Comparing Laser Skin Resurfacing With Chemical Peels

When considering skin resurfacing, you want the best results that work for your particular skincare needs.


When considering skin resurfacing, you want the best results that work for your particular skincare needs. Comparing laser skin resurfacing with chemical peels can seem overwhelming. Both have pros and cons and both are known to work on renewing skin cells. To help narrow down the choices, look at the difference between these treatment options.


How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical peels resurface the skin through the use of chemicals. The chemical agent is applied to the surface of the skin and is left on it for a specific time period. Depending on which chemical was used, it can be left on for a few minutes or for several hours. The chemical agent works to remove the surface layer of skin, which then “peels” the dead skin cells.

Chemical peels vary in strength from light or superficial to a deep peel. Different chemicals are used to achieve different needs. Commonly used chemicals are glycolic, malic, or salicylic acids.  Fruit enzymes may also be used.

How Laser Resurfacing Works

Using light-based energy, the skin resurfacing laser applies a specific spectrum of light to the skin. Since the laser is non-ablative, it will leave the surface layer intact. The energy works on the deeper layer of skin, heating it to stimulate the skin cells into producing collagen and elastins. These essential ingredients work to plump the skin and repair damaged cells. The skin also reacts to the treatment by contracting, making the skin tighten.

Side Effects And Risks

Chemical peels are ablative, meaning they damage the outer layer of skin. Some of these treatments leave the skin raw and exposed. There is always a risk of infection when skin is exposed. It may also cause hyper-pigmentation in uneven skin tones. Plus, the condition of the skin while recovering may leave you wanting to hide from public view until it heals.

Risks with skin resurfacing lasers vary with the age of the device. A laser from twenty years ago delivered a somewhat painful treatment and sometimes burned patients. Modern cosmetic-lasers have little risk of burning clients and are much less painful than those in the past. After treatment, the skin can feel like it was sun burned or can be inflamed, but ice packs can be applied to relieve it.

Costs Of Treatments

The cost of a chemical peel varies according to which chemical was used. Superficial treatments may cost under $150 while deep peels can cost more than $800.

The cost of a laser skin resurfacing treatment is can be anywhere from $500 to $3,500.  The difference in pricing is dependent on how large an area is being treated. When comparing the cost of these treatments, do take into account how often the treatments will need to repeated.

Comparing Results

A mild or superficial chemical peel will only freshen the face for a few weeks. Treatments need to be repeated monthly to maintain the look. It also doesn’t work on moderate or deep wrinkles. The deep peel works on moderate wrinkles and lines and helps to reduce the visibility of scars. Deep peels should not be repeated more often than once every three months or so.

Laser skin resurfacing results take a bit of time to see the most noticeable results. The reason is that collagen and elastin production are not immediate. The skin will continue producing collagen many months after the procedure. Treatments tend to last for at least a year.

Seek A Dermatologist

After reviewing this information, seek the advice of your dermatologist to learn all risks and benefits of both skin resurfacing methods. They can also provide recommendations for finding a reputable clinic to give you the best treatment.