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  5. Chemical Peel Vs Microdermabrasion - Which One Is Better For Your Skin?

Are you longing for wrinkle-free skin? But, you are not sure about which professional treatment to go for, right? Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are the two most popular options that retain your youthful face for a bit longer.

While both are done under professional guidance, many find it difficult to choose between them. Let’s analyse the differences between the two treatments in detail, so that you can choose the best option for your skin.

What Is Chemical Peel?

Chemoexfoliation, popularly known as the chemical peel, is a method in which a chemical solution is applied to your face to improve the clinical appearance of your skin. This removes the damaged top layer of your skin and allows it to rejuvenate. A fresh top layer appears and your face looks youthful.

How Does It Work?

A chemical peel has caustic agents that coagulate (turn into solid or semi-solid state) the protein of your epidermal and dermal layer and cause inflammation. Simultaneously it influences the regeneration of new collagen and elastin.

Eligibility & Effects

The ideal age for getting a chemical peel is the 20s to 30s. However, anyone who needs to treat their uneven skin and get a spot-free, wrinkle-free skin can opt for it. Chemical peels target fine lines, wrinkles and other ageing signs like age spots, dark spots, puffiness etc. Chemical peels also minimize the risk of scarring and any kind of pigmentation after the procedure. [1]

Types Of Chemical Peels

There are three types of chemical peels available.

1. Light or Superficial Peel:

Light chemical peel is used to treat lower-level skin discolouration. Dermatologists use mild acids for light chemical peels.

2. Medium Peel:

To treat ageing signs like dark spots, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, medium peeling is done.

3. Deep Peel:

Deep peeling is required for more serious issues like deep scars, and darker age spots.

What Is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure to remove the top layer of your skin and give it a chance for rejuvenation. It is technically an epidermal resurfacing procedure that came into existence in 1985. Since then it is widely accepted as a non-surgical procedure to improve the appearance of your skin.

How Does It Work?

Microdermabrasion forces a re-arrangement in the innermost layer of the epidermis by propelling some adhesive crystals on your skin. [2]

Eligibility & Effects

There is no particular age restriction for microdermabrasion. But people below 12 years and above 70 years may face some difficulties. It targets poor skin tone, acne marks, scars, melasma and other signs of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines, age spots etc.

Types Of Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion also has three types.

1. Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion:

It is a handpiece with a diamond tip to clean off the dead skin cells from your skin.

2. Hydradermabrasion:

This is a new process where a dermatologist uses a combination of crystal spray and dermal infusion.

3. Crystal Microdermabrasion:

It requires a handpiece to gently rub crystal spray on your skin to exfoliate it.

Chemical Peel Vs Microdermabrasion


Chemical Peel



Chemical peels are usually used to treat skin ageing signs like deeper wrinkles, pigmentation, age spots, scars, melasma scars etc.

Microdermabrasion gives your skin a chance to rejuvenate and get rid of discoloured skin tone, dark spots, age spots, scars, melasma, wrinkles and fine lines.


1. First, the dermatologist will clean your face and give you goggles to protect your eyes. 2. The dermatologist may give you topical anesthesia to numb the area. 3. Then they would apply the chemical formulation. 4. For deep peel procedure, dermatologists monitor the heart rate for safety reasons. 5. Your skin starts peeling off after 48-72 hours of the actual procedure.

1. It is not mandatory to use anesthesia before the procedure. 2. A handpiece is used to propel abrasive crystals on your skin and remove the top layer. 3. After the procedure, the dermatologist will apply moisturizer on your skin.

Ingredients Used

Chemical peels are made of glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid etc.

Microdermabrasion’s crystals are made of sodium bicarbonate and aluminium oxide.

Duration of the procedure

Light or superficial chemical peels do not take much time. But medium and deep chemical peel procedure can take 30 to 90 minutes to finish.

Microdermabrasion on the face takes 35 to 45 minutes to finish and for the neck, it may take 20 minutes approximately.

Removal of imperfections

This can remove deeper imperfections.

This removes only the outermost layer of the skin.

Pain Involved

A chemical peel may cause a stinging sensation but a cooling compress would solve the issue. Deep peeling procedures may require pain medication.

It should not cause pain if the procedure is performed carefully. You may only have some mild side effects.

Healing Time

It takes 5 to 7 days time for your skin to heal from the chemical peeling procedure.

Microdermabrasion requires a very short healing time. Your skin may start feeling better on the same day as the procedure.


These are costly. It costs around $150 for light peels and may cost over $300 for deep peels.

Average cost for Microdermabrasion is $136. [3]


Will remove your dead skin cells, fine lines and wrinkles caused by extreme sun exposure.

It removes age spots, uneven skin tone, blemishes, acne scars, melasma [4] etc. It is equally effective for whiteheads and blackheads.

Side Effects

Can cause a permanent change in your skin colour. You may also notice scarring after a chemical peeling session. Few people even get infections like herpes or cold sores [5].

As side effects, you may notice redness, swollen skin, sun sensitivity, stinging sensation and in some cases burnt marks.

Which Is More Commonly Used- Chemical Peel Or Microdermabrasion?

Both chemical peels and microdermabrasion are popular skin treatments. Since these two treatments target the ageing signs and uneven skin tone and give satisfactory results, people are equally interested in them. Few get chemical peeling done for their discoloured skin, and others go for the simpler choice of microdermabrasion.

Which Is Better For Your Skin Type-Chemical Peel Or Microdermabrasion?

If you have slightly discoloured skin or minor problems with ageing signs like wrinkles, age spots etc, then a light chemical peel or microdermabrasion is the best option. Superficial chemical peeling is suitable for all skin types. [6]

It is important to remember that microdermabrasion may not suit sensitive skin. In case you have serious skin issues like deeper wrinkles, melasma, deep scars and dark spots, medium or deep chemical peels should be appropriate.

If you have acne, then microdermabrasion can be more effective in treating the raised acne scars. On the other hand, chemical peels work better in reducing the appearance of pit acne scars.

Can Chemical Peels & Microdermabrasion Be Done Together?

Yes, you can do chemical peels and microdermabrasion together. It is considered that the combination of these two works better to deeply clean your skin and reduce the discolouration along with wrinkles and spots. This combination is best for people with oily and acne-prone skin.

Wrapping Up

Chemical peeling and microdermabrasion are both equally effective in rejuvenating your skin. Both treatments will improve the skin’s appearance by reducing uneven tone, dark spots, wrinkles etc. But if your concern is more about growing ageing signs, then chemical peeling is better as it boosts your collagen production.

Microdermabrasion is recommended for lighter skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, spots and early ageing signs. Acquaint yourself with the differences between these two procedures, and pick the right option suitable for your skin type.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin