The Difference Between Micro-Needling & Chemical Peeling

July 14, 2017

Micro-needling Is The Newest Way to Smooth Skin & Decrease Scarring & Wrinkles

Micro-needling and chemical peels are two of the most popular options in non-surgical procedures for correcting minor, cosmetic issues and rejuvenating the skin.  Now, if you know anything about me, I am a huge advocate of chemical peels (read my beauty blog Chemical Peel Your Way to A Healthy Complexion and you’ll see why). Although each treatment is capable of producing fairly comparable results, there are notable differences in downtime, applications and overall benefits. Understanding how micro-needling and chemical peels are performed will help you determine which option is best for you.

How Micro-needling Works

Micro-needling has taken the skincare world by storm. Also known as collagen induction therapy, it is a minimally invasive skincare treatment to rejuvenate (i.e. promote cellular turnover) the skin.  Micro needling can be done with a roller or a motorized pen with fine needles that creates tiny punctures in epidermis and dermis, causing micro injury, and thus triggering the body to create new collagen and elastin for stronger, supple, youthful skin. The concept of micro needling was devised by a plastic surgeon in 1995 as a scar removal process, and has made incredible strides during the last decade in the cosmetic world as a safe, affordable, and effective anti-aging treatment.

Read The Skin Clinic's FAQ page on Micro-needling for a more detailed look on this skincare process.

How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical peels are also based upon the concept of creating controlled skin damage with the intent of improving collagen production and stimulating natural, regenerative skin processes.  Instead of using needles to create wounds, a mild to strong acid solution is applied to the skin that sloughs away damaged and dead skin cell layers as well as fighting bacteria, inhibiting hyperpigmentation, and breaking down blackheads and milia. This treatment is either washed off or counteracted with a neutralizing solution before the client is sent home.

Read The Skin Clinic's FAQ page on Chemical Peels for a more detailed look on this skincare process.

People will  often experience moderate to extensive peeling for several days or weeks after a chemical peel, depending on the treatment given.  Although chemical peels tend to have longer recovery times than micro-needling treatments, they may be more effective in treating deep, pitted acne scars. One drawback of the chemical peel process is the fact that these solutions cannot be used to treat a broad range of skin types such as African American, Asian and Pan Asian skin (Fitzpatrick IV-V) types due to the high risk or hyperpigmentation and scarring.  The Fitzpatrick scale is a numerical classification schema for human skin color as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Is Micro-Needling Right For You?

I recommend micro-needling to clients who want to work on deeper acne scars, pigmentation lines and wrinkles or to simply maximize the effects of their regular facial treatments, injections, or surgical procedures.  It is the perfect alternative to chemical resurfacing during the warm summer months when the risk of post treatment hyperpigmentation is high.  Also, as I stated before, micro-needling is great for those who want a deeper treatment around the eye and lip area.  

The Procedure

On the day of your facial treatment, your skin will be thoroughly cleansed and swabbed with alcohol to sterilize the skin.  Next, a mild AHA or BHA chemical peel will be applied followed by an Ultrasound treatment to prep and open your pores.  A numbing solution is then topically applied for 15-20 minutes to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible during the micro-needling facial treatment.  Once the skin surface is completely numb, a nutritive serum and hydrator is applied so when the needling begins, the anti-aging ingredients found in these products will penetrate deep into the skin for maximum effect.  

The needling session begins by moving the handheld device (a Rejuva Pen is used at The Skin Clinic) in a cross hatch pattern on the sides of the face, chin, forehead then around the eye, lip and nose area.  The depth of the needles depends on the severity of the condition, but for maximum results, a recommended .25 mm needle is used to reach the dermal layer.  This does cause some mild bleeding but do not be afraid! It will stop before you get off the table :).  Usually a mild redness occurs 2-24 hours after the treatment, depending on the depth of the micro-needling, and sometimes some mild skin peeling.

Just like chemical resurfacing, the frequency of micro needling sessions depends on the desired outcome.  I personally recommend a deep Micro-needling session twice a year with monthly facial treatments in between to maintain a healthy youthful complexion.

With so many anti-aging treatment options on the market, I strongly advise that you do your own research and find a qualified practitioner to consult with in your area.  Always choose what is right for your skin, your lifestyle and yes, your pocketbook.

Until your next facial~
Christina Kasnoff

Ready to book your Micro-needling facial treatment in San Francisco? Schedule your appointment now.

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