November 28, 2017

Hydrafacial Vs Microdermabrasion – The Verdict

Written by Dr Kate Jameson

Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic treatments to  exfoliate the skin and improve skin turn over.

It involves the removal of the superficial layers of skin by physically exfoliating them with abrasive tools. During the treatment, tiny diamond/crystal like substances are passed over the skin and suctioned away along with the superficial skin.

The end results from a well performed microdermabrasion, with a high quality machine are unclogged pores, improved congestion, decreased acne, deeply cleansed and exfoliated skin and a brighter complexion.

Microdermabrasion, A Brief Look Back

Although results can be well tolerated and effective. In my time in the industry I have encountered a vast difference in therapists and machines with differing results. Because the skin can feel so smooth and glowing after a treatment many people will use microdermabrasion as their ‘go to’ treatment.

This results in far too frequent treatments and too much exfoliation of the skin. In addition, not every microdermabrasion machine is created equally so we are seeing treatments offered from at low at $30!! The results will often reflect the price.

Microdermabrasion is often performed in most skin types and marketed as such. However we have started to see many patients with impaired skin barriers (the protective layer containing lipids and oils to protect the rest of the skin) which results in dry, red and sensitive skin. Many even develop worsening acne over time.

With the advances in dermal science and cosmetic medicine and because of many of my patients reporting bad experiences and many with overly treated skin I sought out to discover an alternative. An alternative that was more gentle but offered long term results and maintained skin health.

Introducing The Hydrafacial

The Hydrafacial is a fusion of hydradermabrasion and microdermabrasion which is technology driven and offers instant results. The Hydrafacial not only delivers immediate results of smoother, glowing skin; it helps to improve skin quality and with regular maintenance treatments is beneficial for all skin types.

“The Hydrafacial exfoliates like a microdermabrasion treatment but  it also cleanses, extracts impurities, hydrates and infuses antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid.”

The HydraFacial is a unique signature facial with multiple steps all combined for a relaxing and rejuvenating treatment with no down time. In fact, the ‘microdermabrasion’ aspect of the Hydrafacial treatment is only step one of the treatment.

It can target a multitude of skin issues such as acne, congestion, blackheads, enlarged pores, sun damage and sun spots, uneven skin tone and texture and give the skin a glow prior to a special event. The added benefit is that is can be tailored according to specific skin concerns and results continue to improve with long term use. It is truly a game changer.

Here are the steps of the Hydrafacial treatment and how they are different and more beneficial than a microdermabrasion.

Cleansing and Exfoliating

Both microdermabrasion and Hydrafacial will involve cleansing of the skin and a deep exfoliation.

A cleanse with a microdermabrasion is a manual cleanse by the therapist whereas with the Hydrafacial, the Hydrafacial hand piece cleanses with a specially formulated serum containing lactic acid which starts the gentle exfoliation process.

The Hydrafacial also differs by not using a physical exfoliation with crystals like a  microdermabrasion, but by using a special tip on the hand piece which has peeling edges which work to exfoliate the dead skin cells. A deeper exfoliation can be achieved with multiple passes. All this is done without being abrasive or traumatising the skin.


The next step in the Hydrafacial is a gentle acid peel. This peel solution contains glycolic and salicylic acid which helps to exfoliate the skin further and aids in loosening debris and impurities from the pores. The use of glycolic and salicylic acid also has the benefits of fighting acne and congestion, brightening the skin and increasing collagen stimulation which in turn has long term beneficial effects. In a microdermabrasion a chemical peel can be applied following treatment but generally this is not a routine part of the treatment and will be an added expense.


Following the acid peel comes the extraction process. This is a painless extraction of dirt and impurities from the pores which have been loosened by the acid peel and exfoliation. In this step an antibacterial clarifying solution is infused while the handpiece uses a vacuum suction to remove impurities in areas of congestion. Microdermabrasion simply cannot extract to the same degree. This step is impressive in those who suffer from acne and very congested skin.


This is the best part of the treatment where the Hydrafacial can be specifically tailored to individual skin types and concerns. In addition, each time you have a Hydrafacial you can target different concerns such as dryness and dull skin texture, congestion or simply focus on a rejuvenation or anti-ageing treatment.

During this stage antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid are infused to nourish and protect. Due to the previous stages in the treatment these protecting serums can penetrate much deeper into the skin than if they were applied manually following a microdermabrasion treatment.

Once the treatment is complete there is the option for LED light for further rejuvenation and some therapists even include lymphatic massage to further enhance the results.

Final Thoughts

Although both microdermabrasion and the Hydrafacial will make your skin feel smooth and brightened immediately following the treatment and stimulate cell turnover in the top layers of skin, only the Hydrafacial will add long term benefits by detoxifying, hydrating and stimulating collagen remodeling and rejuvenation.

If a skin treatment does not offer long term benefits to my patients then I will not utilise it. Hence why I have decided to only use the Hydrafacial in my practice and not the traditional microdermabrasion.