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Laser Skin Resurfacing vs. Microdermabrasion


Laser Skin Resurfacing vs. Microdermabrasion

Many patients desire smoother, younger-looking skin but are not ready to undergo a surgical procedure such as a facelift. Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing are non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments that can help you achieve a more youthful glow. While these procedures address similar concerns, they differ in candidacy, treatment timeline, and recovery. At our Scottsdale, AZ, practice, Dr. Dustin Heringer can perform laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion with the utmost precision. After reviewing your aesthetic goals, he will recommend the appropriate treatment. 


What Are the Similarities? 

Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing exfoliate the top layers of skin and encourage collagen production. Both treatments:

  • Are non-surgical
  • Do not require incisions 
  • Can be performed on an outpatient basis
  • Can reduce the appearance of facial lines, sun damage, acne scars, and age spots 

For most patients, microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing can reveal smoother, younger-looking skin after just one appointment, though your doctor may recommend multiple sessions for the best possible results. 

Differences to Consider 

Though they produce similar results, microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing have distinct requirements for candidacy, and they feature different treatment timelines.


Microdermabrasion is safe for use on all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, as microdermabrasion is a mild procedure, it cannot correct more extensive concerns. Laser skin resurfacing would most likely be a better option if you struggle with issues like extensive scarring or severe discoloration. Those with darker skin tones are generally considered better candidates for microdermabrasion, because laser therapy can cause hyperpigmentation.

Keep in mind that if you scar easily or are prone to keloids, you may not qualify for either procedure. If this is the case, Dr. Heringer can recommend an alternative, such as a chemical peel.

Treatment Timeline 

Microdermabrasion can usually be completed in under an hour. However, the length of a laser skin resurfacing session will depend on the extent of the area being treated. While a partial laser skin resurfacing procedure can take 30 to 45 minutes, more complex treatments can take up to two hours. 


Non-invasive and non-chemical, microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin using a stream of microcrystals. The dead skin cells are then removed with a gentle suction. 

Laser skin resurfacing uses light energy to break down the bonds between damaged skin cells to reveal smoother skin beneath. The laser also stimulates the growth of new skin cells.

Level of Pain 

Microdermabrasion can be completed with minimal discomfort, and most patients report feeling only a slight tingling sensation during treatment. Laser skin resurfacing is more intensive, however, any discomfort can be minimized with local anesthesia. You may also opt for an oral sedative to put your mind at ease. 


Immediately following microdermabrasion, you may feel a slight stinging sensation. However, you should experience little to no post-treatment discomfort. Any redness should dissipate within a few hours. In contrast, recovery after laser skin resurfacing can vary depending on the extent of treatment. Some patients require little to no downtime, while others may need several weeks to fully recover. 

Begin Your Transformation

If you desire are ready to achieve more vibrant, radiant skin, a skin rejuvenation procedure may be right for you. Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing are two of the many rejuvenation procedures we offer at Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery. To learn more about either treatment or to explore our other services, schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer. 

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