You’ve no doubt heard that a facial peel could be a fantastic addition to your skincare regimen. Estheticians and dermatologists alike recommend them for younger-looking skin, but do you know why?
What Is a Peel?
Facial peels are, indeed, wonderful for achieving more even, softer skin and for minimizing the signs of aging. Sometimes called chemical peels, these cosmetic treatments are performed by applying a formula of chemicals (usually enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients) that give skin a deep, chemical exfoliation. The peel is left on the skin long enough to penetrate the skin and for its active ingredients to start to work.
What Do Peels Do?
Glycolic peels can give you deeper exfoliation by eating away at and dissolving dead, dying, and damaged skin cells. Depending on whether you’ve chosen a superficial, medium, or deep peel, over the course of several days after applying the peel, the top layer(s) of your skin will begin to peel away. This makes room for younger, healthier cells for a brighter, smoother complexion. They also come in a variety of strengths and types, depending on your skincare goals. Superficial peels only slough off the very top layer of skin and are gentle enough for use on all skin types. Medium and Deep peels penetrate deeper into the skin and may cause some burning. Deep peels are not recommended for darker skin types, as they tend to bleach the skin and cause an uneven effect on some complexions.
Common Types of Peels
Peels differ in intensity based on how deeply they penetrate the skin. This is due in part to how concentrated they are but also what kinds of acids are used. Three of the most popular peels are:
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) occur naturally in sugar cane, citrus fruits, and even milk. They are the mildest of the acids used for chemical peels and are usually best for smoothing and improving the look of rough skin but are not as effective at diminishing wrinkles as other, deeper peels.
Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels
Though AHAs are stronger acids than beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), BHAs can penetrate deeper into the skin, causing a more dramatic effect. Of the BHAs used for facial peels, salicylic acid is the most popular and most effective.
The deepest of the common peels, retinoid (or retinoic acid) peels, are ordinarily performed by a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or other medical professionals in a physician’s office or medical spa. Peels with lower concentrations of retinoids may also be used at home.
Why Get a Peel?
People get facial peels for many reasons. Do you have a rough or uneven complexion? Are you concerned about the fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, nose, and mouth? A facial peel can help significantly in improving the look and feel of your complexion.
Is a Peel Right for You?
Almost anyone can benefit from the rejuvenating nature of a facial peel, but you should be aware of your skin type, sensitivity, and any allergies before you commit to one. As we mentioned earlier, a deep facial peel could leave darker skin looking uneven. For susceptible skin, a milder facial peel is usually recommended, as well. Peels are much more efficient at improving the look and feel of your skin than physical exfoliants, and they’re much less expensive than other professional treatments for scar removal or wrinkle reduction. In other words, yes, there is a facial peel out there for you, and you can benefit from its mild or deep exfoliating properties.