[show_avatar email=ejones@seattleskinandlaser.com align=left show_name=true]What is the difference between microdermabrasion and chemical peels? The best way to answer this is by explaining the benefits and expectations of each.

Microdermabrasion is a manual exfoliation of the dead skin cells on the epidermis, encouraging more rapid skin turnover and collagen stimulation. Microdermabrasion uses a wand or crystals combined with suction to gently remove the layer of dead skin cells that are lying on top of your skin. The two types of Microdermabrasion are: 1) Diamond Tip – using a fine sand like material at the end of a wand or applicator and 2) Crystal – using very fine aluminum oxide crystals that are blown onto the skin and then suctioned off.  Both types are great choices and can achieve different levels of intensity. After microdermabrasion skin will appear softer, smoother, brighter, clearer, fresher and younger looking. Microdermabrasions are done with no downtime or discomfort.

I recommend microdermabrasions once a month to achieve a deep exfoliation and help maintain skin that is healthy and glowing. Monthly treatments can also help your creams and serums penetrate deeper in the skin, making them more effective. I often include microdermabrasion as the first treatment two weeks prior to a series of chemical peels to help allow for better penetration of the peeling solutions. I use a crystal microdermabrasion machine at Seattle Skin and Laser.

*Microdermabrasion is NOT the same as dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is a much more aggressive procedure, requiring downtime and significant after care.

Chemical peels are the application of peeling solutions for a means of exfoliation, collagen stimulation, and retexturizing. Chemical peels are great for treating fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation issues, active acne, acne scarring, and improving the overall look and texture of your skin.  The acids in a chemical peel penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate collagen and elastin to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles without the need for intense peeling. Chemical peels are typically a single acid or combination of acids such as Salicylic, Glycolic, Malic, Lactic and Retinoic acid. These are just some of the types of solutions used, there are many types of acids used in different combinations and strengths to achieve different results.  Peels are most effective in a series of treatments spaced about one month apart. Despite the name, you do not have to peel in order to have a good result from a chemical peel. For many the peeling/flaking is more subtle depending on the peel, however some chemical peels require post care for 5-7 days after. There are chemical peels such as Trichloroacetic acid and Phenol peels which are much deeper level peels and are performed by a physician.

I recommend chemical peels to people who would like to renew there skin while addressing some skin issues but do not want the downtime of a laser procedure. In our office we have three different levels of chemical peels to address different skin conditions and needs. All of our peels require only minimal or no downtime.