microdermabrasion treatment systems

Microdermabrasion or chemical peel

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are similar in many ways and because they are both used to treat many of the same skin conditions it’s difficult to determine which treatment is better. Finding the best treatment for you involves considering factors such as goals, results, treatment time, healing time, side effects, cost and inconvenience.  Below we’ve compared every aspect of microdermabrasion treatment to chemical peels.

Benefits of microdermabrasion & chemical peels

The benefits of microdermabrasion & chemical peels are similar as they are both used to treat the same skin conditions including:

  • Acne
  • Acne scars
  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Rough skin
  • Sun damages skin
  • Hypo pigmentation
  • Age spots

The difference in results between microdermabrasion and chemical peels depends largely on what type of chemical peel you choose. There are three types of chemical peel:

  1. Glycolic acid chemical peel
  2. TCA chemical peel
  3. Phenol acid chemical peel

The benefits of microdermabrasion are very similar to those of glycolic acid chemical peels, which are the lightest of the chemical peels. Stronger chemical peels such as TCA (trichloroacetic) peels and phenol peels do produce more significant and long lasting results and are the treatment of choice for skin problems that exist in the deeper layers of skin such as acne scars and wrinkles.  This is because TCA and phenol acid peels penetrate the dermis layer of skin, while microdermabrasion and glycolic acid peels only affect the top layer of skin.  By penetrating deeper layers of skin, TC and phenol acid chemical peels are able to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin which are the building blocks of skin.

Microdermabrasion & chemical peel treatment time

Glycolic acid chemical peels are the least time consuming and can be completed in about 15 minutes, while microdermabrasion and TCA peels both take about 30minutes. Phenol acid peels are more time consuming taking up to 2 hours to complete a treatment.

Microdermabrasion & chemical peel side effects

Microdermabrasion and glycolic acid peels are particularly popular because of the lack of side effects. The only side effects involved with these two treatments are a temporary redness, itching and dryness which goes after a few hours. TCA and phenol acid peels, however, involve a lot more post treatment discomfort. TCA peels can leave the skin red and sensitive for up to 1 week, while phenol acid peels take several weeks for the skin to return to normal. Phenol acid peels induce swelling and scabbing after treatment. Also, after the skin has healed it will not tan in the sun  which can look strange if you ever go sun bathing. 

Microdermabrasion & chemical peel costs

The cost of microdermabrasion and glycolic acid chemical peels are very similar. A single treatment can cost between $80-120 and a series of several treatments are usually needed for significant improvement. TCA and phenol acid peels are more costly because the treatment provider usually needs to be a highly trained specialist or a dermatologist. These treatments can cost around $1000 or more.

Microdermabrasion & chemical peel results

The drawback of microdermabrasion and glycolic acid peels is that improvements tend to fade after a while and periodical follow up treatments are needed to maintain results. A follow up microdermabrasion session or chemical peel should be schedules every 2-3 months to maintain results. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are ideal for improving skin complexion, acne and reducing very minor scars or blotches. TCA and phenol acid peels are fare more effective at dealing with deep scars and similar skin conditions. Results gained with TCA and phenol acid peels are also longer lasting. Results from TCA chemical peels last about 1 year while phenol acid results are permanent.