You may have wondered what the difference is between a chemical peel and microdermabrasion. Both treatments are a form of exfoliation of the skin. Exfoliation is the act of removing dead skin cells from the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The easiest way to maintain healthy skin is by keeping it free and clear of dead skin cells. The difference between microdermabrasion and chemical peels is that they are two different types of exfoliation: microdermabrasion is a physical exfoliation and chemical peels are a chemical exfoliation.

While microdermabrasion works well on superficial skin imperfections (some acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and sun spots), a chemical peel is more effective on serious skin problems like deeper scars and wrinkles. 

Microdermabrasion 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. Microdermabrasion encourages collagen stimulation and a more rapid cell turnover in the skin. After microdermabrasion, skin will appear softer, smoother, brighter, clearer, fresher and younger looking. Although it is primarily used on the face, it can be used on other parts of the body —  from the neck to chest, to hands, etc. To maintain the healthy glow associated with microdermabrasion, it is recommended once a month for optimum results. Appointments made too soon together could irritate and redden the skin. 

Chemical peels use topical applications of peeling solutions to rejuvenate the skin, address fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, tone and texture. Chemical peels involve controlled removal of varying layers of the skin with the use of a chemical agent. Chemical peels are often categorized according to the depth of the peel:

  • Light Chemical Peel: This kind of peel removes just the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) in a light exfoliation.
  • Medium Chemical Peel: This type of peel removes skin cells from both the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and upper part of the middle layer of skin (dermis).
  • Deep Chemical Peel: The chemical used for this type of peel penetrates down to the lower dermal layer. A deep chemical peel usually involves a pretreatment for up to 8 weeks to prepare the skin for the peel and to speed the healing process. 

To determine which exfoliating treatment is best for your skin, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Holy in Phoenix. To schedule an appointment, contact THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology at 602-867-7546 or website.