Microdermabrasion vs. Peel: Which is Better?

  1. Microdermabrasion vs Peel

No matter your age, an effective skincare routine is important. After all, you only get one face! But it can be overwhelming to sort through the myriad of products and services available to figure out which is best for your skin.

Two of the more common services are chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Both are exfoliation procedures to remove dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin, one chemically and the other manually. Each has significant benefits. Your best course of action is to schedule a consultation with a professional to help determine which treatment is best for addressing your specific needs.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels, as the name suggests, use a chemical solution, usually a single acid or combination of acids like salicylic, glycolic or retinoic, to penetrate deep into the skin and dissolve the connection holding dead skin cells together. There are many combinations and grades of chemical peels, typically customized to address individual needs. Because of the deep penetration, they stimulate collagen and elastin to help smooth fine lines and soften deep wrinkles. Other benefits of peels include:

  • Treatment of sun discoloration
  • Reduced appearance of scars
  • Acne treatment

Contrary to the name, you don’t need to physically peel away skin to see results, nor is a bright red face a typical side effect. Patients may experience mild flaking or skin dryness, depending on the strength of the peel. Some may require post-care for 5-7 days after. Again, it depends on the strength of the peel. Most patients report seeing results after just one treatment, but just like with microdermabrasion, a series is recommended for long-term results.


Microdermabrasion is a deep, medical-grade exfoliation procedure on the epidermis, where dead skin cells are manually vacuumed away. This process encourages a rapid turnover of new, healthy skin cells, leaving the skin polished and glowing. Other benefits of microdermabrasion include:

  • Superficial scar reduction
  • Improved skin texture and tone
  • Anti-aging effects

Other upsides to this type of procedure are that it is painless, non-invasive and requires zero downtime.

Microdermabrasion is done using one of two methods: diamond tip or crystal. Both are highly effective. The diamond tip uses a wand or applicator with a fine sand at the end, and the crystal method employs aluminum oxide crystals that are blown onto the epidermis and then suctioned off. Both methods have varying degrees of intensity, and most patients report seeing positive effects after just one treatment, although typically a series is recommended.

If you’re interested in microdermabrasion and how it can benefit your skin, contact Dr. Parvin Mani at the San Diego Cosmetic Laser Clinic for more information on services and consultations.