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What tops your wish list of #skingoals? We’re pretty sure that brighter, softer, smoother, more even toned, and younger are right up there. Free of acne lesions most likely also ranks high, and let’s not forget the perennial favorite, fewer fine lines and wrinkles. One of the primary ways to get there is via peels.
By sloughing off dull, dead, dry surface skin cells, tried and true acid peels can work wonders for all skin types. Exfoliation happens primarily on the outer layer of your skin, the stratum corneum. Exfoliation, either mechanical or chemical, accelerates the shedding process to reveal healthy, fresh skin cells. Chemical exfoliation is all about fruity enzymes like papaya, pumpkin and pineapple to name a few, or acids like glycolic acid, derived from cane sugar and lactic acid which comes from milk. Mechanical exfoliation use beads, brushes and blades (as in dermaplaning) to slough dead skin cells.
The general rule is that the more damage your skin has to undo, the more peels you will need to see dramatic improvements, and usually, a series is recommended for all but the deepest clinical peels performed in a doctor’s office. The major difference between the peel pads and solutions you can get at your local Ulta or CVS vs. those offered by medical aestheticians and doctors is the strength of the acid formulas used and the type of solutions.
Master skin expert and educator Ellie Malmin of Anushka Spa, Salon, Cosmedical Centre in West Palm Beach, FL, explains, “For a stronger peel, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic, lactic and citric are very effective exfoliants. Lactic acid is great for more sensitive skin. Glycolic acid is the smallest molecule of the acids, so it penetrates deeply to treat fine lines, dullness and mild discoloration. BHAs or salicylic acid help to clean out pores, so these are ideal for active and acne-prone skin.” She recommends the I/S Clinical Fire and Ice Facial Treatment. “This intensive clinical treatment rapidly resurfaces the skin, diminishing fine lines and encouraging skin rejuvenation for dramatically refined results on all skin types.”
On the home care front, if you’re a newbie to exfoliation, start with fruity enzymes that are gentler and easier to tolerate. If you’re hooked on scrubs, choose a formula that is more robust. Be careful to avoid grainy formulas that may contain particles of fruit pits and nut shells. These can be very abrasive and irritating, especially for thin or sensitive skin types. For delicate skin prone to rosacea, flushing or flaking, mechanical exfoliation methods may be recommended.
Replenix MD Perfect 10 Peel is a good choice for an in-office peel treatment that suits all or most skin types. It is considered to be a step up from the most common glycolic and salicylic acid peels and is formulated for sensitive to normal skin types with fair to medium skin tones. The results are an improvement in dull and uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, dark discoloration, and enlarged pores.
According to Dr. Tracy Pfeifer, New York City board certified plastic surgeon, “To maintain the results of in-office laser and peel treatments, home peels are an ideal solution. For example, ZO Skin Health Exfoliant Accelerator features glycolic and lactic acid to speed up the removal of dead skin cells and can keep the skin in good shape in between professional treatments.”
Don’t overdo it. If you’re using stronger home peeling products, once a week may be enough for most skin types. If your skin tingles or burns or turns red, you may have overdone it or left it on for too long. Make sure to wipe off all the peeling solution as directed. So, for example, if there is a Step 1 and Step 2, don’t save the Step 2 packet for a later date. They are intended to be used together for optimum results and to minimize potential irritation.
Dead cells accumulate 24/7, 365 days per year, so exfoliate year round, even during the sticky summer months. Use your SFP30+ year round too to maintain the results and protect newly peeled skin from getting damaged.
NOTE: The ZO Skin Health product was provided for review. Opinions are my own.