As our population grows older, there is greater demand for anti-aging solutions that actually work. This demand both fuels and funds ever more research into the science of new technologies to thwart the aging process. Well, that elusive fountain of youth hasn’t been discovered just yet, but an increasing number of anti-aging treatments, potions, and remedies claim to be getting there. Two of the most popular options available today are chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Both options can offer good results without invasive surgeries or long-lasting side effects. But will these relatively mild treatments give you the results you’re looking for? Let’s take a closer look at each.
The “A-Z” of chemical peels The process involves applying a chemical solution to your face to facilitate the removal of dead skin. Chemical peels are used to promote smoother, healthier, younger-looking skin and a better complexion. They are known to reduce blemishes, some skin pigmentations, fine lines, and some wrinkles.
There are a few different types of chemical peel. The most common – and the gentlest – is the alphahydroxy acid (AHA) chemical peel. The entire procedure takes about 10 minutes and the recovery process is easy, though there may be some reddening. The drawback to going the gentler route is that you may have to repeat the process multiple times to achieve the desired effect.
More intense is the trichloroacetic acid (TCA) chemical peel. A TCA peel is a little deeper (though the depth of the peel can be controlled) and requires a longer recovery period. You may experience swelling, redness, and discomfort for about a week after your peel. This type of peel is often recommended for darker-skinned patients. As with the AHA treatment, repeated treatments may be necessary.
The best candidates for chemical peels are typically light-haired people with fair complexions. However, TCA peels can be performed on darker-skinned patients with good results.
While the results of a chemical peel are in no way comparable to more drastic surgeries, many women find that the milder chemical peels achieve good results in producing more youthful, glowing skin.
Microdermabrasion: A milder optionA milder option that is effective for resurfacing your skin and producing that youthful glow is microdermabrasion. This process is similar to a chemical peel in that it removes dead surface skin cells and impurities from your skin – sometimes it’s even referred to as a “mechanical peel.”
Though it doesn’t go as deep as even a light chemical peel, microdermabrasion has similar results and a quicker recovery period. The treatment takes about 30 minutes, is painless, and any redness will disappear within about 48 hours of the treatment.
Microdermabrasion uses a stream of crystals or a diamond-tipped wand plus a suction device to exfoliate the skin and remove the surface layer of dead cells. The process can be used to treat acne or scarring, or as an anti-aging treatment. Typically performed at a spa or dermatologist’s office, microdermabrasion treatments must be repeated for best results, and each treatment usually consists of between four and 10 sessions.