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Less Invasive, Less Expensive, More Effective

With so many choices, how do you choose from one non-surgical skin treatment over the other? How do you know which is best for you? Here’s an easy comparison of three non-surgical, minimally invasive techniques taking into consideration known side effects, downtime, expected results, and cost.

What Happens?

All treatments have a common goal: injure the skin just enough to begin natural healing processes. Ablative treatments like chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing accomplish this task by removing the entire top layer of skin. Microdermabrasion is also ablative, but it is superficial and cannot treat for deeper imperfections. New technologies like radio frequency and IPL are non-ablative (they do not remove the top layer) and have demonstrated effectiveness, but the equipment is very expensive thus treatments can be costly to the patient. Microneedling is unique because it produces similar results without expensive equipment and without removing skin layers; treatments are comparatively inexpensive and pose minimal risks.

Treatment Survey

  1. Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels

    Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels are popular ablative techniques. Dermabrasion requires the clinician to use a power driven handheld machine with a rotating metal wheel and a diamond fraise or a wire brush to remove the top layers of the skin. It can be performed using a general or a local anesthetic, depending on the area submitted to the treatment. Chemical peels use a mild acid solution to achieve the same effect. To ensure successful outcomes, both ablatives require a great deal of clinical artistry, skill, and experience.

  2. Laser skin resurfacing

    Laser skin resurfacing uses high intensity light emissions to vaporize the top layers of the skin in order to either remove scars or wrinkles. Like dermabrasion and chemical peels, laser resurfacing stimulates collagen and elastin production in the skin as a means of making wrinkles and other imperfections less visible. Also, like other ablatives, laser resurfacing requires a great deal of clinical artistry, skill, and experience to ensure a positive outcome.

  3. Non-Ablative Machine-based treatments

    Non-Ablative Machine-based treatments include a wide array of recent innovations, many of them quite new and very expensive. Radio frequency treatments deliver high energy influences to a large area of tissue with no epidermal injury. The underlying effect is the same as microwave cooking. IPL (intense pulse light) or ‘Photorejuvenation’ focuses broad spectrum light onto the skin to influence texture and pigmentation.

  4. Microdermabrasion

    Microdermabrasion is a milder peeling procedure (ablative); a gentle mechanical peel that uses a stream of crystals (or a diamond tipped wand) and suction to gently exfoliate the skin. Home care microdermabrasion kits are readily available from many pharmacies and department stores.

  5. Microneedling

    Microneedling is a mesotherapeutic ‘non-ablative’ non-surgical tool that facilitates a procedure that preserves the top layer of skin while inducing the body to produce collagen and elastin. Treatment involves a roller with needles that ranged from shot length (0.2mm) to long length (3.0mm). The clinical version must be administered by a clinician with a mild topical anesthetic. Personal care versions are available from skin care professionals only.


The downtime required of various skin therapies depends on the depth of the injury caused to the skin. Microdermabrasion produces very little downtime – a few hours of tingling and redness. But a deep chemical peel can keep you at home on painkillers for as much as 2 weeks.

Dermabrasion and laser resurfacing will leave the skin red and swollen for around ten days, total recuperation can be up to three weeks.

Microneedling is truly non-ablative and produces little downtime – skin may be red and sensitive for about two to three hours after treatment.

Skin Treatment Comparison

Microneedling with MTS topical products: Less Invasive, Less Expensive, More Effective

Risks And Side Effects

There are ample horror stories about inadequate care by professionals when performing dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Not only do these procedures require a great deal of training to master, they also require some amount of artistry in judging how much of the skin to remove; too little and the patient walks away with less than what they paid for, too much and there could be permanent damage like scarring or pigmentation changes. Moreover, these treatments may not be suitable for people with darker skin types.

Meanwhile, new machine-based treatments like radio frequency, IPL, and other non-ablatives do not exhibit many side effects, but the performance/artistry risks are the same. Microdermabrasion appears to have the advantage of exhibiting few side effects and little risk due to a large degree because it is a less invasive procedure. As such, however Microdermabrasion has limited effectiveness on removing deeper acne scars, wrinkles, age spots or stretch marks.

Microneedling has none of the common risks and offers all of the advantages of the most invasive and most expensive treatments. The needles can only go into the skin so far – that’s why there are six different models for our MTS Roller. The only variable is for the practitioner to determine which of the rollers to use. Even if the provider goes too deep, the damage is minimal and not permanent. Moreover, clinical studies have shown that the mesotherapeutic effect of Microneedling at 0.5mm needle depth outperforms all ablative treatments (chemical peel, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing) and CO2 laser, Fraxel, and IPL in terms of delivering smoother skin and a long lasting effect.