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Your Skin, Your Choice: Microdermabrasion vs. Chemical Peels

Updated: Apr 12

Which is better? Microdermabrasion or Chemical Peel? 

We know that choosing the right skin care treatment can be a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes to popular choices like microdermabrasion and chemical peels. But don't worry, we're here to help! Many of our clients ask us about the differences between these two treatments, and we're always happy to explain.

 It's important to keep in mind that the right treatment for you will depend on a variety of factors, such as your budget, recovery time, and desired results. So, let's walk through each treatment together to help you make the best decision for your skin. 


Microdermabrasion is a skin care treatment that removes the top layer of skin. It can help with fine lines, aging skin, and discoloration. During the treatment, a professional uses a vacuum to remove dead skin cells. This process can make your skin look younger and brighter.

Microdermabrasion is a gentle way to remove the outer layer of skin. It stimulates new skin growth and can make your skin look healthier. This treatment uses a special tool to remove dead skin cells and it is more effective than home exfoliation methods. It can leave your skin looking smoother and more vibrant.

This non-invasive procedure involves using fine crystals and vacuum suction to exfoliate your skin. It removes a larger volume of dead skin cells than home methods. If you want your skin to look and feel its best, microdermabrasion can be a great option.


Microdermabrasion has been found by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to have a wide range of benefits which include:


●      Enhance age spots and blackheads

●      Enhance hyperpigmentation (darkened skin patches)

●      Exfoliate the skin for a rejuvenated look

●      Diminish the visibility of stretch marks

●      Minimize fine lines and wrinkles

●      Shrink or remove enlarged pores

●      Address acne and acne scars


What You Need to Know About the Procedure


If you're thinking of getting microdermabrasion, here are some important things you should know:


What happens during the procedure: The microdermabrasion device blows tiny crystals onto your skin and then uses a vacuum to remove dead skin cells. Sometimes, a diamond tip is used instead. It doesn't hurt and takes about 20-30 minutes. You might feel a little tingle or vibration on your skin.


How many treatments you need: To get the most benefits from microdermabrasion, you'll need to have multiple treatments. Usually, you'll need between five and sixteen sessions, which you can schedule weekly or every two weeks. Your skincare specialist will tell you what they recommend.


Risks and side effects: Microdermabrasion is a safe and non-invasive procedure, so there aren't many risks. Some people might have mild side effects, like swollen or red skin, sensitivity to sunlight, or a stinging feeling for a few days after the treatment.

What Are Chemical Peels?

A chemical peel is a professional skincare treatment that goes beyond the peeling solutions used at home, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, AHA, and BHA. It involves the application of a stronger chemical solution to remove dead skin cells and promote skin cell turnover. The result is skin that appears more youthful and radiant. The strength of the peeling solution used can be adjusted based on the specific concerns and depth of wrinkles.

Benefits of Chemical Peels:

●     Reduction of fine lines and deeper wrinkles

●     Diminished appearance of dark spots

●     Effective treatment for acne scars

●     Solution for sun-damaged skin

●     Improved skin texture

Conditions Treated by Chemical Peels:

Chemical peels are effective in addressing various skin conditions, including:

●     Acne

●     Fine lines

●     Crow's feet

●     Brown spots

●     Sagging skin

●     Wrinkles

●     Blemishes

●     Hyperpigmentation

●     Melasma (patchy facial skin discoloration)

●     Scars

How it Differs from Microdermabrasion:

The main difference between chemical peels and microdermabrasion lies in how the outer layer of the skin is removed to reveal fresh skin underneath. While microdermabrasion gently suctions away the top layer (epidermis), a chemical peel utilizes a chemical solution to dissolve the skin.


What You Need to Know About the Procedure

Procedure Overview:

During the chemical peel procedure, a specialized chemical solution will be applied to the skin. The formula used will be tailored to meet your specific needs and desired outcomes. Light chemical peels yield subtle improvements initially, with more noticeable results seen over time with regular sessions. In contrast, deep peels deliver the most significant improvements, and visible enhancement is typically observed post-recovery.


Number of Treatments:

The frequency of chemical peel treatments varies based on individual goals. Light peels, targeting the outer skin layer, can be done monthly for a rejuvenated, luminous complexion. Deep peels, on the other hand, are recommended less frequently, typically once every few years.


Risks and Recovery:

Light peel recoveries last around four days, during which temporary skin tone changes may occur. Medium peels may require five to seven days for healing, often accompanied by swelling and redness. Deep peel recoveries last approximately two weeks, with expected intense swelling, redness, burning sensation, and skin throbbing. Your esthetician will provide post-care instructions to aid in skin recovery and alleviate discomfort.

Is Microdermabrasion or a Chemical Peel Right for My Skin?

Now that you comprehend the distinction between microdermabrasion and chemical peels – microdermabrasion being a form of physical exfoliation, while a peel involves chemical exfoliation – it is essential to consider which option is best for your needs.

Both treatments offer the potential to enhance the overall appearance of your skin. Chemical peels typically yield results after a single treatment, whereas microdermabrasion usually requires multiple visits to your dermatologist.

Remember that chemical peels offer more than just wrinkle reduction and dark spot removal. Studies suggest that these treatments can also boost collagen production, leading to better anti-aging results over time.

Chemical peels can also penetrate deeper layers of the skin compared to microdermabrasion, making them a better choice for those with more serious skin aging concerns. If you're dealing with significant skin aging issues, a moderate or deep chemical peel may provide dramatic improvement.


If you're thinking about getting both chemical peels and microdermabrasion, it's important to talk to an esthetician first. Microdermabrasion can help prepare your skin for a chemical peel and make it easier for the product to work. However, you should not make this decision on your own.  An esthetician can look at your skin and understand what you're hoping to achieve. They can recommend the best course of action to get the results you want.

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