Microdermabrasion + Microneedling, Explained

Microdermabrasion and Microneedling, Explained

A few weeks back, I had a chance to test out a couple treatments I've always been curious about— microdermabrasion and microneedling— at Hemingway Medical Spa (6905 172 Street). Before sitting down with Dr. Olesen and having him explain both treatments, as well as the countless benefits associated with both, I'll admit that I had some preconceived notions surrounding both. Namely, that microdermabrasion would leave my skin sore and beet red, and that microneedling would hurt like a you-know-what. Pleasantly, I was wrong on both counts. So lest you have similar assumptions surrounding these procedures, or just don't know much about them at all, here's a run-down on both to help you decide if microdermabrasion and/or microneedling are right for you.


Microdermabrasion is an anti-aging treatment that works by using diamond-encrusted tip caps to mechanically exfoliate the skin, while gentle suction is used to remove dead skin cells. Doing so helps accelerate the growth of new, healthier skin cells, leading to a more smooth, radiant complexion. The vacuum suction involved in this treatment is also key in that it helps to increase circulation and collagen growth, which are both crucial in keeping skin looking youthful and fresh. Dr. Olesen also offers crystal-free microdermabrasion at his practice, which is less aggressive than traditional crystal microdermabrasion (and the treatment he recommended for me as well).


Microneedling, or 'microchanneling,' is the process wherein tiny medical-grade needles are rolled across the face to create intentional wounding in the dermis of the skin. These tiny wounds trigger the skin's healing response, which stimulates the production of collagen and fibroblast activity, and ultimately helps to combat things like fine lines, acne scars and sun damage. This treatment also involves the infusion of some pretty powerful serums (which vary in scope depending on your particular needs) that are absorbed deep into the skin thanks to the microchannels created, leaving the complexion looking plump, hydrated and more radiant.

In my experience, the pain associated with microneedling wasn't too bad; it was more uncomfortable than anything else, but thankfully the process went by quickly. The results far outweighed any discomfort I may have felt, however— my skin literally glowed for days after the fact, and it felt incredibly soft and smooth to the touch. Dr. Olesen offers both treatments separately, but recommends undergoing them at the same time for optimal results— up to six times a year for long-term benefits (see you later, acne scars!). But be warned: At $290 for the combo (bundle packages are available for three and six visits), this treatment isn't cheap. Still, if skincare is as important to you as it is to me, I think it's definitely worth investing in... even if that means cutting out certain expenditures à la Coveteur's Living Off Ramen series. Sorry daily Starbucks latte, I'm talking about you.

Special thanks Dr. Olesen and the lovely team at Hemingway Medical Spa for inviting me to try these services! This post was not sponsored; all opinions shared here are my own.  Photo via Ilia Beauty

1 comment

  1. Hi Vickie,

    I know its a bit old, but I just wanted to share my story. Back in April, I took the plunge and (based on this glowing (haha see what I did there) review) got my own combo treatment from Dr. Olesen. It was soooo amazing! I did find that the fear of the procedure was a lot worse than the actual pain, but I'm a big baby anyways when it comes to pain haha.

    Fast forward to a few months later. It's end of July and my cousin (call her S) is getting married down in Red Deer, and I'm a bridesmaid. About a week before the big event, the girl who was planning the bachelorette party bailed (long story), and my cousin was left with no plans. Well, I thought back to this post, and wished (not for the first or last time) that we were in Edmonton.

    Luckily, I was able to find a clinic in Olds (Derma Nuva) that offered a similar procedure, and we made a day of it! Road trip, brunch, some facial pain, and then drinks and dancing in Olds (not a great club scene there, but we had fun). I just wanted to make sure any of your followers know that if anyone is looking for Micro-needling in Red Deer, they're a great place to go. Check them out!

    Thanks for helping me get over my fear of the pain. S said she owes you big, so next time you're in Red Deer to look her up! lol jk