Updated: Oct 6
A chemical peel is simply a souped up version of exfoliation and often calls upon one of the familiar skincare acids, but at a higher concentration. Designed to be used less frequently than an every day acid, a peel will lift away the accumulated layers of dirt and grime that haven't been caught by your everyday regime and polishes away the build-up of dead skin cells that block pores and cling to our skin, making it look dull. Really, it's glowing skin, bottled.
The term "chemical peel" doesn't sit comfortably with most people, especially when you suggest they apply said peel to their face. It is and it isn't what it says on the tin though. Forget shedding like a snake, and think more along the lines of the more familiar skincare acids – like glycolic, salicylic and mandelic. Knowing your skincare acids helps you choose the correct product for your skin type. The difference between AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) is the level of exfoliation. They have different chemical compositions and therefore work differently on your skin. AHAs (lactic or glycolic acid) increase cell turnover and renewal rates, stimulating a burst of exfoliation. BHAs (such as salicylic acid) are a larger molecule and work by removing dead skin cells. BHAs love oil, so it’s great for acne prone skin and for unclogging pores.
Most acid solutions are simply applied to freshly cleansed skin. This ensures that there’s no barrier of other creams or pollution for it to fight through. But do give yourself a good patting down post-cleanse, as water often neutralize’s the effects of the chemicals in the peel. Once applied, it’s important to adhere to whatever instructions are on the label. Some peels need to be removed in 10 minutes and some are best slept in. The best time to use a peel is at night when the skin is in regeneration mode while you sleep. Our skin is 3x more receptive at night, especially since it doesn’t have to protect itself from pollution, dirt and grime and can focus on recovering and renewing.
If you don’t already use an SPF in your morning routine, start now. Your skin will be more photo-sensitive while being treated. Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Redness should last only a few minutes.
Tingling is okay but significant burning or itching may indicate inflammation. If you experience this, wash the product off your face immediately and apply a cool compress to calm the skin. Using products with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, or green tea can help sooth the skin post peel.
Avoid using retinol/retinoic acids or facials too soon after. They can be too strong and can irritate skin post-peel.
Here are some of the best at-home chemical peels I recommend:
This next-generation mask is an at-home “facial” that effectively yet gently exfoliates and resurfaces the pore lining by getting rid of built-up, dead skin cells to remove fine lines and wrinkles. With a slight tingle, this babyfacial will tighten, brighten and smooth your skin for a radiant and soft complexion. With a pH level of 3.5 and mixture of matcha tea, milk thistle and apple, it improves skin’s elastic feel to reveal a baby-faced complexion.
This nightly facial peel concentrate helps to refine the feel of rough texture and reveal newly radiant, refreshed skin
It supports natural cell turnover, while visibly evening skin's tone for a healthier, brighter look
Leave skin soft and smooth
This daily peel pads is formulated with natural tea tree extract and BHA & PHA to safely and effectively exfoliate and reveals smoother, brighter skin tone
Acne-Prone, Sensitive Skin, Oily, Dry, Normal
Salicylic acid: Reduce redness and irritation | Poly Hydroxy Acid: Its anti-oxidant properties allows slow skin aging and helps to reduce wrinkles and lines
Reduces the appearance of pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles
Exfoliates and stimulates cellular renewal
Firms, tightens and plumps the skin
A fast-acting, two-step daily treatment for clinical results at home. Our carefully selected dose of 3 AHA/BHAs plus antioxidants and vitamins lift away dead skin & impurities, while improving uneven tone, texture, and hydration.