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Quiz: What's the Best Way to Brighten Your Skin?

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Which is most popular?

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Which is most popular?

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Nearly a half-million microdermabrasions were done in the United States in 2011. Chemical peels -- more than 380,000 -- also were popular. Dermabrasion, which removes more skin and takes longer to heal, was done only about 25,000 times, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

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Chemical peeling might help treat acne.

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Chemical peeling might help treat acne.

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Some people with acne find that chemical peeling can help keep their skin clear.

For best results, you need to go more than one time for:

For best results, you need to go more than one time for:

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Compared with dermabrasion, microdermabrasion is a gentler abrasive process that "polishes" the skin, treating problems like sun damage, acne scarring, large pores, and even blackheads.

 

Most people have five to 12 treatments, each two or three weeks apart. Each visit can be an hour or less, usually about 30 minutes

What’s one difference between a chemical peel and dermabrasion?

What’s one difference between a chemical peel and dermabrasion?

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Chemical peels -- which use a liquid to remove the skin’s upper layers -- can work well on discoloration, fine lines, and freckles. Dermabrasion, which uses a tool like a sander, can help deep wrinkles and scars. Both treatments can be done on part or all of the face, lightly or more deeply, affecting how long they take and the discomfort they cause.

On average, which treatment costs the most?

On average, which treatment costs the most?

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A chemical peel costs about $600, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. A microdermabrasion session costs about $115. Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment, a light therapy that can improve skin color and texture, averages more than $350 per procedure.

A “lunchtime” peel:

A “lunchtime” peel:

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This superficial chemical treatment -- one that doesn't touch deep skin -- can take as little as 10-15 minutes. It can be done on people as young as their mid-20s to fight the first signs of aging.

What usually works better for wrinkles around the eyes and on the lips?

What usually works better for wrinkles around the eyes and on the lips?

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A facelift is better for overall skin sagging. But wrinkles around the eyes and lips -- caused by the sun -- respond best to laser resurfacing.

 

You might do both for overall improvement to your face.

Chemical peels sold for home use are generally considered:

Chemical peels sold for home use are generally considered:

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Home peels can be safe when used properly, but in some people can lead to skin reactions. They are unlikely to work as well as the ones a doctor provides.

 

You should check with your dermatologist about home treatments, including peels and microdermabrasion kits, to make sure that whatever you choose is reliable and safe for you, given your medical history and other treatments you are using.

You can get a chemical peel on:

You can get a chemical peel on:

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Chemical peeling isn't just for your face. It can be used on just about any sun-damaged skin. A peel removes skin cells and reduces age spots, irregular coloring, rough skin, and freckles. It's also good for fine lines, especially near the eyes and mouth. Chemicals wouldn't be used on your eyes or lips.

A deep chemical peel every few years can keep your face looking young.

A deep chemical peel every few years can keep your face looking young.

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Deep chemical peeling can safely be done just once. Although it can improve many signs of aging, it is a serious procedure that involves pretreatment, a sedative and anesthetic, bandaging afterward, and a healing period of two or more weeks. Follow-up care requires visits to the dermatologist, soaking the skin, using medicines and ointments, and avoiding the sun.

Deep chemical peels may be more likely to cause skin problems if you have:

Deep chemical peels may be more likely to cause skin problems if you have:

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If you have a dark complexion, your skin is more likely to become discolored by deep chemical peeling. You also are more likely to develop noticeable scars.

You might not be a good candidate for a chemical peel or dermabrasion treatment if you:

You might not be a good candidate for a chemical peel or dermabrasion treatment if you:

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In particular, a retinoid drug called isotretinoin can delay healing and cause scarring. You must wait one year after using retinoids before you get a chemical peel or dermabrasion.

 

Your dermatologist will need to take a complete medical history to be sure you get the best results.

Laser therapy doesn’t work to treat early signs of aging.

Laser therapy doesn’t work to treat early signs of aging.

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Among various types of laser therapy, one called non-ablative laser rejuvenation -- the kind that leaves the top layer of skin intact and targets the skin underneath -- works well for early signs of aging.

Laser or light-based skin treatments can help:

Laser or light-based skin treatments can help:

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Laser/light rejuvenation -- which uses light to treat skin defects -- can work on many signs of aging and can often be completed in less than an hour.

Dermabrasion can prevent wrinkles.

Dermabrasion can prevent wrinkles.

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With good skin care, including sun protection, improvements from dermabrasion can last 10 years or more. But it’s possible that new wrinkles will arise as the skin ages. So always remove your makeup at night, clean your face gently every day, and use sunscreen even if you're outside for just a short time.

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