As I try to tackle the melasma I have on my face from years of tanning (more on that here), I’m taking better care of skin with skincare products and services. Some of those services include facials. 

Now, there are a lot of different kinds of facials. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m focusing on two that don’t just help sun damaged skin, but also help eliminate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – Microdermabrasion and HydraFacial.  

HydraFacial vs Microdermabrasion: What is the Difference?

Both are a multi-step treatment that target the top layer of skin with special serums for smoother skin for every day life… or even a big event.

First, we’ll cover the basics, then get into specifics. But to answer the question quickly – a HydraFacial is a newer version of a Microdermabrasion with a little more moisturizing in the process. Some even call it a “wet microdermabrasion”.

Let me explain.

What is a HydraFacial?

A HydraFacial is a deep skin cleansing treatment that is known for its three-step process: 

1. deep-clean

2. exfoliate

3. hydrate

The main difference between HydraFacial and Microdermabrasion is the brand of machine used. HydraFacial is the name of a brand, but it’s also commonly known as the name of the service people schedule with the HydraFacial machine. 

It’s also a bit more gentler than other machines… and it’s newer than other facials, so that’s why you’re hearing of it more today.

This treatment takes about 30 minutes and is suitable for any type and condition of the skin. 

It improves superficial lines and wrinkles, promotes elasticity and firmness, provides uniformity to the skin tone, gives natural luminosity to the skin, reduces oiliness, and reduces the appearance of enlarged pores.

How does HydraFacial work?

This is a breakdown of how the HydraFacial machine works on your skin in the three different steps. 

Step 1: Exfoliation

First, an exfoliation is carried out with something that is suitable for all skin types that is also rich in nutrients. This phase generates a moisturizing effect that purifies and revitalizes the most superficial layer of the skin, preparing it for deep cleansing.

In my terms, it just gets all the old, dead skin on the top of your face ready to come off!

Phase 2: Peeling and Extraction

In the next step, glycolic acid is used – promoting a smooth and delicate effect on the skin. Unlike other pees, it does not require pre-peeling and post-peeling preparation. 

With the help of Beta-HD (which contains salicylic acid), it eliminates impurities from the pores through a light painless suction.

In my terms, it’s a tiny vacuum cleaner that sucks all the germs out of your pores making your face look and feel as fresh as a daisy.

Phase 3: Hydration

The final step, which is sometimes done at the same time as the second step, is when a fusion system of antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and peptides is used to restore your face’s natural shine.

In my terms, so many good things to keep your face looking beautiful are pumped into your pores. It’s like putting a nice bow on a present.

What is a Microdermabrasion Facial?

Microdermabrasion does many things a Hydafacial treatment does – like improving the tone and texture of a patient’s skin by removing dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. 

There is a similar exfoliation process that occurs when particles are sprayed or an abrasive is used on the outer layer of skin. Just like a HydraFacial, the process is more targeted and comprehensive than exfoliating through masks that many consumers buy at the store.

Microdermabrasion can help resolve a variety of problems that are on the surface of the skin, including sun damage, fine lines, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, age spots, acne, and superficial scarring.

While the face is the most common treatment site, microdermabrasion can be done in any area of the body. So if you have scars you want to conceal, this is something to consider.

Just like a HydraFacial, you will see an increase in blood flow in the face and neck, should not experience side effects, and will increase your collagen production and overall skin health.

How does Microdermabrasion work?

While the fact that HydraFacials are newer and may change the price of your facial, it’s important to know you can get a very similar service with very similar results through a microdermabrasion machine.

HydraFacial vs Microdermabrasion: What is the Difference?

Types of Microdermabrasion Facials

The two most popular forms of microdermabrasion use crystals and diamond tips. Remember above when I talked about the mini vacuum cleaner sucking up all the stuff we don’t want sitting on our face? Well, this is the tip of that “vacuum cleaner”. again, my terms. (Obviously.)

Crystal microdermabrasion, the more popular of the two procedures, is a process in which superfine crystals are sprayed through a stainless-steel rod onto the patient’s skin and then aspirated with the same wand.

Diamond microdermabrasion is a newer procedure that is gaining in popularity. Instead of spraying particles onto the patient’s skin, a diamond-tipped pen is scraped along the skin’s surface like sandpaper. (It sounds worse than it is. I swear.) 

The two techniques have similar effects, but you can talk to your dermatologist about the process they use to determine what is a better fit for your skin type.

HydraFacial vs Microdermabrasion: What is the Difference? 

I hate that I can’t tell you which one is better than the other, but that’s just because everyone’s skin is different.

For me, my goal is evening out my skin tone and get rid of dark spots. For you, it might be fine lines and wrinkles. It may be acne.

Depending on what you’re treating, your facial of choice is going to vary… and both are completely customizable to different skin conditions – sensitive skin, dry skin, large pores, oily skin, acne scars, etc.

They both are amazing facials you should get at least one a month. I’m currently taking turns between a microdermabrasion treatment and chemical peels every other month. The only reason I’m doing microdermabrasion and not a HydraFacial is because the spa I go to doesn’t use the HydraFacial machine.

It’s important to note that when it comes to facials like these, it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. Skincare is a long-term game, so expect to walk through the doors of medical spas or dermatologists once a month for years to come to enjoy the full effects. For best results, you will need a series of treatments because instant results are rare.

What’s your favorite skin treatment? Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and let me know. Is it light therapy? (That’s one I still need to try.) I’m a big fan of things with no recovery time (so not an invasive procedure), something that will decrease my pore size, and increases my production of collagen… because I’m not getting any younger!

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