A 20 micron Microlaser peel is enough to remove just beyond the thickness of the superficial dead layer of skin cells (stratum corneum). This is a nice depth peel for someone with mild/moderate sun damage and aging changes who does not have significant downtime available. I will often combine this depth laser peel with a BBL Fotofacial to obtain the optimal results for the given downtime.
Jacque P. LeBeau, MD
A 20 micron peel is a weekend peel.
A 20 micron erbium peel effectively removes the overlying stratum corneum as well as superficial papillary dermis. As it goes below the stratum corneum you will definitely have lightly moist skin but not raw or bleeding skin. This will take a couple of days to recover and then go through a fine peeling reaction several days later. If your dermatologist has an erbium laser which allows for choosing depth of treatment, you can select the depth of treatment and effectively how much recovery time you are willing to accept. I always remind people that the deeper the treatment, the longer the recovery time, but the better the results in the long run. Talk it through with your physician.
20 Microns is a Superficial Peel
20 microns is 1/50th of a millimeter (the smallest lines on most rulers)-- and is about the thickness of the outermost layer of your epidermis, the stratum corneum (the layer of "dead skin"). This is considered a very light peel--- similar to what can be achieved with light chemical peels or aggressive microdermabrasion.
A Deep Peel is considered to penetrate through the entire epidermis and into the upper to mid-dermis-- often being about 150-400 microns, as might be done with classical fully ablative CO2 resurfacing.
Currently, most aggressive laser peeling is done with a series of Fractionated CO2 laser treatments, often reaching a depth of 600-900 microns.