Which Treatment Is Better: Microdermabrasion Vs Chemical Peel

Featured Image - Microdermabrasion Vs Chemical Peel

More and more patients of various skin types have been drafting emails to ask about the differences between microdermabrasion and chemical peel skin care products. People who facilitate these skincare solutions and health procedures and those who have performed these on clients—cosmetic experts, physicians, and dermatologists—are typically able to distinguish between these services for the skin’s surfaces.

Both microdermabrasion and chemical peels work on exfoliation to exfoliate the skin’s surface (the epidermis) from dead skin cells and tackle various skin concerns. However, the two are quite different, depending on factors including the goals of the process, how to perform the procedure, and what you can expect at the time of the treatment. Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel: what are the differences? And which one is right for your skin type?

What Is Chemical Peel? 

Woman looking relaxed while chemical peel is being applied on her face

Chemical peeling is used as a topical chemical solution to penetrate deeper, give healthy skin the proper rejuvenation time, address dermal debris and dirt in your pores, combat pigmentation, and improve the layers’ tone and texture—particularly during the November month.

It has a range of treatments for dullness, wrinkles, fine lines, signs of aging, dark spots, discoloration from sun damage, acne scars, and breakouts. Depending on the severity, deep chemical peels and light chemical peels are also available.

The treatment generally enhances the overall look and feel of the skin by being able to remove deep impurities and maintain the skin’s natural glowing appearance.

This particular exfoliation formula usually contains only one substance or a combination of malic, retinoic, and salicylic acids for the skin layer.

The types of this chemical exfoliation or peeling treatments are AHA peel, which contains a mixture of tartaric, salicylic, mandelic, retinoic acid, and glycolic acids, among many others; the strength of the phenol chemical; the trichloroacetic acid [1]; and resurfacing treatments, depending on what you need, may it be a light chemical peel or a deep chemical peel.

Since phenol peels might permanently lighten your skin surface, they may not be used on dark skin complexions and require women to wear sunscreen all the time afterward. Phenol peels are typically performed in a surgical room or physician’s office.

Upon appointment, the skin specialist may initially and in superficial steps offer you a pre-exfoliation regimen and care you should follow for a few weeks to prepare your body for the resurfacing or phenol application, depending on the medium. When the chemical-based method starts, the distinctive type of cleansing of the skin will also begin.

The formulation will be applied evenly to the layer, no matter what your skin type is, and when it’s time to peel off, the skin care specialist will observe your skin and change patterns when necessary.

After the experience, the clinic offers a cold compress or soothing lotion to ease the possible feelings of discomfort. Your skin may experience temporary scaling, dryness, and flaking until it gets used to the procedures.

Benefits Of Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can help improve the look and feel of your skin in the following ways:

  • Increasing the skin’s hydration 
  • Reduction in discoloration from sun damage
  • Addressing acne scarring and imperfections
  • Removing acne breakouts and dark spots caused by melasma
  • Smoothing away wrinkles makes skin instantly smoother and softer to the touch
  • Improvement of the skin’s color, tone, texture, and clarity for a youthful glow
  • Stimulation of new elastin and collagen production that will benefit more vigorous skin cell growth, giving you a light, smoother, and radiant complexion
  • Increasing the penetration of several types of skin items you use in your regular skincare routine, whether these are mild, contain acids, or complement your microdermabrasion home treatment creams or serums

Side Effects Of Chemical Peels

  • Swelling or redness of the skin
  • Presence of scars 
  • Moderate to severe changes to skin color 
  • May result in infection
  • Damage to the heart, liver, and kidney 

Microdermabrasion vs Chemical Peel

Microdermabrasion vs chemicalpeel - woman feeling perplexed on which treatment she should go for

Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are both recommended by dermatologists and estheticians for various reasons. Advice from experts will require and recommend that you consult with your aestheticians to determine what’s right, what’s needed, and what’s safe for you. This is because each treatment method has its pros and cons.

Especially if you suffer from sensitive skin, be cautious when you enlist your choice of treatments after a thorough search on your part; alternatively, you may always seek consultations with a dermatologist.

However, the significant difference between chemical peel and microdermabrasion treatments is in the way they are applied. Microdermabrasion will require the application of diamond-tip crystals or a wand device as well as water.

