Confused Between Microdermabrasion or Chemical peels? Here Is The Answer!

Your age signs are almost appearing on your face? Feeling less satisfied and less confident with the appearance of crow’s feet, marionette lines, wrinkles…etc.?

Do you already suffer from scars such as acne scars?

Does your skin deal with sun damage spots or pigmentation inconsistencies?

Did you recently notice while looking up to the mirror the appearance of saggy skin and now you are looking for tightening procedures to perform?

If your answer for all or most of the previously mentioned cases is yes…


You don’t have to worry at all!

Because the world is full of many cosmetic procedures that can deal with all of the mentioned cases such as Chemical Peels or Microdermabrasion.

Both of them can work effectively on your imperfections however, you must take into consideration and seek a professional dermatologist in order to provide you full information about the procedures that suit your skin type, color, and condition the most.

After seeking a dermatologist you may also need to confirm the information especially if you hear two different options for the same case.

So, you must search for more information and we can start our role by providing you most of the information needed about Chemical peels and Microdermabrasion;

in treating acne scars, wrinkles, face lines, sun damage, and pigmentation inconsistences…you are just had to keep scrolling.  


Generally, Chemical peels and Microdermabrasion procedures are almost similar as they mainly work for skin exfoliation, removing all of the dead skin found and stimulate the production of new cells.

Therefore, giving you the most luminous, healthy, fresh, and youthful look.

How Microdermabrasion and chemical peel works?

Microdermabrasion works through using a fine jet that is able to provide a fine stream of crystals or a diamond chip.

wWich is mainly directed to the affected area replacing the dead skin with new healthy ones, stimulate blood flow, and encouraging the cell to produce new collagen and elastin.

Chemical peels, work through to enhancing the overall skin status of either the face or body;

They are working for the destruction of specific skin layer; as a result, the dead skin’s layer peeled off and a new, fresh, smooth, and healthy skin is regenerated.

Both of them have many types, therefore, each type can work differently from one another, however, all of them work for the same purpose, which is exfoliation.

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What are the types of microdermabrasion and chemical peels?

There are types for both of them…let us discuss them briefly. Let us start with microdermabrasion because it has only two types as follows;


  1. Crystals Microdermabrasion Device

Crystals Microdermabrasion Machine

This machine mainly works by using natural crystals such as aluminum oxide (corundum) crystals due to its hardness property are commonly used.

Sometimes, magnesium oxide, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and even sodium chloride (salt) crystals are used as well.

The crystals perfectly provide an effect on the treated area giving the luminous face that is free of any imperfections.

The previously mentioned crystals are considered as safe, non-carcinogenic, and does not cause any kind of allergy.


  1. Diamond-tip Microdermabrasion Device


This machine is almost similar to the crystal microdermabrasion machine.

However, this machine uses a wand with a diamond tip that mainly passed over the affected skin causing the removal of the dead skin that is then vacuumed away giving you a luminous and perfect skin that is of any kind of imperfections.


Nowadays, Diamond-tip microdermabrasion is widely used and considered as preferable options for most of the patients;

This is due to its safety in comparison to crystal machine that sometimes causes trouble breathing for those who are sensitive.

However, a professional dermatologist can limit your exposure to this kind of crystals.

Generally, the best candidate for either crystal microdermabrasion or diamond-tip microdermabrasion are those who suffer from one of the following;

  1. People who always suffer from clogged pores
  2. People who are sensitive to the anti-acne medications
  3. People who suffer from deeper wrinkles, face lines like the crow’s feet, or severe sun damage

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People who suffer from the following conditions should not perform Microdermabrasion procedure;

  • Warts
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  • skin lesions
  • Open sores
  • Active rosacea
  • Erythematosus
  • Vascular Lesions
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Widespread acne
  • Fragile capillaries
  • Herpetic lesions (herpes)
  • People who consume anti-coagulants medications

How many microdermabrasion sessions will I need to get the desired results?

Generally, you will need from seven to ten treatment sessions that are arranged to be performed within two weeks.

However, the number of sessions could be increased or decrease depending on your skin type and condition.

microdermabrasion sessions

What are the chemical peels types?

chemical-peels types

Generally, the classification of chemical peels is based on the depth of penetration and the level of injury, the different concentration percentages and different PH levels.

However, this does not mean that the lower percentage, the less effective or vice versa! What really matters is the PH level that usually determines how deep the chemical peel will penetrate the skin.

Superficial depth chemical peel

  1. Superficial depth chemical peel

The superficial chemical peels usually work by the removal of the top layer of the skin and cause an injury to the “Epidermis”; it works effectively; due to the presence of certain kind of vitamins and other components that can easily stimulate the regeneration process and develop a new skin.

  • How many sessions will I need to get the desired results?

You will need from five to ten treatment sessions.

  • What are the examples of the superficial-depth peel?

The most common examples are salicylic acid, Glycolic Acid, and lactic acid.

  • Who is the best candidate for superficial depth chemical peel?

It works the best for people who suffer from sun damage, acne scars, wrinkles, and face lines.


  1. Medium depth chemical peel

This type of chemical peels are said to be more effective than superficial peels, it works by the penetration of the skin and causes injury to the “entire epidermis” and “papillary dermis”.

