Microdermabrasion vs. Chemical Peel: What’s Different?

Microdermabrasion vs. Chemical Peel: What’s Different?

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and restores your skin’s natural beauty. Often, exfoliation is a great way to maintain healthy skin! Two exfoliation treatments include microdermabrasion and chemical peel. Let’s learn the difference.

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are procedures that exfoliate the top layer of skin to help improve its texture and tone. The differences lie within the process and benefits of these cosmetic procedures.


Microdermabrasion is a physical exfoliation to help your skin become smoother and brighter. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that uses a slightly abrasive applicator to remove the top layer of skin and bring it back to life.

What Does It Treat?

Microdermabrasion is best suited for individuals looking to:

  • Brighten skin tone
  • Even out age spots and sun damage
  • Diminish acne scarring
  • Minimize fine lines and wrinkles

What’s the Process Like?

This procedure uses a diamond-tip or crystal-based tool to exfoliate the skin. When using the tool, the crystals shoot down onto the skin and are sucked up by a small vacuum, working like a strong face scrub. The diamond tip is crystal-free and just as effective as a crystal-based tool.

A professional dermatologist or esthetician conducts microdermabrasion, and the process will last for about 15 to 30 minutes. After exfoliation, remember to follow up with moisturizer and sunscreen to protect the exposed layer of skin.

If you’re interested in partaking in this procedure, consider visiting a microdermabrasion clinic to determine if microdermabrasion is the right skincare option for you!

Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are chemical exfoliations to brighten your skin tone using acidic solutions.

What Does It Treat?

The benefits of chemical peels are very similar to the benefits of microdermabrasion. Some features of chemical peels include:

  • Balance the skin’s texture
  • Calm acne flare-ups
  • Reduce acne scarring
  • Lessen dry skin
  • Even out age spots and sun damage
  • Minimize fine lines and wrinkles

What’s the Process Like?

Chemical peels have different strength levels: light, medium, and deep. If you have highly sensitive skin, a light chemical peel is best. Medium and deep chemical peels need pre-procedure care and are more prone to side effects following the procedure.

A professional applies the chemical onto the skin with a cotton ball or special applicator brush. The solution will rest on the skin for several minutes. You might feel discomfort, burning, or a stinging sensation throughout the treatment, but this means the solution is working!

After the solution rests for several minutes, the healthcare professional will wash and neutralize the chemical. The process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

After trying a chemical peel, it’s completely normal to experience redness, dry skin, and mild irritation. Continue to cleanse and moisturize your skin after the procedure to help repair the barrier.

If you have highly sensitive skin, remember to take it slow and consider contacting a healthcare professional before incorporating exfoliation into your skincare routine. There are a few differences between microdermabrasion and chemical peels, but they are both great exfoliators to help treat the top layer of the skin.

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