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Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel - Which Exfoliation Method is Better for You?

Dr. Archhana Gullur 90% (102 ratings)
MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Bangalore  •  13 years experience
Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel - Which Exfoliation Method is Better for You?

Many factors come into play when evaluating the health of our biggest organ, the skin. It is always exposed to external elements and hence sustains most potential damage. When choosing the proper treatments and products to enhance your skin, you should take into consideration such factors as skin pigmentation, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, skin sensitivities, oiliness or dryness. Exfoliation procedures can be physical or chemical. Which is best for you? The best way to decide on Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel is to review the benefits and expectations of each procedure.

Microdermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is the most common physical method for removing the very superficial level of the skin. It is a manual exfoliation of the epidermis to remove dead skin cells, debris and impurities. Normally, an instrument, which combines suction and a wand made of diamond or small crystal particles, is used to remove these from the skin.

Microdermabrasion produces instant results, but may not be a good choice for inflamed, sensitive or rosacea type skin. In such cases look for resurfacing methods that utilize a dermafile, a manual exfoliation using diamond files. This technique reduces breakage of capillaries in someone with thin or sensitive skin. Microdermabrasion encourages collagen stimulation and a more rapid cell turnover in the skin.

Microdermabrasion wands consist of two main types:

  1. Crystal tip – A mixture of fine aluminum crystals are used to abrade the skin, as the cells and debris are blown away.
  2. Diamond tip  – Very fine diamond particles are used to remove any dead cells, oils, or debris, as these are also suctioned away.

What can I expect from Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion should leave the skin’s surface velvety smooth, soft, bright and glowing. This rejuvenation method is instant and in rare cases, a pinkness or sensitivity may occur a few hours directly after the procedure, lasting less than 24 hours. Microdermabrasion is a workhorse of all rejuvenation procedures. Although it is primarily used on the face, it can be used on any part of the body, from the neck to chest, to hands, etc. Microdermabrasion is frequently done on the same day prior to other rejuvenation procedures for maximum benefits.

Chemical Peel
Chemical peels use topical applications of peeling solutions to rejuvenate the skin, address fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, tone and texture. They allow for cells that make collagen to function more effectively and remove any damage caused by the sun and other external forces that always act on our skin. Chemical peels are the preferred method in general for the treatment of the following;

  1. Counter fine lines and wrinkles
  2. Issues with skin pigmentation due to age or sun damage
  3. Acne and some acne scars
  4. General improvement in the skin’s texture, tightness and overall appearance

How do Chemical Peels work?
Whenever we take a step outside, or take a ride in a car our skin is exposed to harsh elements, pollutants, and harmful ultraviolet rays. With exposure to these elements, the skin is potentially damaged, leading to the aged appearance.

Chemical peels remove damaged cells; stimulate the growth of the new skin cells and collagen production. Different peels are used for different purposes. They can and should be customized for each patient’s particular skin types and problems. There are wonderful new combination peels that are safe, effective and have minimal down time. Anyone undergoing a chemical peel must stay out of the sun from 6 – 10 days and needless to say continue to use sun block.

Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel
It is always best to consult your physician when determining what will work best for your individual case and to help you accomplish your rejuvenation and/or skin-improvement goals. 

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