Skip to main content

Microdermabrasion or Chemical Peel: Which Is Right for You?

Some of the best things in life happen as you age. You mature and grow confident in yourself as a person as you discover true passions and enjoy hobbies. Although your mind benefits from aging, your skin may seem to suffer. As you grow older, wrinkles and fine lines join scars and other imperfections to show your age.

Luckily, there are ways to correct the signs of aging, exfoliation being chief among them. Exfoliation is merely the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells from the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis. Although there are many exfoliation methods, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are known to be the most complete and transformative. As a plus, they both can be done over your lunch break with little downtime. Though similar, they do have a few differences that will help you decide which treatment is right for you.

Are you ready to erase years of aging through exfoliation? At Sterling Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Dr. Mathieson and the rest of our team will ensure you get the best possible results. No matter what method you choose, we can get you the results you want and deserve.


There is a reason every skincare ad touts its product’s exfoliation properties. There is truly no better way to say adieu to fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. No matter which method you choose, exfoliation should yield the following results:

Microdermabrasion basics

During microdermabrasion, the technician or doctor will apply a two-hosed wand your skin. One hose shoots tiny aluminum oxide crystals into your skin, successfully dislodging the top layer. The other hose sucks up the newly dislodged skin and crystals. Microdermabrasion should not hurt, but should feel more like the texture of a cat licking you. Some people find that experience pleasant while others may find it irritating, but not painful.

Chemical peel basics

A chemical peel is similarly painless. A low-level acid is applied to the face using a brush, a cotton ball, a piece of gauze, or similar soft applicator. The chemical reacts with your skin to ‘peel’ off the topmost layer of skin. The acid is then washed or rinsed off. Unlike microdermabrasion, which generally treat just the top layer of skin, there are three different levels of chemical peels. Superficial peels, which are the most similar to microdermabrasion, have little to no pain. You may want to use an over-the-counter painkiller after a mid-level peel. Your face will be fully numbed before a deep peel.

What’s better?

Which method will work better for you starts with skin type. If you have dry skin that’s not very oily, microdermabrasion is best. Those with oily or sensitive skin will benefit more from chemical peels.

If acne scars are your main target, the type of scar will come into your decision. Chemical peels are best for acne scars that leave holes or ravines in your skin. Microdermabrasion will work better with raised acne scars.

There is one area where chemical peels gain an advantage, deep imperfections. Because the acid being used in the peel can be changed, this treatment method simply has a better chance or reducing or removing imperfections that extend through a few layers of skin. Microdermabrasion, by its nature, is unable to correct these areas.

The best way to choose between microdermabrasion and a chemical peel is a consultation with Dr. Mathieson. He’ll examine your skin type and work with your goals to make sure you get the right treatment for your needs. Call or contact us online today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Ways Your Breasts Change After Extreme Weight Loss

5 Ways Your Breasts Change After Extreme Weight Loss

Losing a significant amount of weight loss is something to celebrate, but if post-weight loss breast changes keep you from loving your weight loss results, cosmetic surgery can help. Here are five ways your breasts change after weight loss.
5 Ways to Bolster Your Skin Care Game

5 Ways to Bolster Your Skin Care Game

Is it time to bolster your skin care game before age and sun damage catch up with you? We’ve got everything you need to create a personalized program to protect that youthful glow. Read on to learn more.