A Beginner’s Guide to Chemical Peels
What you need to know before picking up an at-home peel
Skincare information is aplenty in this internet age and if you’ve been paying attention, exfoliation is in. Spending big bucks on moisturizers and cleansers can be a waste if you’re skipping this important step. It helps slow aging, brightens skin, and clear breakouts.
One type of exfoliation, chemical peels, are gaining in popularity because of how effective they are at solving problem skin. Acid exfoliants can now be found in at-home peels, body lotions, cleansers, serums and toners, and for good reason. It’s a simple, easy way to see real skin changes without the dermatologist price tag.
Since there are so many products and types of chemical exfoliants you should know a thing or two before picking up a bottle.
Am I a candidate for chemical peels?
In short, yes! Most people could benefit from the benefits of chemical exfoliation. The benefits range firming the skin, improved texture, softened appearance of fine lines and reduced breakouts. They are also a great way to maintain healthy skin and provide collagen-boosting benefits.
And those who shouldn’t use a peel are those with infected wounds, extremely inflamed acne, and those with extremely sensitive skin. However, Perfect Image Peels offers a Daily Use peel which is a very low and tolerable concentration that many people with sensitive skin can handle. You’ll want to handle extreme skin issues before adding in a chemical exfoliant.
If you are unsure, ask your dermatologist.
What do they do and how do they do it?
Chemical exfoliants use acids to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin. Compared to manual exfoliation that uses scrubs, washcloths, or other abrasive materials to target the top layer of the skin, chemical exfoliants have the unique advantage of diving deeper into the skin.
While manual exfoliants are still great at gentle resurfacing and giving you a quick glow, chemical exfoliants are better suited to treat deeper skin concerns. Because the acid molecules are small enough to penetrate into a deeper level of the skin you are able to prompt cellular rejuvenation. This deep penetration allows for a controlled damage in the dermis which triggers your skin cells to repair themselves. The outcome if fresher, new skin that glows and can clear blemishes, dark spots, and lines.
It also helps maintain healthier skin by increasing the absorption of your topical products. When the old skin is buffed away moisturizers, cleansers, and serums are able to penetrate the skin better than it would if there were layers of dead skin cells.
What type of acid should I use?
All acids exfoliate, but some acids target certain issues better than others. Because each skin concern affects different aspects of the skin, there are specific types of chemicals better suited to address your particular issue.
First, there are two main types of acids used in chemical peels are AHAs (alpha-hydroxy-acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy-acids). The main difference is that AHAs are water-soluble, and BHAs are oil soluble.
The most common BHA, salicylic acid, is able to break through the oil clogging pores and deeply expel the sebum and dirt that has accumulated. Salicylic acid is by far the most helpful peel for those trying to treat acne, blackheads, whiteheads, or oily skin. This acid combats the oil in a way that the other water-soluble acids cannot.
In the AHA family, we have acids like glycolic, lactic, malic, and mandelic acids. These all are water-soluble and penetrate deeper into the skin.
Glycolic acid is best for aging as its small molecule dives deep to address lines and wrinkles, firmness, and elasticity. Lactic acid is the best for hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and to increase brightness.
What should I watch out for?
The single best tip you’ll get from us is this: Use this product judiciously, follow directions, and always start slow.
We know, with all those benefits listed it’s no wonder that people are flocking to exfoliating peels, toners, and moisturizers, but it is so important to proceed with caution. It’s so tempting to want to use the strongest peel thinking it will give you the best results, but in reality, less is more when starting out.
We pride ourselves on making peels that are at a professional level, like ones you would find in a spa or dermatologist’s office, but at a price point that is accessible to everyone. With that being said, we know our products are strong. They’re meant to be to provide you with the most skin changing benefits you can get. However, we always recommend that you start with the lowest level and work your way up and use the peel as directed with 1-2 weeks in between peels.
It’s important for your skin to get used to chemical exfoliating and starting slow if the best way to ensure that you won’t have a reaction or so that you don’t damage your skin by going too hard at first. Just like you wouldn’t rub your skin raw with a scrub, you shouldn’t start using a peel at a higher concentration.
But when you pick a peel suited for your skin concern and at a reasonable starting level you can see amazing results over time.