If you have ever looked in the mirror and wished you could improve the look of your skin without spending a ton of money, consider adding an at-home chemical peel to your beauty regimen. “Chemical peels are great for evening out skin tone and smoothing the skin’s texture,” explains Ellen Lange, founder of Ellen Lange Skin Care.
What is a Chemical Peel?
A peel consists of applying a chemical solution (usually on the face) that removes the top layer of the skin. The active ingredients in chemical peel formulas usually contain a combination of alpha or beta hydroxy acids, like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acids. Lange explains, “A chemical peel is a rapid, deep exfoliation. Approximately every 28 days, people shed the top layer of their skin. A peel speeds up that turn-over process and also does it more evenly than your skin would naturally.”
A peel is not the same as a facial mask. Lange explains, “Peels remove the outermost layer of skin and dirt to reveal brighter skin. Masks add moisture and absorb oils.”
In addition to evening out skin tone and smoothing skin’s texture, peels also reduce pore size, soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lessen the appearance of dark spots, and improve pigmentation.
Chemical peels are ideal for people of all ages. Lange says, “Many teens use peels as a treatment for acne.” For mature skin, peels are great because as we age, the top layer of skin tends to shed slower, as does the cell rejuvenation process. “An at-home peel speeds up this process, bringing the new skin to the surface quicker and creating a luminous glow,” says Lange. “Even women who have other cosmetic procedures done such as surgical lift, fillers or injectables, can also see benefits from doing an at-home peel,” says Lange.
At Home Vs. Professional Peels
There are differences between an at-home chemical peel versus one done at a salon, medi-spa, or dermatologist’s office.
The most significant difference is the strength of the chemicals used. At-home peels have a much lower concentration of acids, so the results are less dramatic. Lange says, “Since most professional peels are pretty strong, it’s best not to do them more than once a month. The chemicals can also cause hyperpigmentation in people with darker skin tones. These risks should be discussed with the practitioner.”
While light or superficial peels can be done at an esthetician’s office or at home, a professional must administer medium or deep chemical peels. There may be some downtime (a few days to a few weeks) for the recipient as the skin heels since there is a potential for burning and irritation. It is necessary to go to a trusted provider who is skilled and trained.
In contrast, at-home peels are milder and safer (assuming the directions are followed). The results of an at-home peel should be immediately visible (although, again, not be as dramatic as a medium or deep professional peel). A patch test is recommended before applying to the entire face, especially for people with sensitive skin.
At-home peels are convenient, and there is no need to make an appointment or drive to the esthetician. All you need is a few spare minutes at home.
Another difference is the cost. An individual at-home peel price is typically around 10 dollars each, while professional peels will cost several times that amount.
When to Do a Peel
Since at-home peels are milder, they can be done more often than a professional chemical peel. Lange recommends weekly or every other week for optimal results. After cleansing the face, pat it dry, and then apply the formula. It usually sits on the face for about 10 minutes before removing it.
At-home peels are ideal when a person wants their skin to look its best.
Lange says, “In the past few years, women have moved to a more casual lifestyle. We may not be wearing as much makeup, but we still want to look fresh and bright when we are heading to the gym, the grocery store, or meeting a friend for coffee.”
In addition to making a person more confident in their makeup-free appearance, a peel can also aid in helping the skin to be a better canvas for when a person does wear makeup. Lange explains, “In general, we don’t want to wear as much makeup as we get older. It can look cakey, especially if it gets caught in the crevices of your skin. But a peel can improve the skin’s texture, so foundation goes on smoother and blends better.”
At-home peels are also great as preparation before a special event such as a wedding or class reunion. “Do an at-home peel a few weeks prior, not the night before a big event,” cautions Lange.
Chemical peels are safe on all skin types and skin tones. Lange says, “An at-home chemical peel is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to improve the look of your skin at any age and give your face a healthy glow.”
At-Home Chemical Peels