How to use skin peels safely
At-home acid treatments are having a bit of a moment but before you indulge, it's important you know a bit more about what to expect. Exfoliating toners have made many people familiar with acids in the form of AHAs and BHAs, the former best for drier skins and latter for those with oiliness and spots, but what's normal when you use them? Should you end up with a face as red raw as Samantha Jones in that infamous Sex and the City episode? Or will you struggle to see anything different after the first use?
According to Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun, if you have dryness, red patches or peeling, you're doing something wrong.
"If my exfoliant makes your skin flake then it’s not an exfoliant, it’s irritating your skin and that product isn’t for you,” she explained to Cover Media. “You should not see your skin coming off. I’m sitting here exfoliating, my skin cells are shedding - you don’t see it. It should be imperceptible and that’s how AHAs and BHAs, when they are well formulated and appropriate for your skin type, should work. It’s important to keep in mind that if (the product) is causing your skin to flake then it’s either too strong or the other products you’re using with it are too irritating and it can’t compete… That flaking is not a good response, for any skincare product.”
This range of exfoliators should also make an instant difference to your skin, sloughing off dead cells and leaving it looking more radiant and feeling smoother. So if that isn't the case, it's likely that the one you've chosen isn't your ideal formula either.
“You know when you get a pedicure?" she queried. "One of the best parts is when they scrub off the calluses... and then you put a moisturiser on and all of a sudden that cruddy, ugly looking heel is like baby smooth because those built up dead skin cells have been removed... that same concept of getting... unwanted, unhealthy, sun-damaged layers of skin cells off the face makes the same instantaneous benefit."
Here are some of the newest products on the market to get your started - just remember you need to wear SPF if you use an at-home peel, as you skin will be more susceptible to sun damage.
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Liquid Facial Resurfacer
This targets signs of ageing, as well as sun damage and problem skin, helping cells turnover quicker and tightening and unclogging pores. It also smoothes skin, so any fine lines won't be as apparent.
Philosophy microdelivery overnight anti-ageing peel
This is a two-step process which includes a peel to help with things like wrinkles and loss of firmness, then an overnight mask to ensure there isn't any irritation.
Éminence Organic Skincare VitaSkin Exfoliating Peels
What makes these interesting is that there are four options, each developed for different skin concerns. There is one for firming, another to target dullness, a calming version and one for blemish-prone skin.
Filorga Perfect + Skin Serum
A new kind of product, this is a serum which also works to improve skin's texture and tone. Fruit acids are used to help with lines and bumps, while other ingredients will boost radiance and help neutralise shine. It's aimed at those who are over 35 and want to give their skin a boost without risking irritation.