Fine, sand-like crystals are typically sprayed on the affected area and then suctioned back into the device. It is often performed on the neck and face but can also help with various issues on the chest, hands, and legs.

Peels are manually applied over the affected areas. There could be an email from customers who may ask about the strengths of these methods.

This form of exfoliation is offered in three different intensity levels, ranging from super mild, medium, or thorough so you can choose a level that suits your needs and goals. Meanwhile, microdermabrasion, either the use of a diamond or crystals, does not have the level and is a “one size fits all” method. 

When it comes to probable pain, both microdermabrasion and chemical peel treatments should be safe without too much pain or irritation. However, this will depend on the esthetician’s advice, expertise, and knowledge.

Depending on the skin types, there could be some reviews stating that the chemicals may be harsh for them. Hence, there’s a possibility that you’ll receive anesthesia or that they will massage gently to ease the possible pain, especially for those with sensitive skin.

On the other hand, microdermabrasion leaves a tingling sensation and a little warmth. There might be a few days of redness from both. When it comes to recovery time, there will be redness from microdermabrasion that will last for a few hours or more. It shouldn’t reach that level for about a month. Then, you can return to your regular makeup routine. Follow the guidelines to avoid further issues on your face.

The other kind of treatment may demand more post-treatment steps. It includes staying away from direct sunlight for about a week and a half, unlike microdermabrasion. And you may be asked to take antibiotics or painkillers for a speedy recovery and to maintain their advantages for acne, dead skin cells, and other skin conditions.

Facial peel is being applied on woman's face

Which Treatment Should You Choose?

Discoloration From Sun Damage

Also known as solar lentigines, these are harmless occurrences on the sun-exposed areas of your face and body, as well as on your hands or neck. Anyone affected by this problem can benefit from either of these two methods.


If you have acne, you may be asking, “Which is better, a chemical peel or microdermabrasion for acne scars and acne?” Well, acne is considered a long-term ailment that occurs when your hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the surfaces and epidermis and also involves the pores.

When it comes to microdermabrasion vs chemical peel for acne scars, both of these can treat the condition by removing dead skin cells.  However, they should not be done on patients with rosacea or severe eczema; such symptoms must be addressed first before trying to treat any other concerns.

Improvement Of Skin Texture 

Depending on their lifestyle, age, and diet (such as the consumption of foods with too much acid), people can have various skin textures. Scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles are among the few skin issues, and stimulating collagen can solve these. Both microdermabrasion and this method are great choices for solving this.


If you’re considering doing either microdermabrasion or a chemical peel for hyperpigmentation, this section is for you. Aside from the microdermabrasion procedure, chemicals work for this form of pigmentation by using the acid formula of these chemicals.


Aside from dead skin cells, this is also a condition that affects plenty. A chemical-based formulation with proper care will address this alongside dead cells using epidermal exfoliation, with the dead cells replaced by new ones. The method has various periods of downtime.

Woman in the midst of a facial peel treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have a chemical peel after microdermabrasion?

No, you cannot have a chemical peel after microdermabrasion as your skin tends to be more sensitive after microdermabrasion treatment. Hence, it is recommended to let your skin rest for at least 2 days before doing any other treatments.

How long do chemical peel results last?

Chemical peel results last about two weeks.

How many chemical peels are needed to see results?

Approximately six chemical peels are needed to see visible results. 

When can I wear makeup after a chemical peel?

After a chemical peel, you can wear makeup after waiting for one week.

What do you put on your face after a chemical peel?

After a chemical peel, you should use gentle cleansers on your skin before applying any essences, anti-oxidant serum, and moisturizer. 

woman with black face mask and microdermabrasion vs chemical peel


Keep in mind that different routines offer different results and have different downtime requirements compared to the other approaches you use. Your face and skin conditions can differ according to the season, varying in November, which is around winter, and in the summer months. Aside from dead cells, these treatments can serve a lot of other ailments as well.

If you expect your skincare products, facial procedures, and resurfacing treatments to achieve more each day, it may be time to consider receiving an office and clinical solution that you can have by setting an appointment with your physician/dermatologist. They will provide an effective procedure and treatment to bring and maintain your skin to a whole new level.

Also, check out the other comparison review I did below for more options on facial care procedure: