Microdermabrasion vs. Dermaplaning

Microdermabrasion vs. Dermaplaning Featured Photo

This is an article on microdermabrasion vs. dermaplaning, how the two are similar, and different, and which is better for your skin’s needs.

As a skincare enthusiast, I try to keep an open mind to different products, treatments, and whatnot. Though I have my staple skincare routine and products I turn to day in and day out, I still find myself constantly on the lookout for things I can improve on, whether it be skincare products or treatments.

I don’t usually go for facial treatments. I’ve always had skin concerns but they were never severe enough for me to turn to facial and skincare treatments. But as I age, I realize that my skin definitely has changed. I’ve also come to the realization that one doesn’t need to have severe skin concerns to qualify for skincare treatments. Anybody can get them if they feel like it’s what their skin needs.

Two famous skincare treatments are microdermabrasion and dermaplaning. If you’re torn between the two and would like to know, for once and for all, how they are different, read on to find out!

What’s the Difference Between Microdermabrasion and Dermaplaning?

If you’re debating on which one to get for your skin concerns, I’ve got the rundown on microdermabrasion and dermaplaning right below!

What it is

Both microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are exfoliation facial methods to rejuvenate and restore skin vibrancy. They’re both performed by professional dermatologists, estheticians, or aestheticians. Both methods also help topical skincare products absorb and therefore work better after sessions.


Microdermabrasion is a minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure that gently removes the topmost layer of the skin. By doing so, it effectively but gently rejuvenates the skin. The procedure can renew the look of skin, even out uneven skin tone, reduce age spots, and acne scarring, and brighten a dull complexion.

There are two types of microdermabrasion: diamond microdermabrasion and crystal microdermabrasion.

In diamond microdermabrasion, a diamond-tipped tool is used to exfoliate dead skin cells on the skin’s layer and suction them at the same time. Crystal microdermabrasion works by shooting fine crystals from a small tube into the surface of the skin and then vacuuming back up immediately.


Dermaplaning is also an exfoliating procedure where your aesthetician manually removes dead skin cells and buildup on the skin’s topmost layer. It can help remove and treat deep, pitted acne scars while also brightening and evening out the skin tone.

Many people turn to dermaplaning to remove any unwanted facial hair called vellus hair, otherwise known as peach fuzz. It can be seen as similar to shaving but it’s so much more than that. Facial hair is removed not just for that very purpose but to also achieve smoother, softer skin.

This facial hair is also known to harbor dirt and oil, which can often lead to breakouts. By shaving them all, you can give your skin a clean slate less likely to develop and break out with acne.

How it works

Though microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are both facial exfoliating procedures, they have very different methods used.


Microdermabrasion uses a handheld device with either diamonds or crystals to exfoliate the skin’s layer. This tip scrubs and exfoliates the skin so it’s free from dead skin cells buildup. The device also works to stimulate collagen and elastin production which can be credited as to why many people achieve smoother, softer, and brighter skin. Learn more about the different types of microdermabrasion.

With the handheld device, your esthetician or dermatologist is able to adjust the pressure and intensity of the procedure. You can discuss this during consultation before proceeding with the procedure.

This non-surgical procedure is a gentle and non-abrasive treatment. You don’t need any numbing agent for this procedure.

Your esthetician or dermatologist will lay out a plan for you. The number of sessions and maintenance treatments and procedures would depend on your prior skin condition and the concerns you want to address.


In dermaplaning, a sterile sharp surgical blade called a dermatome is used to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. It’s considered a surgical procedure so an aesthetician or dermatologist performs it.

The procedure entails manually scraping the build up of dead skin cells on the skin. As this build up is scraped away, so is vellus hair or otherwise known as peach fuzz. This results in smoother and softer skin.

The skin is pulled lightly and tightly. The blade will glide through the skin in an upward motion and with very delicate strokes to exfoliate the skin.

Dermaplaning presents instant results even after just one session. You can also talk to your dermatologist regarding treatment plans and maintenance treatments.

Skin concerns it addresses

Microdermabrasion and dermaplaning present similar skin benefits, though not completely identical.


If you’re concerned about the following, microdermabrasion might be a good idea:

  • Dull skin
  • Acne and acne scarring
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation and age spots
  • Sunspots and damage
  • Melasma and dark patches on skin
  • The enlarged appearance of pores
  • Stretch marks


If you want to address any of the following skin issues below, you might want to consider dermaplaning:

  • Facial hair and peach fuzz removal
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation and age spots
  • Deep acne scars
  • Dull and dry skin
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Acne hyperpigmentation and inflammation

Recovery time and bouncing back

Both microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are non-invasive procedures. There is little to no downtime and recovery time needed after both procedures.

