Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel – Which Is Better For The Skin?


Smooth skin has always been a beauty goal for almost every woman and man. Skin resurfacing is a fairly modern science as far as beauty aesthetics go and there are plenty of techniques that have come to the fore to help an individual get soft and smooth skin.

Most of the techniques work by sloughing off the dead skin cells on the topmost layer of the skin and thereby facilitating new skin growth or new skin cells develop faster. The newer skin is thus softer, smoother, less wrinkled than the old skin. This leads to a fresher look. In fact, such skin resurfacing techniques can be applied to the body and face.
Skin resurfacing techniques range from laser resurfacing, chemical peels, dermabrasion to microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels have been increasingly adopted by people looking for better skin texture and to reverse the damage done by the sun or aging.


This method of skin resurfacing relies on exfoliation to remove the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. It does need the services of a skin care professional, but with today’s advancements, there are good quality home care microdermabrasion products available too. One of the simplest examples of microdermabrasion is the use of scrubs with fine powder of fruit seeds or other material that can help in scrubbing away the dead skin cells.

The history or microdermabrasion dates back to 1985 with the usage of aluminum oxide crystals being used to resurface the skin. Today, organic grains, sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride crystals are used to carry out the treatment. The organic grains can range from agricultural products to flower and fruit seeds. There is even one technique that uses diamond tips.

How Does Microdermabrasion Work?

Very simply put, microdermabrasion relies on carpeting the skin with micro particles. The skin receives these particles at high velocity. Immediately after such a mode of delivery, the particles are swept up by a special wand. This wand does the dual task of expelling the particles and sweeping them up as well.

Advantages of microdermabrasion include the following:

    • Decreases hyperpigmentation and sun damage
    • Reduces fine line and wrinklesbetter skin
  • Reduces or removes light scars made by acne
  • Smoothens the skin to leave it looking younger and more porous
  • Reduced uneven skin pigmentation
  • Good for all skin types
  • There is no need for anesthesia.

The Chemical Peel Process

A peel works when a particular chemical solution is applied on the skin and then removed with water or another neutralizing agent. These peels vary vastly in the material used, the time required for them to be administered and the depth to which they can penetrate. Most commonly used ingredients or modes of chemical peel are glycolic acid, salicylic acid, beta hydroxyl acid and trichloracetic acid to name a few.

Advantage of chemical peel is:

  • Works on deep scars and imperfection

Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel

A look at microdermabrasion vs chemical peel reveals that the former may be a better option for some people, especially those who do not have deep scarring on their faces.

A chemical peel can be more effective on deeper scars, but sometimes may require an anesthetic. Microdermabrasion normally does not hurt at all. The chemical peel may cause a bit of discomfort.

The recovery time for a chemical peel may vary between 1 week and 3 months, depending on the chemical used. For instance, glycolic peels are the simplest method, whereas a deeper peel may need a longer time and sometimes the face may have to be covered in bandages as well. Microdermabrasion may need a few days at the most.

A glycolic peel is the simplest of the chemical peel methods and may not cause too many side effects. Same is the case with microdermabrasion. However, the more serious chemical peels may cause a few more serious side effects to the skin.

In terms of cost, the milder chemical peels may cost more than microdermabrasion. Normally, the cost of the latter ranges from $70 to around $200. A glycolic acid peel may range from around $100 to $300, with the deeper peels touching even $7,000.

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