The phrase “chemical peel” just sounds scary, doesn’t it? You want me to put what on my face?! Rest assured, your fear is unfounded. A chemical peel is usually made from natural fruit acids and acids derived from milk products, and works by removing the top layer of dead skin cells from your face. This is called “chemical exfoliation” as opposed to “physical exfoliation,” which is done by scrubbing skin. The word “peel” just refers to the removal of the layers of skin that are most likely making your complexion look dull and preventing your skincare ingredients from being absorbed into your skin.
While these treatments are available in spas in a strong, professional strength, there are also many products available for use at home. The results of a chemical peel? Brighter, smoother skin with smaller-looking pores. So, what are you waiting for?
We asked David Durand, skincare expert and Vice President of Groupe Naos Amérique du Nord, which owns Bioderma and Institute Esthederm, for his insight on using chemical peels at home.
TL: Can all skin types use an at-home peel?
DD: Yes, all skin types can use at-home peels because they are often less concentrated than those done by doctors. Nevertheless, it is recommended for sensitive skin and heavily pigmented skin to seek the advice of a health professional.
TL: What should people with sensitive skin types avoid — or use instead?
DD: People with sensitive skin should use very gentle scrubs. If they want a peel, they should go to an aesthetic doctor.
TL: What ingredients should people be looking for in an at-home peel product?
DD: You can look for ingredients such as glycolic acid, which is one of the most famous active ingredients used for at home peeling.
TL: Is it dangerous to leave a peel on for longer than suggested?
DD: Yes. This can cause allergies, rashes or burns.
TL: Which products should be avoided after a peel?
DD: You should avoid products with alcohol, fragrance and keratolytic ingredients, like salicylic acid.
TL: Which products should you use after a peel?
DD: You should use healing products with higher concentrations of hyaluronic acid to optimize the hydration of the skin. You could also use anti-redness products or anti-inflammatory products recommended by an aesthetic doctor or a pharmacist.
TL: What should users expect after a peel?
DD: A better glow, refined skin texture and wrinkles smoothed.
Top dos and don’ts for at-home chemical peels
- Do: Use a peel regularly.
- Don’t: Try an at-home peel if you have very sensitive skin. Consult an expert first.
- Do: Replenish skin after a peel with healing, moisturizing products. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid — which is not an acid in the sense that it’s harsh or strips moisture. It actually helps your skin to absorb moisture and keeps skin moisturized.
- Don’t: Use an at-home peel product more than once every three days( read and follow the package instructions). Many peels can only be used once a week.
- Do: Try a peel. As long as your skin isn’t too sensitive, you’ll love the results!
- Don’t: Use scrubs or skincare products with alcohol or salicylic acid after using a peel.