Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peels

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Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are both popular methods of sloughing away dead skin cells to reveal younger-looking skin.

While they have a number of similarities, there are also some major differences in the way each method works to resurface your skin.

So, which one is right for you?

It depends on what type of results you’re looking for. In this article, we review how each treatment works, look at the differences between the two, and which treatment is best for your needs.

Microdermabrasion Vs Chemical Peels

What Can You Expect Post-Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is meant for all skin types and most people see results right away.

Immediately, you can expect your skin to be more radiant and appear smoother and healthier.

Regular treatments may help fade the appearance of scars and sun damage over time.

What Can You Expect Post-Chemical Peel?

Just like with microdermabrasion, you should see results immediately after your chemical peel.

Your skin may initially appear red, but this should get this back to normal within an hour or two. Over the next few days, you can expect to see brighter and smoother skin – especially if you’re having a superficial peel.

Deep peels may take about 2-3 days to see full results. If you have dark skin, the effects of chemical peels will be more noticeable than on light skin.

You can also expect some flaking and scaling as your skin heals, which is normal and should subside in about a week.

Who Can Benefit From Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels are most effective for people with acne scars, sun damage,  fine lines, and dull skin.

If you have darker skin, chemical peels are especially effective in lightening brown spots or patches caused by melasma or hyperpigmentation. [1]

For best results, you may want to combine microdermabrasion with chemical peels. As always, you should speak with your dermatologist first about the best treatment regimen for your specific needs. 

You should also consider using skincare products like:

  • Retinoid creams and serums help build collagen and reduce fine lines.
  • Vitamin C serum to treat acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) such as glycolic acid or lactic acid helps to exfoliate the skin.
  • Higher-strength peels, such as trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or phenol which helps to heal acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

Chemical peels can also be used in conjunction with laser therapy like CO2 resurfacing, fractional resurfacing, or laser hair removal.

You should see results right away, but chemical peels will typically take longer than microdermabrasion to see improvement in deep scarring.

Which Procedure Should You Get?

If you’re looking for a procedure that will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, then microdermabrasion may be the better choice for you.

Chemical peels are typically used for people with more moderate skin damage such as acne scars and hyperpigmentation.


Before making any decisions with your dermatologist, it’s important to research the different types of chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

After you have a better understanding of what each treatment has to offer, you’re in the best position to make the right choice for your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Laser Hair Removal Right for Me?

Laser hair removal uses laser beams to remove unwanted hair and give you a smooth skin texture in that area. It is used most commonly on the face and neck, but can also be used in other areas such as the underarms, bikini line, legs, and chest.

Before making any decisions with your dermatologist about laser hair removal, it’s important to know the benefits and drawbacks of this procedure.

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