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Difference Between HydraFacial and Microdermabrasion

HydraFacial and microdermabrasion (MDA) are popular facial treatments which address dark spots, scars, acne, skin aging, sun damage, etc. They are both exfoliating technics which use instruments to improve skin appearance. Specifically, microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive (though some sources describe it as “non-invasive”) procedure which uses a slightly abrasive tip to remove impurities. In comparison, HydraFacial is a mild and moisturizing dermabrasion technic which uses a Vortex technology to hydrate and cleanse the skin (Ann, 2019). The following information further delves into their distinctions. 

What is HydraFacial? 

HydraFacial is a virtually painless multi-step treatment which uses a Vortex technology to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and hydrate the skin. Basically, it is a combination of a hydrating mask, microdermabrasion, and a peel.  It utilizes a mixture of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C, growth factors, botanical extracts, and other nutrients. A HydraFacial treatment may include features such as oxygen and LED light therapies (Stewart, 2019).

The potential benefits of a HydraFacial treatment include complexion perks, wider range of choices, increase of skin thickness and fibroblast density, and no downtime (Migala, 2019): 

  • Complexion perks 

HydraFacial is reported to give brightening and firming effects. Its three main steps (cleanse and peel, extract and hydrate, and fuse and protect) aim to reduce hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and dull-looking skin. 

  • Increases skin thickness and fibroblast density

Studies have indicated that microdermabrasion together with topical antioxidants (similar to the HydraFacial procedure) significantly bring better results as compared to each treatment on its own. Specifically, skin biopsies showed that research participants who underwent six weekly treatments had increased skin thickness and fibroblast density which promotes skin elasticity. 

  • No downtime 

Downtime is a term for recovery time; those who have just undergone a HydraFacial treatment can immediately return to their usual activities. This means that clients can experience and flaunt the benefits in just 30 minutes. 


What is Microdermabrasion? 

Microdermabrasion is a skin treatment which improves the skin’s tone, texture, and overall appearance with an abrasive applicator. This minimally invasive procedure is recommended to specifically lessen wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, striae, acne scars, acne, blackheads, stretch marks, melasma, dull complexion, and uneven skin texture. This rejuvenating treatment is usually an hour-long (Wisco, 2018). 

The potential benefits of microdermabrasion treatment include improvement of skin tone and texture, lightening of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and improvement of mild acne (Palmer, 2020):

  • Improvement of skin tone and texture

Microdermabrasion’s deep exfoliation can make the skin feel smoother and look brighter. A series of treatments may reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. 

  • Lightening of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation 

For some clients, their dark acne scars have lightened after microdermabrasion treatments. 

  • Improvement of mild acne 

Microdermabrasion treatments can reduce the small bumps often found on the chin and forehead of those with acne. It is also helpful in reducing pore size and oiliness. However, it should be noted that this procedure is not recommended for those with severe acne.

Difference between HydraFacial and Microdermabrasion


HydraFacial is a virtually painless multi-step hydra-dermabrasion treatment which uses a Vortex technology to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and hydrate the skin. Microdermabrasion is a skin treatment which improves the skin’s tone, texture, and overall appearance with an abrasive applicator.


HydraFacial treatment is currently available in 80 countries (Migala, 2019). In comparison, a number of home microdermabrasion kits are sold and many salons and spas offer this treatment (Barrell, 2018). Also, it is described as widely available and one of the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in America (Shah & Crane, 2020). 

Technology and Procedure

HydraFacial is often marketed as using a patented Vortex technology which effectively removes impurities while simultaneously hydrating the skin. After using its tip to remove dead skin cells and excess oil, it then opens the pores by its suction technology. This is then followed with the delivery of moisturizers with the simultaneous extraction of blackheads and other impurities. Lastly, “boosters” or serums are infused; this treatment can be customized according to individual needs (Migala, 2019). As for microdermabrasion, the device can be a crystal system or crystal-free system. The most common crystal employed is aluminium oxide while the crystal-free systems use diamonds. The abrasive tip is then used to remove surface debris which is wiped away; a gentle moisturizer is then applied (Shah & Crane, 2020). 


HydraFacial uses patented technology; The HydraFacial Company is a manufacturer of aesthetic technologies such as the HydraFacial ® serum-based hydra-dermabrasion system. This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered company was founded in 1997 and its headquarters is in Long Beach, California (The HydraFacial Company, 2020). On the other hand, microdermabrasion is a procedure which was first introduced by Marini and Lo Brutto in 1985. This procedure was marketed as an alternative to chemical peels and dermabrasion which were more aggressive (Shah & Crane, 2020).  This treatment was first approved by the FDA in 1996 (Wisco, 2018). 


The costs of cosmetic procedures widely vary based on location, skill and qualification of the practitioner, and other factors. On average, the cost of microdermabrasion may range from $75 to $200. In comparison, that of a HydraFacial treatment may range from $150 to $300 (Zwivel, 2019).

HydraFacial vs Microdermabrasion


  • HydraFacial and microdermabrasion (MDA) are both exfoliating technics which use instruments to improve skin appearance.
  • Microdermabrasion is generally more widely available and more affordable. 
  • HydraFacial is a gentler and more recent moisturizing hydra-dermabrasion treatment. 

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://c0.wallpaperflare.com/preview/403/605/241/spray-embroidery-beauty-noodle.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2018/01/07/12/17/woman-3067179_960_720.jpg

[2]Ann, Irish. “Face Care Faceoff: HyraFacial vs Microdermabrasion”. SpectruMed. April 26, 2019. https://www.spectrumed.com.ph/media-buzz/face-care-faceoff-hydrafacial-vs-microdermabrasion/ (accessed April 8, 2020).

[3]Barrell, A. What to Know about Microdermabrasion. Medical News Today. October 24, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323443 (accessed April 10, 2020).

[4]Migala, J. What is a HydraFacial? How It Works, Benefits, Risks, and Where to Get One. Everyday Health. November 1, 2019. https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-beauty/what-is-a-hydrafacial-how-it-works-benefits-risks-and-where-to-get-one/ ( accessed April 10. 2020)

[5]Shah, M. & Crane, J. Microdermabrasion. Stat Pearls. January 13, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535383/ (accessed April 12, 2020).

[6]The HydraFacial Company. Linkedin. 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/company/thehydrafacialcompany (accessed April 12, 2020).

[7]Wisco, L. What is Microdermabrasion? Healthline. September 27, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/microdermabrasion (accessed April 10, 2020).

[8]Stewart, Y. “Top 5 Benefits of a Hydrafacial”. The Woodhouse. July 12, 2019. https://highlandvillage.woodhousespas.com/blog/2019/07/12/top-5-benefits-hydrafacial (accessed April 10, 2020).

[9]Zwivel Team. The Pros and Cons of HydraFacial: Does it Really Beat the Competition? Zwivel. January 22, 2019. https://www.zwivel.com/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-hydrafacial/ (accessed April 12, 2020).

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