Deciding between laser skin resurfacing and a chemical peel can be a very confusing decision. When you think of laser and chemical treatments you may imagine harsh procedures.
However, chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing treatments are very rejuvenating, rather than damaging. Both treatments can help an individual obtain a healthy, youthful glow and an overall improved appearance.
Deciding which treatment would be best for you will depend on your individual skin type and needs. Learning what each procedure can provide and the advantages of each one can help you decide which route to go.
Skin resurfacing treatments are designed to help lessen the signs of ageing, which will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration, as well as other blemishes. These treatments work by detaching the outmost layer of the skin to reveal the smooth, new skin underneath. What type of resurfacing procedure you will need will depend on the severity of sun damage, the degree of uneven skin, as well as the depth of the lines and wrinkles you’re wishing to remove.
A chemical peel uses a chemical solution that is applied to the skin to gently shed the outmost layers of the skin. These chemical solutions range from light to deep and vary depending on the strength and specific compounds they contain. Furthermore, the peeling action can be influenced by the method in which they are applied as well as how long they are allowed to remain on the skin.
Light Chemical Peel
A light chemical peel only partly reaches to the outermost layers of the skin by the use of a mild acid solution such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA), or fruit enzymes. Light chemical peels are a non-invasive treatment option which helps boost skin cell rejuvenation. This provides a gentle treatment for acne, dry skin, pigmentation and fine lines. With this type of chemical peel, the chemical solution is applied and only remains on the skin for a short amount of time. Light chemical peel procedures help to increase the natural production of collagen and elastin. These are vital for healthy and youthful-looking skin.
Light chemical peels are best suited for individuals who have only mild skin problems but want to enhance the overall look of their skin without the use of harsher skin treatments. Those who suffer from acne-prone skin may also benefit from this type of peel because it will help to gently exfoliate and unclog pores.
In most cases, there is no recovery time for a light chemical peel. However, your skin may be slightly irritated or flake slightly after a peel.
Medium Chemical Peel
This level of chemical peel is performed with the use of low concentration trichloroacetic acid (TCA). A medium chemical peel uses this solution to remove the outermost layers of skin, revealing smooth skin underneath. This type of peel is great for treating pigment problems, superficial blemishes, and mild wrinkles. This type of peel is also the preferred method for those with a darker complexion as it will not lighten the skin.
A medium chemical peel offers patients noticeable improvement of the skin’s appearance but is best utilized by those with mild to moderate skin problems. This type of peel is not as aggressive as a deep chemical peel and will not require the lengthy recovery associated with such an intense procedure. However, this type of peel may require multiple treatments for it to maintain its results.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that removes skin cells layer by layer with extreme precision. New skin cells will form during healing and will give the skin a more youthful looking appearance. This procedure can be used to treat certain problem areas or on the entire face. These treatments can be classified as ablative or non-ablative.
Ablative Laser Resurfacing
Ablative laser resurfacing treatment utilizes pulses of high-energy light waves to help diminish blemishes on the skin. This treatment targets superficial layer as well as deeper layers of the skin. This type of laser treatment will stimulate the skin cells natural production of collagen and elastin. This type of laser resurfacing is great for those with severe sun damage and significant skin discolorations.
Non-ablative Laser Resurfacing
This type of procedure is less aggressive than an ablative laser resurfacing treatment. Non-ablative laser treatments solely focus on the skins deeper layers while allowing the superficial layer to remain intact. This is accomplished by using lower energy levels than what is used with an ablative laser. This treatment also stimulates the natural production of collagen and elastin in the skin, the compounds needed for youthful skin. This type of laser treatment is best for superficial pigmentation, rosacea, as well as moderate or mild facial wrinkles.
After a laser resurfacing treatment, the treated area may appear red or pink for roughly 4 to8 hours after the procedure. Slight swelling of the area may appear but usually disappears over a few days. Patients may experience a mild stinging sensation which usually subsides within 6 hours. While these procedures don’t require lengthy downtime, it is best to avoid applying makeup or other products to the area until signs of redness have disappeared.
Determining the Best Treatment for your Skin Type:
It is important to understand that patients with certain skin types and various skin problems can have an increased risk of experiencing side effects. Not all treatments work the same on different skin types.
Both chemical peels as well as laser resurfacing offer patients a great way to improve the overall look of their skin. However, one option is not necessarily better than the next. Therefore, it’s important to go to a medical aesthetic clinic for a consultation, where your medical aesthetician can assess your skin and recommend you the skin treatment that works best for you.