For many of us, our skin is our most cared-for part of our body. We wash it at least daily, use masks and creams to keep it smooth, and do everything we can to keep it from getting damaged or showing (too much) age. For some, simply staying hydrated, using sunblock and other simple methods are good enough to keep skin healthy.
But for others, more intensive treatment is needed. The good news is, there are hundreds of skin rejuvenation techniques and products out there than can help. Some do little more than clean your pores, while others can literally resurface your face.
We don’t have the time to list every single product and technique (and let’s be real, who wants to read all that?). But, here are some of the most popular procedures that require no surgery, and the pros and cons of each.
Chemical peels are hugely popular, especially among those who have acne scars or are starting to develop fine wrinkles. Essentially, a chemical is rubbed over your face, which will cause the outer layers of the skin to peel away. After a while, the skin grows back, sans the scars, wrinkles or other issues you were trying to get rid of.
Chemical peels can be classified as light, medium or deep. For deeper procedures, such as those to get rid of severe scars or deep wrinkles, anesthesia may be needed for comfort. Additionally, you may need several days of downtime to allow your skin to recover.
Pros of Chemical Peels
- It can reduce some wrinkles
- It can reduce or eliminate age spots, freckles and other uneven skin pigmentation
- It can make your skin feel smooth and soft
Cons of Chemical Peels
- Not all wrinkles can be reduced, especially really deep-set ones
- It can cause uneven skin pigmentation, especially on darker skin
- It will probably leave your skin itchy, dry and sore during healing
Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion is a method by which a qualified cosmetic surgeon uses tools, generally a rapidly rotating instrument or a blade, to remove precise layers of skin until the desired depth is reached. Often, local or general anesthesia is used during this procedure. Dermabrasion is useful for removing acne scars and blemishes, wrinkles and other imperfections.
Microdermabrasion is a much gentler procedure. The skin is exfoliated with a fine mist of abrasive particles or a fine-tipped instrument. As soon as the skin is exfoliated, it’s vacuumed away. The results are often the same as dermabrasion, but on a smaller scale. For example, it can really only treat minor acne scars.
Pros of Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
- Both can smooth out the skin and make pores smaller
- They can remove scars and other imperfections
- Dermabrasion can remove unwanted skin growths, like keratoses
Cons of Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
- Both can be pretty expensive
- Dermabrasion can cause skin discoloration
- Microdermabrasion doesn’t do as much wrinkle reduction as you may hope
Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Laser skin rejuvenation is a newer procedure that can help improve the skin’s texture, tone and overall appearance by treating discoloration, removing scars and minimizing wrinkles. It can also help tighten the skin and encourage collagen growth, which helps fill out the skin and keeps it looking young. There are two general types of lasers used for this procedure.
Ablative lasers encourage new skin growth by eliminating outer layers. The wavelength of the laser dictates how deep it penetrates, which will be determined based on your skin goals. The other type of laser is non-ablative. Instead of breaking the skin, this kind of laser heats up lower layers of skin to stimulate new collagen growth.
Pros of Laser Skin Rejuvenation
- Minimal downtime, especially with non-ablative treatments
- Results last longer than many other treatments
- Smooths and tightens skin with quick results
Cons of Laser Skin Rejuvenation
- Abnormal healing, scarring and pigment changes can happen with inexperienced technicians
- Some skin disorders like cold sores and allergic reactions can be exacerbated
- Long-lasting results, but not permanent. Wrinkles will eventually come back
When it comes to keeping your skin healthy and looking young, one of the the most important parts is doing your homework. Depending on your skin type and tone, some treatments may work better than others. Talk to a dermatologist and cosmetic specialist to ensure the treatment you’re considering will actually help you, not leave you in a worse state than before.
Similarly, after your procedure, your specialist or doctor will have instructions for you to heal properly. Listen to them! Most likely, it will involve staying out of the sun for a while and taking it easy with the makeup. The more after-procedure care you give your skin, the more healthy your skin will be.