Chemical Peels vs Microdermabrasion: How Do You Know Which To Choose?

  • February 10, 2014

​Resurfacing your skin is beneficial to prolonging the longevity of healthy, youthful looking skin. As we age, our skin cells are slowing down in their turnover rate. As a child, you remember having youthful, plump hydrated skin. There was no concern of whether dead skin cells could slough off, leaving your skin smooth and clear. Then, you hit your teens, where oil production kicked into overdrive, holding the dehydrated layers of skin on…not allowing that cell turnover to occur so well. This resulted in blocked pores which lead to acne.
Chemical Peels vs Microdermabrasion

As we age, that oil production slows back down and we have dull, sluggish skin hiding our true beautiful skin that needs to be renewed…rejuvenated. Resurfacing the skin is crucial to help smooth out your complexion. You may be facing acne even still, or post acne scarring, sunspots, fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. But how do you choose if a regime of physical exfoliation (Microdermabrasion), Chemical Peels or a combination of the two is best for you? Especially if all methods resurface the skin and achieve the same goal?


Microdermabrasion is a procedure that uses mechanical exfoliation to gently remove the outermost layers of dead skin cells from the epidermis, while suction lifts the skin. This non-invasive procedure has no down time and people can return to normal daily activity right after the procedure. Much like brushing one’s teeth, Microdermabrasion helps to gently remove the skin’s "plaque” or debris. Since a persons skin typically should regenerate in intervals every 28 days or so, Microdermabrasion should be repeated every 2-4 weeks  to maintain the desired results. More aggressive treatments may require a weekly regime temporarily until skin is back to a healthy state.

Chemical Peels may also be considered within a Microdermabrasion series when skin has  hit a so-called "plateau.” In this insistence, if the skin is not responding to microdermabrasion alone, we can administer a mild chemical peel to kick-start cell turnover and loosen up the top layers, then bring the client back in 3-7 days to remove the debris with Microdermabrasion. Another advantage of combining microdermabrasion and chemical peel would be for clients that have that thick, waxy or oily layer that is more difficult for a chemical to penetrate. For best results with this skin condition, it’s suggested to do a mild Microdermabrasion to break through that barrier, then administer a chemical peel.

Chemical Peels, AKA Skin Peels

Chemical Peels come in many strengths, many different acids, and can penetrate at many depths. Microdermabrasion can immediately remove the outermost layers of the skin, but using a chemical solution causes the dead skin to slough off and eventually flake off instead. The superficial peel results in scaling within three to seven days. The regenerated skin is usually smoother, but best results are achieved after several peels when addressing larger concerns such as uneven pigmentation, acne and wrinkles.

Chemical Peel Treatments

When applying a chemical solution to the skin, clients feel a mild stinging sensation and warmth, but the sensation is only temporary. This procedure may briefly leave your skin slightly red, but you may resume daily activities as normal. Factors that may affect the depth of a peel include the acid concentration, the number of coats applied and the amount of time the acid is left on the skin. Your skincare provider will help you decide which type of chemical peel is best suited for your skin type.

Free Consultation

In order to determine what procedure(s) is best for your skin, we strongly recommend a free consultation with skin expert, Licensed Master Esthetician, Kristen Barrett. She will gladly steer you on the right path to healthier skin. Call Caddell’s Laser Clinic at 425-998-0181 to book your appointment today!

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