Chemical Peels vs. CO2 Laser Resurfacing: What Is The Difference?

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Maintaining and keeping healthy can seem overwhelming, but it does not have to. There are many skin treatments that could be the answer you have been looking for in skincare. People often discuss chemical peels vs. CO2 laser resurfacing treatments. You may wonder how to choose the right one. The key is understanding the role of each to see if one is better suited for your skin. 

Chemical Peels Vs. CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatments  

Chemical peels vs. CO2 laser resurfacing treatments do not have to be a drawn-out debate. At O’Neill Plastic Surgery, we specialize in knowing what is best for your unique situation. While both of these procedures are a great option for most people, here are the basics of each.  

What is a chemical peel? 

The definition of a chemical peel is a solution that is either a chemical acid like salicylic or glycolic acid or a more natural, self-neutralizing peel that uses enzymes such as papaya, or pineapple. We use peels as a procedure to gently remove the top outer layer of dead skin, brighten your overall appearance and treat surface imperfections. The goal is to achieve a more smooth, clean, healthy canvas so that beautiful new skin takes its place on top. 

Peels range in severity and downtime. The deeper you go, the more downtime you will have. Meaning, the possibility of flaking, peeling, tightness, and possible redness. At O’Neill Plastic Surgery, we offer a ZO Medical 3-Step Stimulation Peel, Skinceuticals TCA Peel, as well as other higher acid percentage peels that will most likely accompany some downtime. Your provider will inform you on how to take care of your skin after having even the most gentle peel to a more aggressive peel. 

What is CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment? 

Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that uses an ablative laser to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scars, even out skin coloring, and tighten the skin. The treatment includes using very short pulsed light energy delivered in a scanning pattern to remove thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage.      

While making this decision, it is important to consider all preparations, time of year, and options as well as get all the information about your procedure.  At O’Neill Plastic Surgery, we offer the SmartSkin+ CO2 Laser. This is a laser revitalization treatment that reduces those unwanted signs of aging. There is downtime to doing this laser and the healing time varies as your doctor will inform you. There are also protocols for skin preparation for a minimum of 6 weeks that will need to be done prior to doing this laser for your care and the best results possible. 

How do I decide which one to get? 

Speaking to your medical provider about what your goals are and where you currently are in your skincare journey will better inform you about what the next step is. At O’Neill Plastic Surgery, we will help guide you to those goals.

A picture of Patrick J. O’Neill, MD wearing his doctor attire.

About the Author

Upon completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Dr. O’Neill completed nine years of residency training. These nine years included a full general surgery and a plastic surgery residency, both at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery. Dr. O’Neill has extensive certifications, training, skills, and knowledge that make him a successful physician who can carry out your next plastic surgery procedure. His expertise and technique will result in the beautiful and natural look you desire post surgery.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Sub-Certification in Hand and Microsurgery

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