While they may sound like the same thing, there is a difference between resurfacing and rejuvenating skin. Any treatment that is intended to make your skin look younger and more vibrant is considered skin rejuvenation. Skin resurfacing is a form of rejuvenation that involves exfoliation of the surface of the skin to remove signs of ageing and imperfections. There are many different methods to accomplish the task of rejuvenating your skin.
One of the most common methods of skin resurfacing is the facial peel. With this treatment, a chemical is applied to the surface of the skin to remove damaged skin cells. The peels range in strength from mild to deep.
- Mild peels, also called superficial peels, are used to gently lift dead skin cells away and result in the skin looking fresher. They are extremely popular for the speed of which they are applied, which gave them the nickname of a lunchtime peel. The mild peels require no recovery time and can be repeated every one to four weeks.
- Deep peels use a stronger chemical such as phenol or tricholoracetic acid to penetrate the deeper layer of skin. Recovery time is around two weeks or longer and comes with several side effects and higher risks. It treats moderate lines and wrinkles, shallow scars, and age spots. Results of a deep peel can last for many years, though the treatment may only be performed once.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Resurfacing your skin with a a medical laser is performed by a trained technician who is well versed in proper usage of this instrument. It either uses an ablative laser, meaning that it causes intentional damage to the skin or a non-ablative laser, meaning it leaves the surface skin layer intact.
- In resurfacing with an ablative laser, the procedure targets the surface of the skin to remove the cells layer by layer to achieve the desired results. This procedure improves your skin’s appearance by removing wrinkles, smoothing and tightening the skin, and correcting pigmentation issues. While the treatment is similar to dermabrasion and facial peels, the difference is that lasers are more precise in what cells are targeted and how many layers are removed.
- Non-ablative lasers target the skin layer underneath the surface to heat the cells using controlled light energy. As the cells heat up, the skin contracts or tightens in response. The heat injures the cells in a controlled manner, triggering the skin to produce collagen to heal and replace damaged cells. Because the surface layer of skin is left undamaged, it is ideal for a wider variety of candidates.
The skin may also be exfoliated or resurfaced using machines that remove layers of skin with abrasion. Dermabrasion can penetrate deep into the skin whereas microdermabrasion is a superficial treatment.
- Dermabrasion uses an instrument with brushes on a rotating wheel on one end. It is used to remove layers of skin to remove scars and other skin imperfections. Because it is fairly invasive, it requires some form of anaesthesia. Recovery time takes around two weeks and can require pain medication. This form of skin resurfacing is like a deep chemical peel in that it has higher risks and side effects.
- Microdermabrasion is a method that uses an instrument that sprays fine crystals at the surface of the skin to exfoliate it. This device often has a suction device attached to capture the particles and skin cells as well. Since microdermabrasion only provides light exfoliation, it has a quick recovery time, minimal side effects, and is low risk.