  • Who is the best candidate for superficial depth chemical peel?

It works on effectively face lines, and pigmentation inconsistencies; either hypo or hyperpigmentation.

  • How many sessions will I need to get the desired results?

Multiple sessions will be needed. It mainly depends on the patient’s goals, the condition of the patient’s skin, and other factors.

  • What are the examples of the medium-depth peel?

The most common examples are Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 35%, TCA 35% & Jenssner’s, and TCA 35% & Glycolic acid 70%


  1. Deep depth chemical peel

The deep depth peels are usually worked through the penetration of the deeper skin, whereas it causes injury to papillary dermis, upper reticular and mid-reticular dermis.

  • Who is the best candidate for superficial depth chemical peel?

It works effectively on scars, wrinkles, face lines, skin tightening, larger pores, deep lines and pigmentation issues

  • How many sessions will I need to get the desired results?

Twice could be enough

  • What are the examples of the medium-depth peel?

The most common examples are Phenol Peels or High concentration of TCA.


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Chemical peels are generally proved its effectiveness in the treatment of  melasma ; Based on study entitled “Chemical Peels for Melasma in Dark‑Skinned Patients” it has been found that “chemical peeling proves to be a promising modality for the treatment of melasma in dark‑skinned patients though it is only a second‑line agent or an adjunct to topical therapies.”


Which procedure hurts the microdermabrasion or chemical peel?

microdermabrasion-vs chemical peel-painful

Regarding the microdermabrasion procedure, it has been found that the procedure is painless compared to other procedures; you may feel like a gritty facial massage with almost mild discomfort.

While in case of the chemical peel procedure, most of the patients report stinging feeling; during the procedure, however, it is controllable.


How long does the treatment procedure take?

Either microdermabrasion or chemical peel procedure, both of them take from half an hour to an hour. However, the procedure is mainly dependent on how severe is your condition.


What will I look like after either microdermabrasion or chemical peel?

Regarding the microdermabrasion treatment, your skin may have a pink or red color that almost fades after a short period of time, the redness is usually associated with sunburn sensation.

However, this usually fades too with two days maximum.

Regarding the chemical peel treatment, you will experience a stinging sensation that is associated with redness of the skin.

microdermabrasion-vs Chemical peels before and after

Depending on the type of chemical peel you may also experience some additional signs such as;

  1. Development of scaly skin that fades within three or five days
  2. Formation of blisters that turn into brown and peel off after two weeks.

Both procedures require an intensive skincare routine in order to minimize the previously mentioned signs.


What are the side effects of both treatments?

The chemical peels have more side effects than microdermabrasion; the side effects range from having redness, swelling, burning, scarring, peeling, infection and abnormal pigmentation. while for microdermabrasion the side effects range from photosensitivity, skin tightness, bruising and redness


What is the aftercare routine I should follow?

Your dermatologist will inform you with some instructions that you should  as follows;

  1. Moisturize frequently

You will experience some skin dryness and become more susceptible to cracking and possible scarring after either chemical peel or Microdermabrasion treatment

Therefore, you should moisturize in order to allow skin hydration.

Make sure that you are using the moisturizer that suits your skin type and condition the most because your skin at this time become very sensitive.

  1. Don’t pick your skin

As we said before, chemical peels specifically may cause the formation of a crusty layer over your skin and sometimes it is associated with blisters that may take few weeks to peel off.

You should not pick or scratch your skin in order to increase the healing time, and reduce the risk of infection.

If you feel somehow discomfort such as the itchy feeling, you can place a cold ice-pack over your treated area instead of scratching.

  1. Be cautious of your sun exposure

As we always mentioned in our articles, sun’s radiation is very harmful to our skin and it’s important to wear your sunscreen wherever you go and whatever the situation is!

Your dermatologist will prescribe a certain type of sunscreen that suits your skin type and condition after performing one of the procedures.


What is the recovery period of the treatment procedure?

For Chemical peels, the recovery period may last for one month or more, while for microdermabrasion the recovery period is immediate.

How long does the result of the procedure last?

Regarding the chemical peels, the longevity of the results is dependent on your skin condition and the type of chemical peel, therefore, you may find some results can last up to month, other years.

However, a chemical peel is considered as long-lasting in comparison to the microdermabrasion procedure that can only provide short-lived effects (Few months).

How much does the procedure cost?

The cost is usually a factor that is dependent on the skin condition, but an average cost could be estimated for both treatment procedures.

Chemical peels are expensive in comparison to microdermabrasion however, you will find a variety in the cost of chemical peels due to its different types that usually determine the number of sessions.

On an average, chemical peel costs between $750 and $850

While for Microdermabrasion the cost may range from $150-200$.

You may pay additional fees for anesthesia and hospitality costs because most health insurance does not cover chemical peels.

Can I perform both procedures together?

microdermabrasion-vs Chemical peels which is better

Yes, some dermatologists recommend using both procedures together however, this depends on your skin condition, your choice for a good dermatologist, your capability to spend extra money.


About Dr. Saleh

Dr. Saleh is an active author in the beauty & health industry. He is well known for his unprecedented research and advocacy efforts to support safe cosmetic products and healthy way of living.

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