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Is chemical peel same as microdermabrasion

Chemical peel is often considered as same as microdermabrasion, however the method of chemical peel is different from that of microdermabrasion. You might have heard about chemical peel treatment for problem skin and lines. Chemical peels exfoliate the skin down to its deepest layer to reveal a fresh face and retexturize your skin. On the other hand, Microdermabrasion is an exfoliation process via your skin. By loosening the outermost layer of your epidermis, it removes dead cells and helps fight acne, excessive oiliness and uneven texture of your skin.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on Is chemical peel same as microdermabrasion, What Can You Expect Post-Microdermabrasion?. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about Is It Possible for Your Skin Not to Peel After a Chemical Peel?. Read on to learn more.

Is chemical peel same as microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive skin care treatment that removes dead skin from the outer layer of your skin, working to improve fine lines, aging skin, and discoloration. Essentially it is a deep exfoliation through the use of a vacuum by a professional. 

It is pain-free, requires no downtime post-treatment, and is completely safe.

Microdermabrasion treats the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Dry skin
  • Fine lines
  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Clogged pores
  • Rosacea
  • Minor scars
  • Skin texture problems


Like microdermabrasion, a chemical peel treats fine lines, wrinkles, breakouts, and other topical skin issues. 

What differs between the two is how the outer layer of the skin is removed to find the new skin underneath. While microdermabrasion gently removes the epidermis by suction, a chemical peel uses a chemical solution to dissolve the skin off. 

Chemical peels treat the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Fine lines
  • Crow’s feet
  • Brown spots
  • Sagging skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Blemishes
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma (patchy facial skin discoloration)
  • Scars

A chemical peel works deeper than microdermabrasion, revealing newer skin underneath. Because of this, it does require a few days of peeling. Most dermatologists offer a few different levels of chemical peel in order to customize the process to each client’s needs. 

We are now offering the brand new SkinCeuticals Smart TCA Peel. Ask us about this new service today!


In short: it depends on what you’re wanting to get out of the treatment. If you want an affordable and fast option, microdermabrasion is typically a better choice. But if you want something that lasts longer, you may consider a chemical peel. 

Here are a few pros and cons of each treatment for you to evaluate:

 PROSPainless & affordableFaster healingGlowing complexionImproves acne, dryness, textureLong-lasting results (1-2 months)Improves acne, scars, redness, wrinkles, pigmentationMultiple levels/typesMay reduce skin cancer risk
CONSOne-size-fits-allNot as targetedRequires multiple treatmentsMore expensiveMore painfulLonger healing time

If you’re looking for specific treatment due to certain issues, we’ve compared the two treatments for you to review.

Microdermabrasion vs chemical peel for acne

If you have active acne, chemical peels are a better choice because microdermabrasion can irritate it or even cause more issues. Chemical peels use salicylic acid to reduce further breakouts by exfoliating the dead skin cells. 

Microdermabrasion vs chemical peel for wrinkles

If you have light wrinkles, microdermabrasion or light chemical peels can help. For deeper wrinkles, a medium or deep chemical peel is the best option. 

Microdermabrasion vs chemical peel for sun damage

For rough skin caused by sun damage, microdermabrasion or a light chemical peel will work. If you have severe damage or are at risk of melasma, medium or deep chemical peels are better suited. 

As you can see, chemical peels will ultimately provide better, more targeted relief when it comes to specific issues. But for some people, it’s a less ideal option because of its higher cost and downtime, making microdermabrasion a better choice.


Yes! In fact, they work extremely well together to thoroughly cleanse and improve your skin. While you can’t get them at the same time, you can use both to optimize your professional exfoliation treatments and target different skin issues in a way that won’t overly irritate your skin. 

When you combine the two treatments, you can reduce the side effects of both and maximize your good-skin time without a lengthy recovery. 


We are a leader in the Kansas City area for microdermabrasion and chemical peel treatments. Our medical aestheticians are trained experts in these two spa services. Our dedication to customer satisfaction and support makes us one of the best dermatologists in Kansas City

What Can You Expect Post-Microdermabrasion?

Unlike a chemical peel, microdermabrasion calls for little to no downtime. The AAD states that some patients may see their skin turn pink or red with slight swelling, akin to having a sunburn. During this time, you may need to apply a moisturizer and will need to be diligent about using sun protection when outdoors.

