Chemical Peels and Laser Skin Resurfacing – What’s The Difference?
Both chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing have increased in popularity in recent years. As a consequence, the market has been flooded with various treatment options and different providers. Having so many options available can sometimes make it difficult to decide on the best treatment for you. For example, when it comes to choosing between a chemical peel or laser treatment, people often get confused about the details, which makes it hard to choose the right type of treatment to go for.
Making this decision can be intimidating, so we have put together this article to help you learn more about each type of treatment and to choose the right option for you.
A chemical peel is a skin resurfacing treatment for removing dead skin off your face so that new and fresh skin can grow. Chemical peels can come in three levels: superficial, medium, and deep chemical peels.
A superficial peel involves light exfoliation of the outer layer of skin to ensure that the skin can breathe and heal. This is the least invasive type of treatment, and since the chemicals are only left on the skin for a few minutes, this is also sometimes referred to as the “the lunchtime peel”. Superficial peels are generally very safe and can be repeated every 2-3 months if necessary.
A medium peel is more intensive than a superficial peel. The acids used will penetrate deeper into the upper layer of skin as well as the middle layer. One of the ingredients typically used is trichloroacetic acid, which is why it is sometimes also referred to as a TCA peel. The treatment usually takes no more than one hour to complete and normally involves a local anaesthetic for your comfort.
Deep chemical peels involve the penetration of acids into the deeper levels of skin skin. Being the most invasive type of chemical peel, this treatment is not as popular as the lighter versions. The chemical solution is left on the skin for up to 30 mins or sometimes more, and you will experience some post-treatment redness, swelling and discomfort for at least a few weeks. Your provider will typically use an anaesthetic combined with a sedative to prevent pain and discomfort during the treatment. One of the major benefits of a deep chemical peel is that the effects are long-lasting, and it doesn’t usually need repeating.
Who Should Go For A Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are very popular ways to treat acne scars, hyperpigmentation and skin discolouration. Deeper chemical peels can also address skin damage due to sun exposure and environmental pollution.
Whether or not you need a chemical peel depends on your skin type and skin condition. You can determine whether a chemical peel will be a good option for your skin by consulting a specialist.
Deep chemical peels tend to lighten the skin tone so skincare experts don’t usually recommend them for people with darker skin. However, visiting a reputable clinic is always a good start, as the staff should be able to guide to the best available options for your skin type.
Laser treatment also has the same purpose as chemical peels. However, instead of chemicals this type of treatment uses a laser to create thermal energy which penetrates into the skin. Laser resurfacing treatments are ideal for targeting skin irregularities, such as acne scars as well as promoting collagen production.
There are two types of laser treatments: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. Ablative laser is more intense but provides better results in fewer sittings. Non-ablative laser treatments are less intensive but may need a few sessions to achieve the desired result.
Who Should Go For A Laser Treatment?
Laser skin resurfacing is a proven and safe treatment for skin issues such as dark spots, blemishes, acne scars, wrinkles and even tattoos. The treatment is suitable for most people. However, the type of laser you should go for mainly depends on issue that you would like to address.
The more invasive ablative laser treatments are better at substantially improving the appearance of wrinkles. In addition, ablative lasers can significantly improve skin tone and texture. One downside is that the healing process involved is also longer. This means you have to take careful steps to treat and protect your skin during the post-operative healing time.
The results of on-ablative laser treatments are not as dramatic, since the laser will not penetrate into the deeper layers. The main advantage of this treatment is that there is no associated downtime. The post-treatments side effects (such as redness or swelling) only last for a few days. However, you should always consult your dermatologist before making any decisions.
Final thoughts – Chemical Peels and Laser Skin Resurfacing
With both chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing, you will probably need to avoid exposure to sunlight at first. Your treatment provider should inform you of the exact post-treatment instructions. It’s important that you follow these carefully in order to avoid damaging your skin. Chemical peels and laser treatments are not suitable for people with active skin infections. Neither do they suit people who have a history of keloids or hypertrophic scars. Since some types of peels and laser treatments involve lightening of the skin, they are not recommended for people with dark skin.