses an automated “pen” with multiple ultrafine needles that penetrate the upper layers of the skin. These tiny “wounds” instruct your skin to respond with the healing responses which include improved collagen levels. This has the effect of improving pore appearance and lightly diminishing fine wrinkles. Treatment intensity is decided upon based on your goals and tolerance for social downtime.

Microneedling SkinPen is used either alone or with added PRP (platelet-rich plasma).  When more skin repair is needed, you can opt for a sophisticated dual-action device that delivers radiofrequency to the deeper levels such as Genius RF. Genius delivers radiofrequency heat “below” the pigment layer to lessen the risk of side effects such as discoloration. All use thin single-use sterile needle cartridges and can be customized as to depth and density in treating scars and laxity.

Genius is aptly named because it creates a high level skin renewal / lift from the subsequent new collagen production

For those with skin that tends to pigment easily, microneedling offers an alternative to lasers that can cause post-treatment discoloration.

Can at-home MicroNeedling with a dermal roller work?

The answer is yes, it can to a small degree, but there are limitations and warnings which demand attention.

Because you’re puncturing your skin’s protective barrier, you must be VERY careful to not introduce bacteria into the skin that live on the skin. An improperly sterilized roller is a disaster waiting to happen.

It’s easy to buy cheap hand rollers and serums of unknown ingredients, quality or safety on the internet. You may see glowing reviews and claims and YouTube instructions. PLEASE think twice. Skin bacterial infections are no fun and can end up causing scars, skin necrosis, and/or discoloration. Because professional devices in a medical office use sterile one-time-use needle cartridges, there are no concerns of infection, bent needles, and other risks that can come with these non-medically overseen devices.

Should you decide to use a home roller, get the shortest length needles, learn how to properly sterilize the roller AND your skin, know the risks, have realistic expectations, and don’t overdo it. More does not mean better.

If you’re interested in whether or not microneedling or microdermabrasion would be reasonable options for your skin concerns, we invite you to contact our dermatology office in Los Angeles online or by phone at 323-464-8046 to schedule your consultation. Dr. Fitzgerald and our skilled staff serve clients in Larchmont, L.A., and Beverly Hills, California.