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Diamond Microdermabrasion vs. Crystal Microdermabrasion. What’s the Difference?

BY: Editors | Jul 1, 2016

Diamond Microdermabrasion vs. Crystal Microdermabrasion. What’s the Difference?

At their core, all microdermabrasion treatments work to do the same thing: remove dead skin cells. The process can also treat many surface problems, including dullness, mild to moderate acne, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines.

But microdermabrasion, like most facials, isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. What’s the best type of microdermabrasion for acne? What about scars? Are crystal microdermabrasion and diamond microdermabrasion the same thing? Below, we take a closer look at three of the most popular types of microdermabrasion and examine the pros and cons of each.

Crystal Microdermabrasion

Of the three types of microdermabrasion listed here, crystal microdermabrasion has been around the longest. As its name implies, the technique uses a wand to spray fine crystals over the face. As the loose crystals abrade the skin, an attached vacuum sucks up dead skin cells and used crystals with every pass. Crystals are most often made from nontoxic aluminum oxide or organic sodium bicarbonate.


  • Possibly the best type of microdermabrasion for acne, since the crystals have anti-bacterial properties.
  • The loose crystals can reach places a diamond-tip microdermabrasion wand can’t.


  • Spray can be hard to control.
  • Crystals can irritate eyes and be inhaled.
  • Some say it feels like being “sandblasted.”
  • May leave a pink or red glow (generally fades within one day).

Diamond Microdermabrasion

Diamond-tip microdermabrasion is exactly what it sounds like: a wand with a tip made from natural or synthetic diamond chips. Because this technique is particle-free, aestheticians often prefer it because they have more control and accuracy. These wands also have attached suction, but differ in that they make direct contact with the skin. As with crystal microdermabrasion, treatments are relatively quick, and any redness experienced afterward usually disappears by the end of the day.


  • Diamonds are the hardest mineral and most effective for abrasion.
  • No risk of ingestion, allowing treatment closer to eyes and mouth.


  • Large, fixed shape can’t reach every part of the face.
  • Skin cells can build up on the wand, potentially spreading bacteria to other parts of the face.


This technique is similar to diamond microdermabrasion, but uses a gentler vacuum pump capped by one of several bristle-tipped heads of various coarseness (silk, nylon, or polyester satintone). These bristles are also used to deliver various serums into the skin, such as salicylic acid (a common acne treatment) or hyaluronic acid (to help with dryness). After exfoliation, pores are more open and can better absorb these types of topical products.

With this type of microdermabrasion, the vacuum plays a larger role: its airflow is reversible, allowing it to push and pull on skin, stimulating circulation and collagen production. The equipment is also outfitted with a digital LCD screen to provide precise pressure monitoring.


  • More customization with the variety of tips and vacuum settings.
  • Gentler equipment minimizes discomfort.


  • Bristles don’t abrade as intensely as minerals.

It’s perhaps worth noting that DermaSweep is a branded procedure and that there are other brands of equipment that work in a similar way. SilkPeel, for example, also infuses the skin with topical serums, but utilizes a diamond-tip microdermabrasion head instead of bristles.

Get our answers to microdermabrasion FAQs, including how it compares to peels.