Chemical Peel vs. Laser Resurfacing: Which is Better?

In your quest to rejuvenate aging or damaged skin, you’ve probably come across the two methods: chemical peel and laser resurfacing. Both approaches have been praised for helping people transform their skin to look better and brighter after treatment. 

Chemical peels and laser resurfacing treatments are known to reduce fine lines, treat wrinkles, relieve sun damage, reduce certain types of acne, and more. People have all gushed about having incredible results afterwards. But with such similar end goals, what exactly is the difference? 

As someone who wants to enjoy these benefits yourself, you want to go with the better option. Is one better than the other? The difference between the two methods will mostly depend on your end goals. Of course, the tools and techniques employed are different. But determining which method is superior will rely on what you want to achieve and consultation with your doctor.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a simple cosmetic procedure. It can cost around a few hundred dollars, depending on your needs. During treatment, they ‘peel’ or essentially exfoliate damaged skin. To do this, they use a chemical solution—like glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol). This is to help the skin peel off. The skin that emerges from underneath can look fresh and smooth with fewer wrinkles and damage. 

This method is known for removing deep imperfections. It can be effective in fixing the lines around the mouth or things like crow’s feet. However, it’s important to note that chemical peels are not suitable for fixing deep wrinkles. There is a chance that it may cause dryness and itching. 

In terms of maintenance, people that have undergone the treatment must avoid scratching at all costs. This may lead to peeling more skin off and irritation. You should only use mild moisturisers and sunscreen to keep the itching and dryness at bay. During post-operative care time, the nurses will guide you through this process

Recovery time for this method depends on the level of your chemical peel. For a medium peel, you can expect the healing time to take from 7 to 14 days. If you’ve undergone a deep peel, it will take about two weeks, give or take a few days, to heal. However, you should expect to experience some continued redness for at least a few months.

What is Laser Resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing is applicable if a Co2 laser is applied in-hospital. This method can cost you around $2,000 to $4,500 for a full face, depending on the laser technique you choose.  This method reduces acne marks, wrinkles, age spots, blemishes, and the like.

During treatment, light and heat are used to improve skin texture, tone, and colouration. Laser resurfacing identifies and targets portions of your skin. That portion is exposed to light and heat in a controlled manner—it triggers a healing response and produces new skin. 

Laser techniques can be categorised into two: ablative and nonablative. The ablative technique damages the top layer of skin, requiring more healing time. Meanwhile, nonablative is gentler—heating the top of the skin without damaging the skin—making healing faster. The average healing time can take up to one to three weeks.

However, there are some risks to laser resurfacing. It can lead to permanent lightening or darkening of the skin. You might also have to deal with redness for a long time. You’ll be guided by the post operative care team, given by your doctors and nurses.

The Bottom Line

So, is one better than the other? The answer depends on your personal preference and goals, along with consultation and professionals in the field. There is a difference between downtime and cost, and those factors could be more important in deciding what procedure is right for you. 

Decide which method you’re more comfortable with and go from there. After consultation with your doctor, they will help you decide the procedure most suitable for your skin type.

If you are looking for ways to improve your skin and body, we can help you. The Lotus Institute offers cosmetic, plastic, and laser surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments such as less invasive skin peels by our in-house beautician. You can trust our team of qualified and highly skilled surgeons, nurses, and staff to give you the best care possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services.