“Skin rejuvenation” is simply a description for any process improving the skin from a physical and visible standpoint. Typically, skin rejuvenation techniques help tighten, brighten and firm the skin by causing mild and controlled injury to specific areas such as the face, neck or decollete. These micro-injuries encourage a faster rate of cell turnover and may also stimulate collagen regrowth, deep beneath the skin’s surface.
Our bodies detect these controlled micro-injuries and immediately respond by triggering the healing process, working to replace the older, damaged skin with new, fresh skin cells.
The most common procedures used in skin rejuvenation include lasers, chemical peels and microneedling. What many people don’t realize is that although the body’s response may be similar, each of these procedures vary in how they create micro-injuries to the skin, how long it takes to recover, and the ability to treat different skin types. Here's a look into each of these treatments:
Lasers use light as energy. This allows lasers to have a specific target to treat in the skin, such s broken red veins or brown spots. In the hands of an experienced technician, laser treatments can often provide quicker, more dramatic and long lasting results than chemical peels and microneedling treatments. But with that greater reward comes greater risks. Because lasers deliver heat to the skin, we see more side effects (such as temporary darkening or bruising) and longer downtime due to post-treatment swelling and redness. Also due to lasers sensitivity to melanin in the skin, treatments are mostly limited to lighter skin tones.
Chemical peels use an acid solution, which causes controlled damage to help the outer skin peel off. The body detects this damage and in turn, skin cells reproduce at a quicker rate to heal the affected areas. Chemical peels range from “superficial” to “deep” – meaning they can tackle issues in the superficial layers of skin, or you can opt for a stronger peel, which is the use of a higher percentage acid that penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin. These deeper, higher-strength peels to create a more significant amount of trauma, helping to promote more collagen growth, reducing the appearance of prominent scars. Depending on they type of chemical peel performed and the strength of acid used, downtime can range from seven days to two weeks.
Microneedling is the mechanical method of creating thousands of tiny microchannels, or perforations, all over a treatment area, forcing the skin to heal. The results are not selective to a specific problem, however, you can see improvement in many issues by causing collagen regeneration and skin cell turnover. The tool creates microchannels in the skin, and the body responds to this by producing more collagen in the affected areas. As a result, skin grows thicker and smoother over time.
Microneedling is versatile in that it can be used on a broad range of surfaces, reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles, fine lines, crows feet, and the overall look and feel of skin. Here's why we love microneedling:
- Microneedling is less invasive than many rejuvenation procedures, so there's a relatively quick recovery time and less potential side effects
- Microneedling is a better and safer fit for the average person
- Microneedling can achieve similar results as chemical peels or lasers, without the risks (infection, changes to pigmentation, and scarring)
- Microneedling can be used on all skin types, while other procedures are typically not recommended for people with darker complexions, photo-sensitivities,or abnormal skin pigmentations
In addition, microneedling can be done at home, with a much shorter microneedle length of 0.3mm or less. The benefits of microneedling at home include affordability, convenience and zero downtime. To learn more about at-home microneedling, click here to download a helpful guide written by our Medical Director, Mitchell Schwartz, MD FAAD.