Chemical peels are an amazing secret weapon to battle a myriad of skin issues. They help you brighten a dull complexion, slough off dead skin cells, and get a healthy, refreshed glow in just a matter of minutes.
Effective, professional chemical peel treatments conducted by an esthetician can be costly, and we get that these luxuries may not fit in your budget. Luckily, many brands offer a more affordable way to get similar spa results at home for less than the price of one professional peel.
The Best At-Home Chemical Peels
Before you go playing spa day at home, it's important that you do your research to make sure you aren't doing more harm than good to your precious skin. Many of these kinds of products contain high concentrations of acids to chemically exfoliate your skin, so you need to be educated on what you're using. To help demystify chemical peels, we chatted with skincare experts to learn more about the popular treatment, including their safety tips and favorite product recommendations.
What Is a Chemical Peel? And Why Is It Essential?
You likely already know the importance of a good exfoliation and probably have a face scrub (or dozen) on rotation at home. A chemical peel takes the buffing process a step further. It's a chemical solution that is applied to your face to help remove the top layer of skin. It helps soften wrinkles, fade discoloration, and minimize scars, according to Mayo Clinic.
When you incorporate chemical peels into your skincare routine, you'll reveal a much brighter and smoother complexion when compared to a face scrub. Chemical peels also help unearth oil and dirt trapped inside your pores, making it an enticing option for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. Plus, removing dead skin cells has the added benefit of helping your products absorb deeper, says celebrity esthetician Shani Darden.
Types of At-Home Chemical Peels
According to double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Amir Karam, M.D., an at-home chemical peel falls into one of two categories based on its ingredients:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as lactic and glycolic acids, improve overall skin tone and discoloration.
- Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid can penetrate deep into your pores and hair follicles to help unclog them. These are great for anyone with acne-prone or oily skin.
Chemical Peel Safety Tips
- Do follow the directions to a T, or you might damage your skin. When done incorrectly, chemical peels can cause burns and scarring, cautions Karam. He says taking matters into your own hands is a common but costly rookie mistake. For example, if the directions say only use two passes and you use more product than necessary, you can damage multiple layers of your skin.
- Don't mix chemical peels on your own. Seriously, it's just not worth it because doing so can lead to an unwanted chemical reaction, argues Karam. The only exception is if a reputable company pre-mixed the solution for you.
Sensitive Skin and Chemical Peels
Yes, you can use a chemical peel if you have sensitive skin, but consider a peel that's made with milder chemicals like lactic and mandelic acids, says Amir.
- Lactic acid is handy when you want to shrink the appearance of large pores and fade dark spots.
- Mandelic acid is the most gentle form of AHA, making it ideal for sensitive skin. It's also helpful for lightening mild dark spots.
- Enzymes are great when you want a gentle exfoliation and are derived from fruits and vegetables like pineapple, papaya, and pumpkin.
What’s the Bottom Line?
A chemical peel is an excellent way to exfoliate your skin. It can help fade any imperfections you want to fix, like congested pores, acne, hyperpigmentation, and even wrinkles. However, using one requires some discipline, like sticking to the directions provided with your kit. If you're finally ready to reveal glowing, baby-soft skin, consider adding one of these chemical peels to your online shopping cart before they sell out.