Hydrodermabrasion vs Microdermabrasion: Which One Is Best?

If you’ve done any research at all about skincare, you’ve probably seen a lot about exfoliation. Exfoliation makes your skin brighter and reduces signs of sun damage such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.

There are a variety of ways to exfoliate your skin: physical and chemical, at home, and in-office treatments. Today I’m going to compare two very popular and effective in-office treatments: Hyrdodermabrasion vs Microdermabrasion.

I’ll discuss the different ways they exfoliate, which skin concerns they help with, and possible side effects.  Of course, we also need to look at how much each cost since your budget is a big part of the decision whether or not to get a treatment.

Hydrodermabrasion and microdermabrasion are skin exfoliating treatments. Hyrodermabrasion is better for hydrating skin and is more suitable for very sensitive skin types. Microdermabrasion is stronger, and therefore can stimulate collagen production in the skin, making it a better choice for reducing wrinkles.

woman receiving microdermabrasion treatment

What is Hydrodermabrasion?

Hydrodermabrasion is an exfoliating skin treatment that uses a liquid (often a saline solution) to loosen the dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin.  A handheld tool is used to infuse helpful ingredients into the skin as well as suction away dead skin cells, dirt, and debris.

Benefits of hydrodermabrasion treatment include improved skin texture and reduced appearance of fine lines.

Is Hydrodermabrasion The Same As Hydrafacial?

You may hear of a “Hydrafacial”, this is a trademarked name for a company that makes one specific type of hydrodermabrasion device. Hydrodermabrasion can also be performed with other devices which are very similar but don’t have the “Hydrafacial” name. You also may hear hydrodermabrasion referred to as wet microdermabrasion.

What is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a skin treatment that exfoliates the surface of the skin by either spraying on tiny crystals or using an abrasive pad. This loosens dead cells, dirt, and debris which are then suctioned away.

Benefits of microdermabrasion include a more even skin tone, faded age spots, and the reduced appearance of fine lines.

There are two main types of microdermabrasion treatment. The first uses a wand with a diamond tip and an abrasive pad to exfoliate the skin’s surface. The other type, called crystal microdermabrasion, sprays crystals onto the top layer of the skin to remove the dead skin cells.

✅ If you’re interested in exfoliation at home, take a look at my Guide to Alpha Hydroxy Acids here. You’ll see more subtle results by using an AHA like glycolic acid at home, but with regular use, they can keep your skin looking bright and free of flaky, dry skin.

Which Is Better Hyrdrodermabrasion Or Microdermabrasion?

In order to figure out which one will give you better results for your skin problems let’s take a look at the benefits, side effects, and cost of each.

Please note you can buy devices for home treatment but they will not be as effective as any facial treatment you get in a medical spa or dermatologist’s office, which is what I’ll be comparing in this article. Plus, if you have any skin conditions it’s always best to speak to a skin expert anyway.

Benefits of Hydrodermabrasion

Benefits of hydrodermabrasion include:

  • Reducing dark spots, fine lines, pore size
  • Skin is hydrated and appears bright
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Immediate results

I want to clarify that last bullet point about immediate results. You’ll definitely get hydrated, glowing skin in just one treatment, but don’t expect to see a huge difference in skin aging. Those types of problems, like hyperpigmentation and fine lines, take a long time to develop, and they won’t go away overnight. 

Hydrodmermabrasion is a relatively gentle exfoliating treatment, so it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. You will need a series of treatments over several months to see visible results for anti-aging.

Benefits of Microdermabrasion

The benefits of microdermabrasion are very similar to hydrodermabrasion.

Benefits of hydrodermabrasion include:

  • Stimulates Collagen Production
  • Reducing dark spots, fine lines, acne scars, pore size
  • Skin is hydrated and appears bright
  • Even skin tone
  • Immediate results

In regards to the immediate results please see what I wrote about hydrodermabrasion above. You can expect to see benefits from exfoliation such as brighter skin after one treatment. But the real anti-aging results take multiple sessions.

In general, microdermabrasion is considered a little bit stronger than hydrodermabrasion. Because of this, it has the added benefit of actually increasing the production of collagen, which is a huge benefit. You may see results a little sooner when trying to fade hyperpigmentation and fine lines.

Check out my article on how often you should do microdermabrasion for the best results here.

image with text how to look younger: hydrate your skin

Side Effects of Hydrodermabrasion

Hydrodermabrasion is generally considered to be a little more gentle than microdermabrasion, and most people will not see redness or irritation afterward. It’s safe and effective for all skin types. Although, if you have very sensitive skin I’d be cautious the first time you try it, and maybe not schedule anything for that day.

During hydrodermabrasion ingredients are infused into the skin, and it’s often a hyaluronic acid serum. This is going to make your skin feel super hydrated and plump. This alone will reduce the appearance of fine lines, but they will reappear again if your skin becomes dry.

Side Effects of Microdermabrasion

After microdermabrasion, your skin may be red or irritated, particularly if you have a more sensitive skin type. There is definitely a day or two of recovery time, but nothing like laser treatments or chemical peels.

In a day or two, your skin should be glowing and feeling smooth.  Try not to irritate your skin further with strong active ingredients such as retinol, after the treatment.

It’s probably best not to do a microdermabrasion session immediately before an important event, particularly if you are trying it for the first time. You never know exactly how your skin will react to any treatment.

For both hyrodermabrasion and microdermabrasion using sunscreen is essential afterward for the best results (you should be using it every day anyway). Both treatments will reveal new, younger-looking skin underneath the dead skin cells that were loosened and removed. This skin is going to be very sensitive to the sun and if you don’t use sunscreen you may end up with worse skin than you started with.

infographic showing when to wear sunscreen

How Much Does Microdermabrasion Cost?

Microdermabrasion is typically between $125 and $200, with an average cost of $175 according to RealSelf. It usually takes about an hour.

Discounts can often be found if you buy a package of multiple treatments. Depending on what your goals are for your skin, you may find multiple treatments necessary to achieve them. If you’re just looking to brighten your skin tone and make your skin glow for a special event, one treatment may be fine.  But, if you’re looking to fade hyperpigmentation or fine lines, you’re most likely going to need a series of treatments to see results.

How Much Does Hydrodermabrasion Cost?

A HydraFacial is typically priced between $175 and $300. With prices being on the higher end of the range in larger cities. The treatment usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes.

As with microdermabrasion, you can often get discounts if you buy a package of treatments that you use within a certain time frame, say 6 months or a year.

Final Thoughts on Hydrodermabrasion vs Microdermabrasion

There’s always a balance between cost, recovery time and results in choosing what is the best treatment for your skin.

In my opinion, microdermabrasion is a stronger treatment, and it has the added benefit of stimulating collagen production, which is a very important part of my skincare goals. Along with the fact that it usually is costs less, microdermabrasion is my choice.

However, this doesn’t mean hydrodermabrasion may not be best for you. If you don’t have hyperpigmentation or fine lines and want something to give your skin an amazing glow, hyrodermabrasion may be the better choice.

Additionally, if you are looking for something to take care of dull skin before a big event, hydrodermabrasion is an effective treatment. It’s also a more pampering option since it’s less likely to irritate your skin.

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