Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels

Suppose you are looking for ways to correct uneven skin tone, eliminate wrinkles, soften acne scars or improve the appearance of your skin. In that case, you might ask which option between microneedling vs. chemical peels could offer the best benefits. These are two distinctly different skin treatments, so how can you decide which option is the best for you?


Microneedling uses tiny needles to promote skin healing. The goal is to create micro-injuries that your body will heal and give you new skin in the process. The tiny injuries invoke a healing process that stimulates collagen production and new skin formation.

Collagen is the infrastructure of the skin. As a person ages, their body naturally produces less collagen, so skin loses some of its elasticity. Microneedling can give collagen production a jump start.

It also acts on the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. This naturally thins with age. Microneedling can make it thicker and more toned.

Chemical Peel

A chemical peel offers much of the same benefits as a microneedling treatment, but it goes about it differently. Deep chemical peels remove the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer, and can affect the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. This triggers a healing response that forces the body to create new skin.

There are different levels of chemical peel treatments: from light to deep. Your care provider will help you decide which form of skin care makes the most sense for your condition. For example, someone with scars that go into the deep layers of the skin will want a more aggressive peel than a person looking for an anti-aging treatment.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: Which Is Better for You?

Both of these skin care treatments offer benefits. Only your dermatologist can decide the best option for you based on skin types and other considerations. Both can reduce the appearance of fine lines. Both lead to the rejuvenation of the top layer of skin, too. However, they both require some downtime, as well.

For some people, the answer might be a combination of both. For example, microneedling might be able to reach deeper layers of skin and, when combined with superficial peels, give you a more youthful appearance.

microneedling vs chemical peel

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels, Which is Better for Dark Spots?

Dark spots are a type of skin hyperpigmentation. In other words, the dark areas have more pigment cells than other areas. There can be a number of reasons for this, such as:

  • Aging
  • Sun exposure
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause

Some people develop uneven skin coloration due to acne, trauma, hair removal, ingrown hairs, harsh skin care products, and scarring from conditions such as psoriasis. It is essential that you have dark areas on your skin checked to rule out other medical problems, then you and your care provider can decide how to remove them.

Both microneedling and chemical peels are effective for most common dark spots. If the dark spot is on the top layer of the skin, then a chemical peel might be the best option. If it is deeper, you might not remove it with the peel. In that case, microneedling is the practical approach.

What Are the Differences Between Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels?

Although both treatment options can produce similar results, they go about it differently. Chemical peels remove layers of skin that the body replaces. Microneedling causes damage to the skin, stimulating a healing process to repair it.

So, if you have damaged skin, the chemical peel will remove it and let the body rebuild. Microneedling does the opposite. It leaves the damaged skin in place but creates small injuries to it. That triggers the body to remove the problem layers and replace them with new skin.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: Which is Better?

The answer depends on your skin condition and the results you hope to achieve with the treatment. Chemical peels often work better for surface damage on the skin. For example, they are a practical choice to remove wrinkles or correct skin texture. On the other hand, Microneedling might be the best choice for skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, lack of tone, or rosacea.

Should I get a Chemical Peel or Microneedling for Acne?

Again, either treatment might be effective. The key is to control the acne first. Once your skin is healthy, it will depend on how deep the acne scars go. In this case, a combination approach might work best. Chemical peels remove superficial imperfections while microneedling goes deeper.

The skin peel can remove the discoloration left over from the acne, but scars are typically best removed with microneedling. Your care provider will examine your skin and help you make the right choice for your needs.

Can I Microneedle Before a Peel?

For the best results, you would have the chemical peel first. Chemical peels provide exfoliation to remove dead skin. After about four to six weeks, you can start the microneedling treatments to improve collagen production to heal the deeper layers.

microneedling dermaroller

What is the Best Chemical Peel for Sensitive Skin?

The chemical solution used in peels can irritate the skin. There are types of chemical peels available for sensitive skin, though.

Glycolic chemical peels, for example, come in different sensitivity levels. Lactic peels are the most irritating and not the best option if your skin is sensitive. If you are unsure how your skin will react, a consultation with a skin professional might be a good place to start.

In some cases, it will also depend on the results you want. For example, retinol peels are an effective option if you are looking for an anti-aging formula. Retinol is a form of vitamin A.

Your best approach is to talk to your care provider. They will give you options that work well for your sensitive skin.

Can You Do Microneedling and a Chemical Peel at the Same Time?

You can do both effective skin treatments, but you wouldn’t do them at the same time or during the same appointment. Most care providers will recommend you start with a chemical peel. This will give your skin a fresh new look and remove surface problems like age spots and other signs of aging.

After the chemical peel heals fully, in about four to six weeks, you could go back for microneedling treatments to reach deeper layers of skin. Microneedling helps to promote collagen growth. That will provide your skin with a more solid foundation. The chemical peel will remove imperfections and then the microneedling to tone. They are a great pair, just not at the same time.

What About Wrinkles? What Is the Best Treatment?

Wrinkles are a natural part of aging, but different factors are involved in their formation, such as sun damage. As you get older, your skin naturally loses some elasticity. It also can become dry and more fragile.

Repeated facial expressions create creases in the skin. This is why people develop wrinkles in the same places, such as laugh lines and crow’s feet. Laugh lines are the accumulation of many smiles, and crow’s feet come from squinting, something everyone does at some point.

Microneedling vs. Chemical Peels: How Do They Help Wrinkles?

The role of a chemical peel is to cause controlled damage to the upper layers of skin. In this way, they can help eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Once the fresh, new skin grows, it will have fewer wrinkles. It works best on fine surface problems. Chemical peels will be less effective on deeper wrinkles.

The objective of the microneedling procedure is to start your body’s healing process by increasing the amount of collagen and elastin to the tiny injuries caused by the process. Collagen helps fill in and smooth out wrinkles.

Does Microneedling Help Wrinkles?

Microneedling can also be effective in smoothing out wrinkles, especially the deeper ones. Chemical peels remove the surface layers of the skin. Microneedling triggers a healing process that requires more collagen production. This is why microneedling is sometimes called collagen induction therapy.

Collagen plays a significant role in tightening and toning the skin. Firmer skin will be more taught and have fewer wrinkles.

If you are looking for ways to have better toned, younger-looking skin, the experts at Venice Avenue Dermatology can help. For more than 20 years, Venice Avenue Dermatology has been serving the residents of Sarasota and Charlotte. Find out more about microneedling vs. chemical peels treatments by contacting our office today and making an appointment. Both can offer dramatic results.

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