One of my students sent me this question:
"Do you feel that needling is better than chemical peels?"
I thought it's an excellent question because, because with so many people talking about these skin rejuvenating treatments, it can be quite confusing.
Micro-needling and chemical peels are two different modalities used for various purposes. It's like comparing apples to bread. Not everyone needs micro-needling, and not everyone is a suitable candidate for chemical peels.
What Is Micro-needling or Dermarolling?
Micro-needling, skin needling (or dermal rolling) was used initially as a clinical treatment for improving and reducing post-acne scarring. It works by breaking down existing scarred tissues with fine needles which stimulate the skin healing and rejuvenating process. Over the past few years, it has become a popular modality for reducing the appearance of aging, lines, wrinkles and tightening the skin. The process is called Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT). Micro-needling stimulates collagen synthesis, firming skin, minimizing lines, wrinkles, and scarring. Micro-needling works at a dermal (deeper) level.
What are Chemical Peels or AHA Peels?
Chemical peels, on the other hand, are superficial resurfacing treatments and work by chemically exfoliating the skin. Chemical peels improve the appearance of the skin by enhanced exfoliation. Chemical peels work on the surface at the epidermal level. Chemical peels help to minimize and improve signs of clogging, congestion, acne, open pores, brown spots, pigmentation, sun damage and fine lines.
Microneedling vs Chemical Peels
So when would you choose micro-needling over chemical peels? If you have post-acne scarring or are showing signs of premature aging with sagging of the skin and deeper wrinkles, then I would choose micro-needling. If you are showing signs of fine lines, pigmentation, uneven tone, clogging, congestion, open pores or blackheads, then chemical peels would be more suited to you.
Can these modalities be used together?
Not in the same sitting, but certainly if we wish to improve the skin appearance at the surface level, we would recommend a course of peels. Following that, if the skin needs further rejuvenation treatments, tightening and reducing the appearance of deeper wrinkles, then a course of micro-needling will undoubtedly be beneficial.
Preventative Facial Treatments
I do not, however, recommend these treatments as a "preventative". Peels and micro-needling are excellent modalities we use to improve skin where it needs it. But just because a person with damaged skin gains excellent results does not mean a young, healthy skin needs it as a preventative. It's like taking antibiotics when you are not sick.
Instead, healthy skin should focus on "preventative" treatments such as facial treatments infusing vitamins, minerals, peptides, anti-oxidants, cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. Wearing sunscreen every day is perhaps one of the best "preventative" things you can do for healthy and beautiful skin. And if you have acne, stop picking and squeezing, these are sure ways to scar your skin and then you have a significant problem to treat later.
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