Both chemical peel treatments and microdermabrasion treatments are used to resurface and exfoliate the skin. The treatments work in different ways to achieve similar results.
Microdermabrasion is recommended to improve superficial skin imperfections. This includes mild acne scars, age spots or sun spots, enlarged or visible pores, and fine lines. A chemical peel, whether it is lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or other variation, is recommended for more serious skin conditions such as deep or severe acne scarring and moderate wrinkles or extensive sun damage. This means that the recovery time from a chemical peel may be longer as well.
Microdermabrasion treatments come in just one strength, whereas a chemical skin peel is available in various strengths ranging from mild to medium to deep. A deep chemical peel is usually only administered by a skin care professional who may use anesthetic due to pain or discomfort involved. Microdermabrasion treatments do not hurt at all, even with several treatments.
As far as recovery time involved for a chemical peel, it will depend on what acid was used and at what strength. If you are looking for something mild, a glycolic acid peel is recommended. While they require more than one treatment due to their mildness, glycolic acid peels do produce great results over time. Other face peels, such as a Jessner peel, may produce redness which lasts a bit longer and you may experience a burning sensation as they are a bit stronger due to the ingredients used. Microdermabrasion on the other hand, requires no downtime at all and the recovery takes just a few hours.
When it comes to results, microdermabrasion will require several treatments to be optimally effective, sometimes up to ten or twelve treatments scheduled two weeks apart. A maintenance session of microdermabrasion treatments is then recommended every couple of months. In contrast, a deep chemical peel needs only one treatment. A medium chemical peel will require a treatment once every 6 weeks and then a maintenance treatment once every 2-3 months for a minimum of one year.
Microdermabrasion and a chemical skin peel can be used on the face, chest, neck, back, and hands. Both treatments take about the same amount of time whether performed at home or in a professional skin care facility. Microdermabrasion and chemical peel treatments are both offered professionally in dermatologist’s offices and other skin care facilities but can also be performed with home versions.
At home peels, which are usually milder than deep professional chemical peel treatments typically cost between $15-$100 per treatment and home microdermabrasion kits cost anywhere from $40-$65 which include multiple treatments.