Chemical peels might sound intimidating, but there’s more to them than the fear of turning your skin red and bubbling. The peel treatment promotes cell turnover, leaving your skin fresh and rejuvenated.
I’m obsessed with skin care. Give me all the toners, all the serums, all the face masks! Recently, I’ve become a bit overzealous with getting professional facials as well. Is it the idea of someone massaging my face? Perhaps I love the constant consultations,“You’re skin’s too try,” “You need this eye cream,” that make me feel like I’m ahead of the curb. I’m a sucker for, “You should come in next time for a peel,” too. But all that giving in has put a dent in my bank account. And truth be heard, I am really good at at-home spa days. That’s why I went on the hunt for the best skincare treatments to add to my day of bubbly baths and hair masks, and among my favorite finds was at-home chemical peels.
I know the idea of getting a chemical peel is scary, but you can thank the portrayal of late ‘90s knowledge of skin care for that. Remember that Sex And The City episode where Samantha showed up to Carrie’s book launch party with a bubbling visage of red? Yeah, that’s not what you’re going to get from a chemical peel these days—especially if you’re doing the at-home versions.
Chemical peels work to support cell turnover, which, as you get older, is significantly slowed. The magic happens when dull surface cells are cast off into the abyss, while fine lines, acne, discoloration, and more are all improved. Your skin is left with a bright, new, fresh look that has taken away the signs of aging, dirt, sun damage, and debris that a simple cleanse simply cannot do. You gotta do it regularly to reap the benefits, however. And that’s why at-home versions can be your best friend.
At-home chemical peels are usually a bit milder than what you’re getting in office, but they contain many of the same ingredients, and some are even suggested for weekly use, which makes my spa life really on point. However, you should always follow the directions to the T, and be sure to do a spot test if you’re the sensitive skin type, because there’s nothing like showing up to a book launch party wearing a black veil to cover up your volcanic eruption of a face.
So what type of chemical peel is right for you? There are five ingredients to look out for: Beta-hydroxyacids (or salicylic acid), to unclogs pores and clear up acne, glycolic and lactic acids to remove dead skin cells gently, fruit enzymes like papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple for that gorgeous glow, retinol to boost collagen production, and tricholacetic acid (TCA), for ultra penetration.
And then there’s aftercare. You can’t just go step into the sunshine with your fresh face and expect not to get burnt, since chemical peels leave you more prone to UV-damage. So be sure to slather on that sunscreen, wear that fine floppy hat, and protect your pretty new face.
Itching to try an at-home treatment? These are the ones I love.
You remember those Noxzema acne pads that stung like hell? This product might look like that, but don’t be fooled. A container of one-use pads, these babies are my daily savior. They’re botanical multi-acid peel pads that require no downtime, and swipe away impurities, excess oil, and dry cells to reveal radiance like no other. They feature glycolic and lactic acids, salicylic acid, phytic acid for cell turnover, oleanic acid, olive leaf extract, and boerhavia diffusa root extract for anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits, and a powerful peptide complex called matrixyl 300, which promotes reduced wrinkle depth.
This is my ultimate spa-style skin peel, since it comes in a shiny box and requires multiple steps. I put on a hair mask, cozy up in a robe, and let the magic unfold. The product constantly sells out, so you know it’s good.
The retexturizing skin peel combines three ingredients that cover glycolic, enzymes and physical to rejuvenate and resurface skin texture. The first step is an enzyme scrub that serves as the peel prep. I particularly love this because my skin already feels like it’s sloughed away the dead stuff before the real work even begins. Next are the peel accelerator pads, which are pre-moistened glycolic peel pads that make your face feel extra squeaky clean and provide you that penetrating slight sting. Finally, you take on the solution, dispensing a teaspoon worth into the cup provided, then using the silky fan brush to apply. I love that the solution foams on my face, creating a tiny tingly sensation that is nowhere near uncomfortable, while letting you know the work is in progress.
While I’m not acne prone per say, my skin likes a good premenstrual breakout. And while I used to analyze every inch of my skin for a good zit to pop, old scars have left marks that remind me excavating the epidermis isn’t the answer. This chemical peel is a great option for honing in on clogged pores and pesky pimples that pop up in unison mid-cycle. Even if your skin is sensitive, this 10 percent salicylic acid solution deeply cleanses pores, removes deep seated dirt and sebum, and keeps oil production in check without making your skin go crazy. I recommend applying it at night right after cleansing. It will give you that subtle tingle that feels fresh and productive. Follow up with an acne-fighting cream and hit the pillow!