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The difference between skin lasers and chemical peels



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There are few in the world of in-office skincare that can offer a wider range of options or treat more skin problems than lasers and skin Peelings The same general category, and yes, there are some things in common: "Both methods are used to treat photo damage – sun spots and wrinkles – and to improve the texture and appearance of the skin," says Dr. Dermatologist Jennifer Chawlek of Union Square Dermatology in New York City.

Nevertheless, the two are ultimately very different, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a head-to-head comparison that will help you determine which one is right for you.

How Laser Treatments Work

"A laser is a device that emits a certain wavelength of light that targets pigment, hemoglobin, or water in the skin," says Dr. Chawlek. Targeting pigment helps eliminate stains (or hair or tattoos), targeting hemoglobin reduces redness (scars, stretch marks), and water is used to treat wrinkles, she adds. There is no shortage of laser types, each of which addresses these various problems best. Common ones you may have seen or heard include Clear & Brilliant, Fraxel, Pico and YAG. (Related: Why lasers and light treatments are really good for your skin)

Pros and Cons of Laser Treatments

Benefits: Depth, energy and percent of treated skin can be easily controlled by a laser a more targeted treatment that can be personalized for each person. In the end, this means that you may need fewer treatments with less scarring risk. Chawlek stuck. In addition, there are certain lasers that can handle multiple problems simultaneously. For example, Fraxel and IPL can treat both redness and brown spots in one go.

Cons: Lasers are more expensive (between $ 300 and $ 2,000 for a single session) according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Report of 201

7) as chemical peels and in many cases require more than one treatment to see results. And who makes the laser is definitely important: "The effectiveness of the method depends on the knowledge and ability of the laser surgeon to manipulate the parameters of the laser so that the problem is best addressed," says Dr. Chawlek. Step 1: Check with your dermatologist for a thorough skin exam and make sure that the cosmetic problem (eg brown spots) that you want to treat is not more severe (eg possible skin cancer). Look for board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic treatments; Most laser-specialized doctors have multiple lasers in their practice (so they will not sell you with a single laser that does it all) and often belong to professional associations such as the ASDS (American Society of Dermatologic Surgery) or ASLMS (American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery) adds. Chawlek added. (See also: How often should you actually have a skin exam?)

How Chemical Peels Work

Chemical peels work less specifically than lasers and use a combination of chemicals (usually acids) to remove the upper layers of the skin. While previously extremely chemical peelings were possible, they were largely replaced by lasers. Today, most peels work superficially or at a medium depth, addressing issues such as spots, pigmentation, and possibly some fine lines, emphasizes. Chawlek. Common ones are alpha-hydroxy acid peels (glycolic acid, lactic acid or citric acid), which are quite mild. There are also beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) peels that work well to treat acne, minimize oil production, and clear pores. There are also peels (Jessners, Vitalize) that combine both AHAs and BHAs, as well as TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peels with medium depth, which help to improve fine lines and wrinkles. (Related: The 11 Best Anti-Aging Serums According to Dermatologists)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Chemical Peels

Pros: "Since peels work through exfoliation, they are often useful in the treatment of acne and overall, one can do more to improve the texture of the skin, increase the radiance and reduce the appearance of the pores, "says Dr. Chawlek. They are also cheaper than lasers, with a nationwide average cost of about $ 700.

Disadvantages: Depending on what you want to treat, you may need a series of chemical peels to see the best results. Dr. Chawlek also says that they can not significantly improve deeper scars or wrinkles, and scrubs can not improve the redness of the skin.

How To Decide Between Laser Treatments and Skin Scrubs

First of all, you should take into account this exact skin problem that you want to address. If this is one of the conditions that can only be helped by one of the treatments (ie acne, which only helps with exfoliation, or redness if only one laser does), then you have your choice. If it's something like spots where both can help, consider your budget and how much downtime you can afford. The amount of downtime that depends on the particular laser and the skin depends on the laser, but in general, lasers may cause some redness after the procedure a few days after surgery. Theoretically, if you're younger and you just want light, superficial problems (uneven tone, dullness), it may be a good idea to start peeling and eventually work with the laser as soon as you have more visibility signs of aging , (Related: 4 Signs That You Use Too Many Beauty Products)

Another option: Switch between the two as they target different things. Of course, talking to your dermatologist at the end of the day is the best way to plan your course of action. Oh, and if you have a history of sensitive skin, you should definitely address this. This does not necessarily mean that you can not opt ​​for one of these treatments, but it should be discussed so that your doctor can help you find the one that works best for you. The only time that both lasers and peels are a no-go is if you have any type of active skin infection, such as: B. cold sores.


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