Chemical peels vs. IPL Photofacials vs. Microdermabrasion

Chemical peelChemical peels, IPL photofacials, and microdermabrasion are each techniques to improve the tone, texture, and clarity of the skin.

Chemical peels work by exfoliating the skin which lifts off dull skin and brown spots.  The intensity and degree of peeling depends on which agent is used and can range from a few days to about a week.

IPL is a laser treatment that works by zapping brown spots, broken capillaries, and red spots.  If you need to treat broken capillaries, you have to use a laser.  Chemical peels and microdermabrasion do not treat broken capillaries.  There is no recovery time after an IPL.

Microdermabrasion uses a device with crushed diamonds at the tip to exfoliate the skin.  Like chemical peels, it lifts off dull skin and discoloration, but there is minimal to no recovery afterward.

The choice of which procedure is best depends on what you are trying to treat and how much downtime you are willing to take.  Most importantly, though, these procedures are not mutually exclusive.  Combining them often leads to the best results. Of course, it is also important to always use excellent skincare.

Chemical peelIPLMicrodermabrasion
TreatsDull skin, brown spotsDull skin, brown spots, broken capillariesDull skin, brown spots
Recovery2 days to one weekNoneNone
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Meet the Doctor

Lawrence Osman, MD

Lawrence Osman, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist and liposuction surgeon in Los Angeles specializing in minimally invasive techniques such as liposuction using local anesthesia. He has offices in the Los Angeles area in both Northridge and Calabasas. Visit to learn more.

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