But because both are exfoliation procedures and would entail removing the skin’s top layer for dead skin cells build up, oil, and dirt, you might notice some sensitivities to your skin.

There may be redness, irritation, and even some swelling in the case of microdermabrasion as it involves suction. Don’t worry though as these after-treatment side effects will resolve themselves a few hours to about 24 hours after the procedure.

With both microdermabrasion and dermaplaning, your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun. Avoid overexposure to the sun and always shield your skin with SPF.

You can usually go in with makeup, moisturizers, and anything non-medicated right after both treatments.

Potential risks and side effects

Though both present a wide array of skin benefits, remember to always proceed with caution with whichever treatment you choose to go with. Both present potential risks and side effects you might want to keep an eye out for.


Because the procedure involves a handheld suctioning device, there may be side effects of redness, tenderness, and even bruising. These side effects mostly subside on their own a few hours after the procedure, so no need to panic.

It’s also not recommended to use the suctioning device on the eye area as the area around it is very sensitive. If you have active acne, you might want to steer clear of microdermabrasion as this can induce and worsen inflammation.

Some people who undergo microdermabrasion also reported feeling as if they have minor sunburned skin a few days after the procedure. Your skin might also be more sensitive to the sun after treatment. Be sure to protect yourself with SPF.

If you have very sensitive skin that scars and reacts easily to any treatment, microdermabrasion might not be suitable for you.


After a dermaplaning procedure, you might experience red and swollen skin where treatment was done. Your skin can flake, burn, itch, and ache as well for a few hours after the procedure.

As dermaplaning involves the use of a very sharp blade, you’d want to make sure that the practitioner doing it for you is experienced enough to go through the angles and bones of your face.

Dermaplaning also causes increased sensitivity to the sun so always make sure to plaster an extra layer of sun protection after the procedure. And as with many other skin treatments, this might not be the best course of action for those with very sensitive skin.

Microdermabrasion vs. Dermaplaning: Which is Right for You

Technically, there is no right answer to the question of which microdermabrasion and dermaplaning is better. The right answer lies in what your skin concerns are.

If your skin doesn’t get red, swollen, or bruised that easily, microdermabrasion might be a good idea. It’s suitable for most skin types but might not fare to well for those with sensitive skin.

Dermaplaning is suitable for all skin types – even for sensitive ones, as long as you think your skin can handle it. Those with thinner skin, acne-prone skin, and older, aged skin shall all benefit more from dermaplaning than with microdermabrasion.

If you have noticeable buildup on areas that may be harder to reach with the dermatome like around your nose area, microdermabrasion may be more beneficial for you.

One, can, of course, get both dermaplaning and microdermabrasion in one package or combination treatment. When this is the case, dermaplaning is done first to remove all the vellus hair and peach fuzz before going in with a microdermabrasion tool to suck in all the dead skin cells.

If you aren’t sure which procedure and treatment are right for your skin, you can always come in for a visit and consultation with your dermatologist about the best course of action for your skin concerns.

How Microdermabrasion and Dermaplaning are Different and Similar: A Summary

Microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are both exfoliating cosmetic treatments you can get done by a professional. Each cosmetic treatment presents its own skin benefits.

Microdermabrasion is done with a handheld suctioning device. This handheld device sucks in and removes the skin’s top layer. Along with it are dead skin cells buildup, dirt, and oil. This leaves skin rejuvenated, renewed, softer, and smoother all over. It also targets skin issues like dry skin, hyperpigmentation, age spots, and even melasma.

Dermaplaning, on the other hand, involves a sterile and sharp surgical blade used to exfoliate the skin’s topmost layer. Dead skin cells buildup is manually scraped off the skin with very delicate strokes. The procedure is also able to remove facial hair called vellus hair or otherwise known as peach fuzz. This leaves skin smooth, soft and targets acne scars and inflammation.

Both procedures have their own skin benefits but there are also after-treatment side effects that need considering. Both can leave skin with redness, tenderness, and sensitivity to the sun.

There really is no right answer to the question of which one of the two is better. Which procedure is right for you would depend on your skin type, skin concerns, skin condition, and the results you want.

If you aren’t sure which of the two is best for you, make sure to consult with your dermatologist and they will guide you on the best course of action for your skin’s needs.

And there you have it – our detailed guide on microdermabrasion and dermaplaning – what they are, how they’re similar, and how they’re different.

Cheers to your happy and healthy skin!