Chemical peels are one of my favorite skincare techniques, and a fantastic secret weapon to battle the visible signs of aging. Peels are inexpensive, easy to do at home, and are amazing for resurfacing the skin, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. Not only do they exfoliate the epidermis, they also stimulate fibroblasts in the dermis to make collagen. Here are 7 reasons to consider doing a chemical peel from home.
Reasons To Do A Chemical Peel From Home
1. The Effects Of A Chemical Peel Are Cumulative
Since the effects of chemical peels are cumulative, you’ll want to do a series of 8-10 every other week or so before you taper off to once-a-month maintenance peels. The strength of the acid, the type of acid used, along with how long you leave the peel on will be determining factors in how often you can safely perform a peel. Your skin type and its tolerance to the acid you use will also play into frequency.
Higher-strength peels require more downtime between treatments. When first beginning your chemical peel journey, you’ll want to start with a lower-concentration acid and wait longer between applications. Your skin will gradually build up a tolerance to the acid in the peel, allowing you to increase the concentration and frequency. It’s always a good idea to do a patch test before applying any acid to your face. That way you can gauge how your skin will react.
[Read More: What Does A Chemical Peel Do?]
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2. Peels Stimulate Cell Proliferation In The Epidermis
Acids dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together in the outermost layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum. This glue acts like a sort of cement to keep cells bonded together. Chemical peels break down keratin, a cement-like substance in the skin, exfoliating the epidermis to reveal fresher, younger-looking skin.
Peeling and flaking for a few days following a peel is completely normal. In fact, it’s the whole point behind doing a peel. That’s why peels are called peels, and it’s why they’re so effective. Take care not to scrub your skin or pick at the flakes as you could potentially cause scarring. The last thing you want to do is irritate skin that has been chemically treated.
Also, avoid products with retinol and cleansers that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Always apply a broad- spectrum sunscreen before leaving the house. Peels will make your skin very sensitive to the sun. This oil-free zinc oxide sunscreen provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays and is formulated for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
3. Lunchtime Peels Are A Thing
Lunchtime peels are called such because they can be completed during a lunch break and require no downtime. They’re typically mild peels that use salicylic or glycolic acids to resurface the skin, regenerate collagen, minimize lines and blemishes, and refine pores.
Peels are great for removing the debris and gunk that clog pores and cause acne. Lunchtime peels are amazing to do a couple of days before a big event to take your radiance factor up a notch, especially if you’re in the middle of a breakout or have stress-related and sleep-deprived dark circles under your eyes. Since dead skin cells cause your complexion to be dull, rough, and uneven, eiiminating these cells will make your complexion glow.
4. Chemical Peels Will Make You Look Younger
Check out the many benefits of doing a chemical peel:
- Exfoliates the epidermis to reveal younger-looking skin
- Stimulates collagen and elastin
- Boosts turnover of cells
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Brightens and smooths complexion
- Evens out skin tone and texture, including under-eye dark circles
- Smooths acne and scarring
- Boosts skin hydration
- Decreases pigmentation, such as melasma and age spots
- Unclogs pores, while reducing pore size
- Tightens and tones
- Allows for better product penetration
5. There Are A Variety Of Chemical Acids
The chemical solution, or acid, in a peel is what stimulates exfoliation and collagen production. There are a plethora of peels to choose from. The various acids differ in terms of the degree to which they penetrate the skin, the proteins they target, the benefits you’ll see following a peel, and the downtime that’s required. Peels range from mild to deep. Which acid you opt to use will depend on the conditions you’re treating.
Types Of Peels
Lactic acid: An alpha hydroxy acid derived from fermented milk. Lactic acid peels are mild and range in strengths from 40-70%. They’re applicable for superficial skin imperfections and are a great choice for first-time peel users. Lactic acid is a mild acid due to its large molecular structure, which prevents it from penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin. Buy a professional grade 50% lactic acid peel here.
Glycolic acid: My favorite, glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. It, along with lactic acid, are two of the most popular acids used for chemical peels. Strengths range from 10-70%. The small molecular weight of glycolic acid enables it to penetrate deeply into the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin. Check out this 30% glycolic acid peel.
