Scarring from acne? Fine lines and wrinkles? Pigmentation and sun spots? Is any of this ringing a bell? They do happen, regrettably, and when they do, we panic. We've looked everywhere, from skincare products that claim to remove age spots to lengthy Google searches, expecting to find the 'magic' treatment that can eradicate the skin's textural imperfections and beyond.
Combating skin problems has never been easier, but if you're new to the world of skin resurfacing, it might be intimidating.
What Is the Difference Between Chemical Peels and Laser Treatments?
Chemical peels and laser treatments are distinguished by the procedure itself. The first, as the name implies, employs chemical treatments to remove damaged skin, whilst the second employs lasers.
Chemical peels use different amounts of acid solutions to treat the skin's outer layer. There are three types of peels: superficial, medium, and deep. Superficial chemical peels (for example, VI Peel and lactic acid peels) are delicate and exfoliate the skin lightly with weak acids. Medium chemical peels (for example, glycolic acid peels and TCA peels) are more invasive and penetrate the middle and outer layers of the skin. Deep chemical peels (e.g., phenol acid peels) are the most potent, employing strong acids to penetrate as well as remove damaged skin cells.
Laser resurfacing treatments use light beams to penetrate the skin, eliminating one column at a time. Although laser removal is more exact, it is often more expensive than chemical peels. There are two types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers (such as CO2 and erbium) offer the best effects by vaporizing the skin. Non-ablative lasers (for example, Fraxel) are less intrusive to the skin because they heat it rather than destroying it. Because non-ablative lasers are less strong than ablative lasers, numerous sessions may be required to achieve the optimum results.
While chemical peels and laser treatments are distinct in their advantages and the concerns they address, there is some overlap in the issues they address. A strong TCA (trichloroacetic acid) chemical peel, for example, can give resurfacing comparable to that of a resurfacing laser, or both peels and lasers can be utilized to treat acne and acne scars.
What Are the Most Common Chemical Peel Types?
The VI Peel is a painless, mild peel that is appropriate for all skin types and tones. It is made up of trichloroacetic acid, Retin-A, salicylic acid, phenol, and vitamin C and is widely used to treat hyperpigmentation and repair UV damage.
A lactic peel is made from milk and is ideal for dry or sensitive skin. It balances the pH of the skin and exfoliates gently by dissolving dead skin cells.
Glycolic acid, which is used in glycolic peels, stimulates the synthesis of new collagen and elastin by targeting the skin's outer layer. It is frequently used to treat acne, acne scars, and to tighten pores.
A TCA peel, which is more harsh than a glycolic peel, contains trichloroacetic acid. It is commonly used to lighten skin pigmentation and smooth wrinkles.
To address severe wrinkles and discolouration, a phenol peel penetrates the skin thoroughly. When compared to gentler peels, it typically necessitates a lengthy recovery period and may be unpleasant.
What Are the Most Frequently Used Laser Treatments?
Fraxel Laser Treatment
The Fraxel Laser Treatment uses FDA-approved fractional laser technology to revitalize skin. This laser is best effective on acne scars and tiny wrinkles that are mild to moderate in severity.
CO2 Laser Treatment
The CO2 Laser Treatment uses pixelated carbon dioxide lasers to treat more severe skin issues like deep wrinkles and acne scars. In general, this laser is unsuccessful for treating skin redness.
The Erbium laser is a less invasive and gentler laser treatment than the CO2 laser. The laser increases collagen formation by penetrating the epidermis (the outer skin layer). It's commonly used to remove wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.
Which Of These Is the Best Skin Care Treatment?
It all boils down to your skin type and concerns, in a nutshell. It can be difficult to determine the best course of action, therefore it is always advisable to visit with a dermatologist to discuss your concerns and treatment choices.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE ACNE SCAR TREATMENT
A chemical peel used to treat hyperpigmentation. Textural changes, such as atrophic or indented scars, respond better to laser skin treatments. A TCA chemical peel, on the other hand, can help with acne scars. Combination methods, which include laser, peels, subcision, and/or dermal fillers, are widely used.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IF THIS IS MY FIRST CHEMICAL PEEL/LASER TREATMENT?
With chemical peels, expect some redness and peeling following, depending on the type of peel. Not every peel results in apparent peeling. Post-laser skin side effects may include redness, peeling, swelling, and bruising, depending on the laser used.
If you use topical treatments, you should discontinue them a few days before the procedure. You may be advised to stop using retinoids, hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, or other harsh, drying, and potentially irritating substances depending on the peel and laser. As a preventative step, patients with a history of cold sores may be given antiviral drugs.
WILL A CHEMICAL PEEL OR A LASER TREATMENT BE APPROPRIATE FOR MY SKIN?
If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid chemical peels and laser treatments:
- Active infections in the treatment regions - Will be exposed to sunlight after treatment
- Have a history of keloids or hypertrophic scars.
- A lack of enough post-treatment recuperation time.
- Have a darker skin tone (this applies to certain types of chemical peels and laser resurfacing treatments).
Whether you choose a chemical peel or a laser treatment, there is a resurfacing skin option for you!