Microdermabrasion versus other skin treatment options

Almost every adult has skin conditions for which they’d like to see some improvement. Conditions range from minor flaws (dull skin, clogged pores), to more severe imperfections (acne scarring, discoloration, age spots, uneven texture), to deep lines and wrinkles caused by smoking, poor diet, stress and/or years of sun damage.

Most skin conditions can be addressed by one or more types of treatments, from microdermabrasion for minor imperfections, to dermabrasion for moderate-to-severe imperfections, to laser skin resurfacing for treatment of deeper facial lines, wrinkles and folds, and helping to tighten skin laxity.

Let’s look at the range of treatments available, starting with microdermabrasion.


Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that uses a spray of microcrystals to gently remove (exfoliate) the outer layer of dry, dead skin cells.

Patients Most Suited: Best results are among patients with minimal facial lines or wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, uneven pigmentation, clogged pores, skin texture problems, or superficial scars.

Frequency: Since improvement with microdermabrasion is temporary, treatments need to be repeated on average every two to four weeks for ongoing improvement. Most people require six to 12 treatments to see significant improvement. Keep this in mind when judging the total cost of each skin treatment option.

Watchout: Microdermabrasion typically works on all skin types and colors, but expect only subtle changes. It can be a good option for patients with superficial skin problems and busy lifestyles and who are content with minimal benefits, little or no downtime and few if any side effects. Skin may be pink for up to 24 hours following treatment.


Dermabrasion is a more intensive exfoliating technique that uses a rotating instrument to remove the outer layers of facial skin. A dermatologist or facial cosmetic specialist numbs your skin before beginning this outpatient treatment.

Patients Most Suited: Dermabrasion is intended for treatment of fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, uneven texture, and improving the overall appearance of the skin.

Frequency: Dermabrasion can be repeated based on the quality, age and condition of the skin. Follow the advice of your trusted dermatologist or experienced esthetician.

Watchout: Dermabrasion is generally only safe for people with fair skin. For people with darker skin, dermabrasion can result in scarring or discoloration. It is not effective in treating congenital skin defects, most moles, pigmented birthmarks or scars caused by burns.

Face Laser Skin Treatment/Resurfacing

Face Laser Skin Treatment/Resurfacing is a physician-performed treatment for more severely damaged skin. Dr. Robert J. Smyth uses the Fractional CO2 to remove the dull, thickened layer of dead, damaged cells on the skin’s surface and at the same time stimulate the collagen underneath for new cell and skin growth as well as improved elasticity and resiliency.

Patients Most Suited: Laser skin resurfacing is used to improve the skin of patients with deeper lines and wrinkles, rough texture, uneven pigmentation, and spots and scars caused by sun damage, smoking, acne, stress and lifestyle.

Whether the patient needs a full-face laser treatment or just an area of the face treated (such as around the mouth), Dr. Smyth uses local anesthesia to numb the skin for the patient’s comfort. He then artfully uses the laser to perform a controlled penetration of the skin’s surface going just deep enough to treat the damaged cells. The healing process (typically 7 to 10 days) involves redness and the patient’s application of ointment to keep the skin lubricated and protected. Most patients are thrilled with the results. Their skin looks fresher and younger, feels smoother and is more even in color.

Frequency: Results of laser skin resurfacing can last 10 years or longer depending on how well the patient cares for their new, soft, smoother skin. Daily application of an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended as is wearing a wide-brimmed hat when in bright sunlight such as when at the beach or pool, golfing, playing tennis outdoors, or working outside for several hours at a time. A healthy diet, adequate sleep and not smoking will also help maintain the remarkable results of laser skin resurfacing.

Watchout: Trust only an experienced facial cosmetic surgeon to perform your laser resurfacing treatment to avoid any problems such as scarring and to eexperience the very best results. Be sure to discuss expectations, the healing process and proper after-care of your skin.