Mandelic acid: An acid that comes from bitter almonds. Mandelic acid peels are a great option for those with acne because of its anti-bacterial properties. It also calms inflammation, stimulates cellular turnover, reduces fine lines, and gets rid of blackheads. It’s a good choice for first-time peel users because it’s less irritating to the skin than some of the other acids. Mandelic acid is often used in conjunction with salicylic acid. Click here for a Mandelic acid peel formulated for melasma, rosacea, and cystic acne.
Salicylic acid: An oil-based beta hydroxy acid that is good for acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid penetrates more deeply into the skin than do alpha hyroxy acids because it is oil-soluble. Beta hydroxy acids are beneficial for breaking apart and softening keratin, the bond that holds skin cells together. Salicylic acid is used for conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Buy a 20% salicylic acid peel here.
Jessner peels: Jessner peels use a combination of salicylic and lactic acids, along with resorcinol to remove the outer-most layer of the epidermis to improve skin tone and texture, reduce fine lines, lighten pigmentation, and decrease scarring. Jessner peels are self-neutralizing and can be left on the skin for up to eight hours. Peels range from superficial to deep, depending on how many layers of acid are applied. They are recommended for those with dark complexions. Click here for an anti-aging Jessner peel kit.
TCA peels: This type of peel uses tricholroacetic acid to renew and plump the skin by stimulating cellular turnover, exfoliating dead skin cells, uniformly distributing melanin, and remodeling the dermis. Peels are considered moderate to medium-deep, and can produce dramatic changes in complexion. TCA peels are a good choice for people with melasma and other pigmentation problems. Concentrations range from 5-30%. Here’s a good 25% TCA peel.
[Read More: The Benefits Of Glycolic Acid For Radiant Skin
6. You Can Save Money By Doing Peels At Home
Peels can safely be done at home as long as you follow the instructions and don’t leave them on too long. As with anything, play smart and you won’t get hurt. Following a peel, you can neutralize the acid with water, or use baking soda to speed up the process.
Here’s a fun fact: the water contained within the dermal layer of the skin will neutralize the acid automatically. Remember, the higher the concentration of the peel, the less time you’ll want to leave it on.
You can get peels done at dermatologist’s office or skincare spas and salons. However, if you choose to do peels from home, you’ll save a significant amount of money. If you’ve ever had skincare procedures done professionally, you know they aren’t cheap.
Since peels need to be done at consistent intervals in order to reap the cumulative benefits, the investment can add up quickly. I buy glycolic acid for under 20 bucks, which will do several peels. You’ll be blown away when you compare that to the cost of a peel done at a dermatologist’s office or spa, which can range in price from $100 for a mild peel up to $3,000 for a deep peel.
7. Glycolic Acid Is One Of The Most Popular Acids
Although all the acids mentioned above can improve your complexion, glycolic acid is my personal favorite. It has a low-molecular weight, meaning it can penetrate the skin more deeply than acids with a higher-molecular weight. If you’re nervous about doing a peel, you can buy glycolic acid cleansers, masks, cleansing wipes, and pads, or serums with low concentrations to get your skin used to it. This will also give you an idea about how your skin is going to react.
Glycolic acid will give you all the benefits above to some degree and doesn’t require a lot of downtime. Peels can therefore be done fairly frequently to keep your complexion radiant and glowing. Glycolic acid is a good choice for those who struggle with acne because it breaks down the sebum and oil that clogs pores and causes acne. Be sure to use a good moisturizer following a chemical peel. This recovery cream is very hydrating.
Chemical peels are one of the best anti-aging tools to have in your skincare arsenal. Because peels exfoliate the epidermal layer of the skin, and stimulate collagen production in the dermis, they’re amazing for improving skin tone and texture, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, and reducing hyperpigmentation, such as sun spots, scars, and melasma. Doing a chemical peel from home is extremely cost-effective, and your radiant complexion will make the time it takes to do a peel completely worth the effort.
What is your experience with chemical peels? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) NCBI: Melanocyte function and its control by melanocortin peptides
(2) ScienceDirect: Keratinocyte – Molecular and Cellular Basis of Hypertrophic Scarring
(3) Medical News Today: Sebaceous hyperplasia: Treatment and home remedies
(4) sharecare: How does a chemical peel work?
(5) healthline: About TCA Chemical Peels
(6) Medical News Today: What is melasma?
(7) NCBI: Skin Resurfacing Chemical Peels
(8) dermcollective: How Much Does A Chemical Peel Cost?