Facial plast Surg 2009; 25(5): 301-310
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1243078
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion

Lora AlKhawam1 , Murad Alam2
  • 1Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Otolaryngology, and Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 December 2009 (online)


Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are facial resurfacing techniques that mechanically ablate aged or damaged skin to promote reepithelialization. Although the act of physically abrading the skin is common to both procedures, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion employ different instruments and are distinct in their technical executions. Dermabrasion completely removes the epidermis and penetrates to the level of the papillary or reticular dermis, inducing remodeling of the skin's structural proteins. Microdermabrasion only removes the uppermost layer of the epidermis, accelerating the natural process of exfoliation. Both techniques can result in clinically significant improvements in the appearance of skin and may become increasingly relevant among practitioners as new applications are developed.