Most patients will need a series of microdermabrasion procedures to see visible results. Similar to a chemical peel, the results will also not be permanent. 

What Can You Expect Post-Chemical Peel?

The reality is, all peels performed by a dermatologist will require at-home care and time to heal and for the skin to fully resurface. You may be directed to refrain from wearing makeup for a while or to apply ice packs for soothing relief. Healing varies from person to person and depends on the type of chemical peel you received, but typically lasts around a week. It’s important to note that results are not permanent. Ask your dermatologist how often they recommend coming back for the treatment.

Which Procedure Should You Get?

Both procedures can improve the appearance of dull skin, uneven tone and texture, age spots and dark spots, so how can you choose between the two? According to Dr. Bhanusali, one major difference between chemical peels and microdermabrasion is that in addition to exfoliating, peels can also help stimulate collagen production. So if you want to target aging concerns, a chemical peel might be the way to go. 

Another difference, says Dr. Bhanusali, is that chemical peels are capable of penetrating the skin deeper for more dramatic results. However, microdermabrasion is less invasive than a chemical peel, so if you have sensitive skin or want a treatment with less pre- and post-care, the latter may be a better choice. As always, talk to your dermatologist for a personalized recommendation.

Is It Possible for Your Skin Not to Peel After a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels have come a long way from the painful, red and skin-shedding treatments they once were. In fact, you can now reap the skin-glowing results sans the sunburn-like peeling process. But that begs the question, how do you know if your peel is working when the actual act of peeling doesn’t occur? We weren’t sure, so we turned to board-certified dermatologists Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, founder of Entière Dermatology, and Dr. Kenneth Howe of Wexler Dermatology for answers. 

How Does a Chemical Peel Work?

In-office chemical peels, which are administered by a licensed professional, are designed to help exfoliate the outermost layers of the skin, promote radiance, stimulate collagen and target the appearance of hyperpigmentation. “A chemical peel uses chemical agents to resurface the skin by inducing a controlled wound and removing a specific layer of the skin, whether that’s superficial, medium or deep,” says Dr. Levin. “As a result, the peel promotes growth of a healthy, fresh, new top layer of skin, helps the appearance of different types of pigmentary conditions and improves the appearance of pores, texture, fine lines, wrinkles and more.” 

Dr. Howe explains that the chemical solution used in the in-office treatment typically contains peeling agents such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). “Chemical peels exfoliate our skin by loosening attachments between skin cells,” he says. “While naturally occurring exfoliation takes place when enzymes called proteolases break up the bond between skin cells (called the desmosome), a chemical peel breaks up the desmosome by the direct action of the acid.” 

Why Do Some People Peel but Not Others? 

Peeling of the skin can happen post-chemical peel, however, it’s not a requirement. Your likelihood of peeling relies on a few factors: the concentration of the acid, the type of acid, how long the solution is left on for and the amount of solution applied. “Light glycolic peels often produce little in the way of visible desquamation, but salicylic acid or TCA peels are more likely to cause more visible shedding,” says Dr. Howe. “Patients will also peel less after their skin has been naturally exfoliated, like if they’ve recently peeled from the sun.” 

Dr. Levin agrees that the type of peel and the strength of your peel are major factors in how much peeling you’ll experience. She adds that how you care for your skin post-peel can also determine how much and how long your peeling lasts. “Immediately after the peel your skin will likely feel tight, it might be a little red and any visible peeling will be fluffy or light,” she says. This typically lasts around five days. “But if you’re using a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen, it’s going to enhance the healing process and the results as well as the down-time.” 

Did My Peel Work If I Didn’t Peel? 

Rest assured, your peel is still working even if you don’t see peeling. “Visible peeling results from the peeling agents action on the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin), but peeling agents also exert influence deeper in the skin,” Dr. Howe says. While surface layer peeling may not ensue, the dermis and epidermis are still undergoing changes. “Peels can reduce visible pigmentation by their action on the basal layer of the epidermis and they stimulate collagen production by their activity in the dermis.” What’s more, it’s important to give yourself time to see results — they won’t be immediate. “You don’t judge the success of a peel by how much you peel, but by the end result the peel will produce,” says Dr. Levin. “Depending on the type of peel, I tell my patients they’ll start to see results as early as seven days after their peel or up to two weeks after their peel.” 

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