Dermabrasion, Microdermabrasion & Hydradermabrasion. What’s the difference?

Posted by Dr Theva in Face Care, FAQs, Skin.

Is your skin looking a little dull and feeling a bit rough? Try as you might, at-home exfoliating usually isn’t effective enough to sustainably combat your many skin concerns, particularly uneven skin texture, uneven skin tone and fine lines and wrinkles.

Dermabrasions are some of the most popular skin rejuvenation treatments out on the market today but with so many different options available it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all.

We’ve created a short guide to help you with determining the difference between the 3 most popular treatments. Dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and hydradermabrasion. Hopefully, this guide will help you determine which is best suitable for your skin type and desired results. You may even feel inspired to try one out today.

Dermabrasion Treatments

Dermabrasions are very popular treatments for reducing signs of ageing and for improving acne scarring. All three versions of the dermabrasion treatment exfoliate and resurface the skin by using hand-held devices to shed layers of the skin for a more rejuvenated and radiant complexation.

But each treatment works in slightly different ways, involves different tools and are suitable for different skin issues.

What is dermabrasion and how does it work?

Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing treatment that is mainly used to treat facial scarring. First developed in the early 1950’s to improve acne scars, chickenpox marks and other facial scarring, it’s now also used to treat deep facial lines and wrinkles, sun damage and pigmentation.

Dermabrasion, also known as dermaplaning, involves removing superficial or damaged layers of the skin and surface irregularities. Using an abrasive device, the skin is essentially sanded/scraped down to reveal smooth new skin. The procedure is considered invasive and is not for the faint-hearted.

Before the treatment, your skin is usually numbed with anaesthetic. The area to be treated is also cooled with a freezing spray to make the skin firm for treatment.

The physician then uses a power-driven hand-held tool, called a dermabrader, gently over the surface of the skin. The dermabrader looks a little like a dentist’s drill with an abrasive end piece. The rotating endpiece, a diamond fraise or a wire brush, exfoliates the skin as it spins, causing controlled damage to the skin and the topmost layers are worn away.

The skin’s response is kickstarted into growing and forming fresh, new skin that’s clearer, smoother, and rejuvenated.

Dermabrasion may have dropped somewhat in popularity due to the associated length of recovery time. But, for particularly troublesome parts of the skin, a powerful treatment like dermabrasion can really produce fantastic results.

Dermabrasion is good for: deep acne scars and other deep scarring, deep wrinkles, rhinophyma (a red, bumpy nose associated with rosacea) and uneven skin tone

What is microdermabrasion and how does it work?

Microdermabrasion, as the name suggests, is much less invasive than a traditional dermabrasion treatment.

Essentially both treatments remove layers of skin so that new, rejuvenated skin can grow, but dermabrasion goes much deeper into the skin’s surface.

A microdermabrasion treatment is mostly offered as a light exfoliation of the uppermost layer of the skin where dead cells can accumulate, clogging pores and giving the skin a dull appearance.

Microdermabrasion uses a wand to mechanically distribute fine crystals onto the surface of the skin that is then instantly sucked up, along with dead skin cells, back up to achieve exfoliation. In essence, it is a gentle “polishing” process.

Unlike dermabrasion, only the outermost layer of skin is affected and only dead skin cells, as opposed to living skin, are removed. This treatment is better for targeting surface skin issues, rather than anything too deep. 

Microdermabrasion is much less painful; no anaesthetic is required and there is no downtime other than a little redness that disappears in a few hours.

Microdermabrasion is good for: red and brown marks left after a blemish, shallow acne scars and other light scarring, age spots and fine lines and wrinkles.

What is hydradermabrasion and how does it work?

A Hydradermabrasion (also known as HydraFacial) is a non-invasive skin treatment that uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, as well as hydrate the skin. The result is younger-looking, glowing, healthier skin. It’s a gentle hydrating treatment that will refresh and revitalise your skin

HydraFacial is one of our favourite treatments here at my cosmetic clinic in Melbourne as it is safe and can be performed on almost all skin types. This treatment is painless, there is no pinching, needling, or abrasion. You can also resume your daily activities immediately after your treatment, as there is no downtime or irritation that can sometimes accompany conventional dermabrasion treatments.

This rejuvenating treatment combines exfoliation, extraction, and the infusion of serums to smooth, hydrate and even skin tone. Because the treatment stimulates renewal within the skin, improvement continues as new, healthy cells rise to the surface.

Hydradermabrasion evenly exfoliates the skin, extracts dirt and debris and simultaneously infuses the skin with revitalising serums to smooth, hydrate and even out skin tone. By using an exfoliating diamond tip and infusing the skin with serums at the time of exfoliation, your skin experiences maximum penetration and absorption of the serum’s active ingredients. The hydration, tone, and texture of your skin are stimulated and revitalised during the treatment. 

Hydradermabrasion is good for: Hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, acne-prone skin, enlarged and congested pores, excessively oily skin and lacklustre skin that needs rejuvenating and brightening.


As you weigh the benefits of each treatment, remember that it’s not a “1 treatment fits all” kind of deal. The best treatment depends on your specific skin concerns and desired results.

To find out which treatment is best for you begin by booking your FREE comprehensive no-obligation consultation valued at $250 with me today.

During your free, no-obligation comprehensive consultation, I get to know you and discuss your desired outcomes, your ultimate experience, and your concerns, so we get it right the first time. We discuss timelines, expectations, best treatments, and payment plans.

Most importantly, I will explain why they are the best options and go over the results you can expect to allow you to feel comfortable and confident you are making the right decision.

For more information on Dr. Theva’s anti-ageing treatments and happy clients, please click here.