Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peels


by Marisa Amorasak

Non-invasive skincare treatments are becoming increasingly popular as people search for ways to improve the look of their skin without going under the knife. Treatments utilizing chemical and manual exfoliants, lasers, oxygen, and even ultrasound waves have been proven effective at treating a wide variety of skin concerns. Fortunately, non-invasive skincare treatments can be performed in an outpatient facility, with little to no healing time associated with the treatments. Currently, two of the most well-known and affordable skincare treatments are microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Both are ideal for use on virtually any skin type, from any age bracket. Read on to learn more about microdermabrasion and chemical peels, plus the differences between the two procedures:

The Scoop on Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion uses manual exfoliation to reveal newer, brighter, more radiant skin. Most microdermabrasion techniques incorporate a pressurized stream of crystal particles, oftentimes aluminum dioxide. The crystals effectively “polish” the skin, sloughing off dead and dulling skin. In turn, it can also help lessen the appearance of fine lines, large pores, age spots, acne scarring, and other skin discolorations.

Microdermabrasion is a fairly hassle-free treatment for people looking to improve their skin. The treatment only takes about forty-five minutes total, and costs between $75 and $100 depending on the geographical location of the practitioner and their individual price points. Although it’s common to get just one microdermabrasion, many skincare experts recommend a series of microdermabrasions (between eight and ten) for the most noticeable skincare benefits.

Microdermabrasion isn’t usually covered by health care insurance, as it is considered a cosmetic treatment. The exception is if you are receiving a microdermabrasion as an acne treatment. If you have acne and you believe a microdermabrasion may help your skin, ask a skincare specialist during a consultation if insurance may cover the treatment.

The Particulars on Chemical Peels

Chemical peelsalso exfoliate the skin, but do so using chemical formulations. Lactic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA), beta hydroxyl acid (BHA), and phenol acid are commonly used to reveal brighter skin and treat deeper skin conditions. One of the upsides of chemical peels is that there is a degree of versatility: there are different levels of peels you may choose from. The natural acids tend to be gentler, while phenol acid is effective at treating deep wrinkles and non-superficial skin ailments.

The cost of chemical peels ranges from between $400 and $800. The total time for treatment is about two hours, depending on the intensity of the peel and how long it’s left on the skin. Peels are frequently accompanied by extractions or skin-calming treatments afterwards. Patients may feel some mild stinging from the chemicals, but it should subside after the peel has been removed or after the skin becomes accustomed to the chemical. Chemical peels are considered a cosmetic treatment and thus are rarely covered by health insurance.

Which Skin Treatment is Right For You?

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels produce similar results through slightly different methods. If you’re not looking for any major skin corrections and just seeking a way to get smoother, clearer, more radiant skin, microdermabrasion is probably your best option. It can also help clear up superficial skin conditions like large pores. So if microdermabrasion is less effective than chemical peels, why would one just microdermabrasion? Microdermabrasion is slightly gentler than chemical peels, so while it will definitely leave your face smooth it runs less of a chance of irritation. A microdermabrasion will have your skin looking back to normal in little to no time.

Chemical peels aren’t necessarily more aggressive than microdermabrasion, but they certainly can be—that’s because there are different types of chemicals that are used during the peel. If you’re looking to remove minor discoloration, like pigmentation left behind by acne, a series of lactic acid peels may be enough to treat them. If your skin ailments are deeper—like wrinkles, or ice pick acne scars—a strong phenol acid peel would be a better choice.

Scheduling Your Microdermabrasion or Chemical Peel

If you’d like to learn more about microdermabrasions, chemical peels, or to learn which skin treatment is best for your skin, contact us today! We’ll happily set you up with a free consultation with a skincare specialist in your area.

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