Microdermabrasion and Chemical peels are two very common skin rejuvenation techniques. Although they can both treat acne and signs of aging, it is helpful to understand the differences between the two procedures before consulting a medical professional and investing in a treatment.

Do not be overwhelmed by the term microdermabrasion. To break it down, the procedure is just a light abrasion of the top layer of the skin. Most people look to microdermabrasion to treat acne and other surface blemishes. The procedure propels micro aluminum oxide crystals at the skin to exfoliate the surface and rid the skin of dead cells. This also clears out dirt particles and blemish-causing elements. Some microdermabrasion treatments use a technique without crystals, but this is the most common form. Because this procedure affects the top layers of skin, it’s considered to be generally safe. Some patients may have redness on the skin for a few hours after the procedure.

One drawback to microdermabrasion is that is only temporary. Treatments usually only last a few months before the effects wear off and patients must undergo the same procedure again. If your skin concerns are more surface-level in nature, though, this may be a good option for you. Although more intensive treatments last longer, they can often irritate the skin. If you suffer from whiteheads, blackheads, or just dull skin, then irritating the skin may actually cause more problems.

Chemical peels are usually more intensive, but the same treatment techniques can be applied in different depths depending on your needs. Some chemical peels have a very fast recovery time, while deep peels may require months of healing. This often depends on the skin conditions the patient wants to treat. Like microdermabrasion, chemical peels can treat acne and freshen up dull skin. Deeper peels, however, can also improve the look of wrinkles and photo-aging.

The peel treatment uses chemical solutions to actually intentionally damage the skin, but in a controlled manner. Different chemicals affect the skin in different ways, and several peels may be required to reach the desired result. Peel procedures are safe and commonplace, but deeper peels may require anesthesia and the monitoring of vital signs. If this worries you, then it may be wise to start with microdermabrasion. Chemical peels can last for years. Patients will need to have repeated procedures eventually, but maintenance is much easier than with microdermabrasion.