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Skin Care Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Chemical Peel vs. Dermabrasion: Which is Right for You?

By Staff Editor
Dec 13, 2013 - 5:07:49 PM

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( - Both the chemical peel and dermabrasion procedures are designed to improve the overall look and feel of the skin. These procedures have similar outcomes, but they are performed differently. Basically, a chemical peel is a treatment that uses a chemical solution to remove the top layer of skin and stimulate new growth. The dermabrasion procedure is done using a mechanical device to essentially sand down the top layer of skin and allow the skin to regenerate.

Chemical Peel Treatment

The chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure designed to improve the look of the skin. It is recommended for people that would like to remove fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, blemishes, and uneven pigmentation. In some cases, it can actually be used to remove pre-cancerous growths on the face. The chemical peel will not only help to reduce the appearance of the blemishes, some types of peels also help to firm and tighten the skin. Another effect of the chemical peel is that the skin may lighten, so it is recommended that people of color visit a healthcare professional that who specializes in ethnic skincare.

There are many different types of chemical solutions used for the chemical peel treatment, but AHA (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids), TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) and Phenol are the most common solutions. The phenol based treatment is typically considered a more intensive chemical peel that penetrates deeper into the skin for longer lasting effects. The procedure will begin with the face being cleaned and then the physician will apply the chemical peel solution to the face for up to ten minutes. Immediately after the procedure, the skin may have some redness or flaking, but it will continue to improve in the days following the procedure. The TCA peel is often considered a medium strength peel and the AHA a mild-strength.  On average, recovery takes a few days with an AHA peel, about seven to ten days for a TCA peel, and about two weeks for a phenol peel. After the procedure, the doctor may prescribe a special cream or facial wash to use during the recovery period.

Dermabrasion Treatment

The dermabrasion procedure uses a mechanical device to remove the top layer of the skin. While it can achieve some of the same results as a chemical peel, it is often recommended for people that have deep acne scars or scars from an accident or previous surgery. It can also alleviate fine lines and wrinkles as well. It can be done on certain areas of the face or the entire face. The physician may provide a sedative or general anesthesia prior to the procedure.

During the procedure, the physician applies the device to the targeted areas for a few minutes at a time until the desired result has been achieved. The skin may have some redness and swelling immediately after the procedure. It is also normal for the skin to have a pinkish hue afterward and it may take up to three months after the procedure for redness to completely fade.

The chemical peel and dermabrasion procedures are skin resurfacing treatments that can make the skin appear smoother and more youthful. They are both performed in different ways and they can be done in conjunction with other procedures.

Dr. Frederick Weniger is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic procedures for the face and body, including chemical peel, dermabrasion, facelift, body contouring, breast enhancement and more. He is a graduate of the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. Dr. Aaron Mason specializes in both adult cosmetic procedures and pediatric craniofacial procedures. He has over 24 years of experience. Weniger Plastic Surgery is located in Bluffton, South Carolina. Please call 843-757-0123 to schedule a consultation.


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