Chemical Peels versus Microdermabrasion

Chemical Peels vs. Microdermabrasion: Which is Right for You?

If your skin is looking dry or dull these days, or you suffer from issues like fine lines, acne, hyperpigmentation, scarring, or rough patches, you may be wondering if a chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment is right for you. What’s the difference?

Both chemical peels and microdermabrasion are exfoliating processes, meaning they remove layers of dead skin, making your face look more even-toned, radiant, and smooth. The treatments are different and have varying costs, recovery time, and results. Let’s learn more and see which treatment best fits your specific skincare needs.

The Lowdown on Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a painless, non-invasive process in which tiny crystals are sprayed onto the surface of the skin to loosen dead skin cells, which are then suctioned off with a facial vacuum. This exfoliating and skin rejuvenation procedure leaves skin feeling softer and looking brighter. Buh-bye, dull skin. Hello, glow!

The Good

The pros of microdermabrasion are that there is no pain involved, no recovery or downtime after the procedure, and it’s completely safe. It also tends to be more affordable than chemical peels.

The Bad

The cons of microdermabrasion are that the results are gradual, and estheticians typically recommend 6 – 12 sessions (2-4 weeks apart) to see significant improvement. It’s also generally a one-size fits all procedure, so if you have a specific issue that needs to be targeted, microdermabrasion may not be right for you.

The Beautiful

Bottom line: Microdermabrasion is a gentle, effective, and affordable way to generally perk up dull, dry skin, as well as brighten and improve texture. If your skin issues are more complex, or you need more intense treatment, you may want to consider a chemical peel.

The Lowdown on Chemical Peels

Chemical peels, like microdermabrasion, exfoliate your skin, but while microdermabrasion uses a physical exfoliation process, chemical peels use chemicals to actually dissolve off the dead skin, revealing new skin underneath. Chemical peels work deeper than microdermabrasion, so they can have more risks, but also more rewards. There are many types of chemical peels available including relatively mild peels like alpha hydroxy acid peels (AHA), beta hydroxy acid peels (BHA), Jessners’s peels, and retinoic acid peels; medium strength peels like trichloroacetic acid peels (TCA); and deep peels such as phenol peels.

The Good

Chemical peels have more long-lasting results than microdermabrasion and, depending on the type of peel you get, they may not require repeated treatments. They can make a visible difference with acne, scars, hyperpigmentation or melasma, wrinkles, and sagging. It may even reduce the risk of skin cancer. Additionally, because there are so many types to choose from, you can pick the peel that works best for your specific skin issue.

The Bad

Chemical peels may cause some pain such as stinging or burning, and stronger peels may cause your skin to actually peel off over the course of days or weeks. It may take a couple of weeks to recover and heal from a chemical peel, and you may not want to be seen with peeling skin in the interim. Chemical peels also tend to be more expensive than microdermabrasion.

The Beautiful

Bottom line, chemical peels give you some great options to target your specific skin care needs and make a noticeable difference in your skin’s appearance, texture, and tone. However, if you don’t want the expense or downtime associated with chemical peels, you may want to try microdermabrasion instead.

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