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What’s the difference between skin peels, microneedling and mesotherapy?

The Academy Clinic chemical peel

At The Academy Clinic we believe in the principle of ‘skin first and injectables second’. This means we look at whether chemical peels, microneedling, or mesotherapy could achieve your desired look before or instead of more risky treatments like fillers. No matter how you pull, tighten, or fill ‘bad skin’ with injectables, your face won’t look clear, even, and dewy unless you target those things directly. Injectables may change the ‘scaffolding’ underneath your skin, but can’t change the texture, colour, or clarity of it. Often, better skin is a large part of why you’re coming to see us, so if we can help we will.

Why are skin treatments relevant? For women, collagen production is linked directly to the ovaries. When women are most fertile their skin is usually at its best. Luckily, skin rejuvenation treatments like microneedling, chemical peels and mesotherapy can benefit your skin greatly. These treatments are less ‘invasive’ than injectables.

So what exactly is the difference between these treatments and which one should you go for?

Skin Peels

The first questions we often get is:

“Will I look like Samantha did from Sex and the City?!!!”

NO! Don’t panic!

There are MANY different types of peels. The strength of the peel used will determine the skin’s reaction.

The general rule when it comes to Chemical Peels: The stronger you go, the stronger the skin reaction. A chemical peel achieves ‘chemical exfoliation’ which means the skin will appear brighter and fresher (the effects would be better than a facial). Chemical exfoliation is just like a scrub or exfoliator. A scrub is a mechanical exfoliator which refers to a tool that will act to physically remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. This tool can be a physical instrument like a brush, or hand-held scrubbing device, or small grains. Unfortunately, mechanical exfoliators aren’t as effective as chemical exfoliators.

What Exactly Is A Skin Peel?

A peel is a chemical solution which is applied to the skin (after the surface is cleansed and prepped), the solution’s main ingredients- known as ‘the Peeling Agent’- allows us to categorise the peel. The percentage and pH of the peeling agent will allow us to determine the strength of the peel.

The peel is applied for a specific amount of time, it is then neutralised. After this, products will be applied to protect the barrier of the skin; this will usually include an SPF. Any post-treatment instructions should be given clearly by your practitioner- with regards to products that can/cannot be used on the skin and what to expect. If you want to receive the best results possible after a course of peels, products (preferably from the same range as the peel you are having) should be used at home. The essentials: cleanser, an appropriate serum or moisturiser and an SPF 30 (minimum). These are the basics.

Additional active ingredient based products and eye creams can be added for the best results.

Skin peels rundown: Repeat to yourself: you will not look like Samantha (we promise!). There is a peel out there that will be suitable for you. Lighter peels are even referred to as ‘lunchtime peels’ – meaning there isn’t specifically any downtime, a bit of redness, but they won’t leave you looking like Samantha!


Microneedling is using a small needle device over the facial skin. The penetration of the needles will create controlled punctures, which forces your skin into initiating repair mode. This should decrease the appearance of superficial scarring, pigmentation, pore size and fine lines.

The idea of rolling needles over your skin might scare you and remind you of a weird horror movie, but 30 minutes before treatment you will have ‘numbing’ (local anaesthetic) cream applied. Most people experience a moderate pressure delivered in a repetitive nature to the skin. The ‘microneedles’ (meaning TINY needles) should not be felt. This treatment has become so popular that people actually use their own miniature devices as a home-based treatment! We suggest having the treatment delivered professionally to achieve the best results.


Mesotherapy involves the light injection of a solution into the skin. It helps nutrients, antioxidants and/or other chosen chemicals get to the right layer of skin, which they would otherwise not be able to penetrate because of the skin’s natural barrier. You can choose from several areas, such as the facial skin or even places with cellulite on the body. The solution used is packed with vitamins and ingredients that could help target your specific skin concern. Mesotherapy can help address: ageing skin, textural skin issues, and it may even be able to help reduce cellulite on the body. Some mesotherapy is more effective than others, so always get this from a fully qualified clinical professional. One well-researched and effective use for mesotherapy is if you want to brighten your skin, or a lighten a specific area such as the under-eyes.

This treatment is a great option as an alternative or complementary treatment to injectables! As with microneedling, a numbing cream would be applied before the treatment, you may feel quite sensitive in the areas of injection.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the The Academy Clinic team on 0203 884 3246 or email

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