Despite the similarity in terms, there is a significant difference between the cosmetic facial treatment called microdermabrasion and the surgical procedure called dermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion is a non-surgical procedure which does not require anesthesia. It involves the use of a special instrument that disperses abrasive crystals, usually aluminum oxide, baking soda or other crystals, against the top layer of skin. A vacuum attachment removes the crystals and dead skin cells. The procedure refreshes the skin’s surface, cleans the pores, and stimulates collagen production.
Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure which permanently alters the derma, or lower layer of the skin. The surgeon uses a surgical cutting wheel to sand away layers of skin down into the derma layer, actually changing the surface and removing discolorations and blemishes. The surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes used. Recovery takes 7-10 days.