Chemical Peel: A Crash Course on This Must-Have Beauty Treatment

Everything You Need To Know About A Chemical Peel

By Courtney Leiva

Chemical peel? Chemical peel what? Your skin of course!

Believe it or not beautiful friends, great skincare extends past that daily scrub and wash. Ditch that boring skincare routine by adding in a chemical peel, (don’t let the name scare ya) a truly fantastic way to help beat breakouts, treat sun damage and get glowy gorgeous skin!

Consulting only the best skincare experts, we’re giving you a crash course on the hottest skincare treatment, answering all those burning questions from where to find the best at-home peels to the necessary questions you should ask before that chemical peel excursion!

What Is A Chemical Peel? 

A chemical peel is any chemically-based product or treatment thing that literally peel off layers of damaged skin. Chemical peels can range from daily treatments that don’t cause any noticeable peeling to “lunchtime peels” done in a doctor’s office without any downtime, to deep peels that leave you looking lizard-like for up to 5 days.

At the Stript Wax Bar in Los Angeles, founder Katherine Goldman explains, “all peels remove the outer layer of skin [but] some go deeper than others. Typically, the higher the concentration and lower the PH, the deeper the peel with penetrate.” As Dr. Jessica Krant from Art of Dermatology explains, “Results of chemical peeling can range from refreshing the skin and giving it an extra glow, helping manage acne breakouts, and gradually fading brown spots due to sun damage.”

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels For Anti-Aging.

One of the more popular types of chemical peel, alpha hydroxy acid peels, are a commonly used skin rejuvenation treatment. “Alpha hydroxy acid peels contain the ‘fruit acids’ like glycolic, citric, and lactic acids and are found in very low concentrations in some [over the counter] facial cleansers and lotions for daily or weekly use, or in stronger concentrations for in-office use by a physician. They peel the outer layers of the skin with depth depending on how long they are left in contact with the face, and can cause peeling that lasts for several days but is unlikely to cause a high risk of scarring,” Dr. Jessica Krant states.

Lactic Acid Peels for Sensitive Skin.

Fret not ladies with sensitive skin, there is a peel perfect for you as well. Goldman explains that there is a peel for every skin type. For sensitive skin, “if there is redness or broken capillaries, a lactic peel is best as this is the most gentle of all the acids.”

Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels for Acne.

Also popular, beta hydroxy acid peels, which contain salicylic acid, are often used to help control an oily complexion and cystic acne since they penetrate more deeply into the facial pores making them more effective at controlling acne and oil production. “If a client has active breakouts, a peel with Salicylic Acid is used…reduces inflammation and can dry up blemishes,” Goldman says. Beta hydroxy acid peels, though, pose a higher risk of scarring, and, as Krant adds, “are generally performed only in-offices.”

Home Facial for Brighter Skin: Turmeric-Lemon Juice Facial Mask

At-Home Chemical Peel. 

At times, a good yet pricey peel can cost us more than we would like to spend. So at-home treatments are essential for the budgeting beauty. Start your budget shopping with the Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Overnight Peel ($16.99)! It’s a great gentle glycolic peel, which can be used day or night to help fade dark spots and acne scars for smoother skin tone and texture.

Before you get a chemical peel…

Before you try any in-office chemical peel, make sure to find a reputable dermatologist and ask the right questions. Most importantly, be sure to be clear on how to prepare for you chemical peel. Ask your doctor these questions:

  • Do I need to protect my skin from the sun differently both before and after the peel?
  • Should I use bleaching creams first to help minimize the risk of dark patches forming after the peel?
  • Do I need to stop using topical retinoid products or acne medications?
  • If you have herpes, do I need antiviral medication to prevent an outbreak?
  • How long will I peel for?
  • Is there anything else I need to know?

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