You’re on the road, in a gorgeous location and you wander into the beautiful spa there and decide to get a facial. Your esthetician recommends that you do a peel while you’re there, will you know if it’s the right one for you? Keep reading and you definitely will!
How Do Acid Peels Work?
Most acid peels work by gently breaking the bond down between skin cells allowing the skin to slough off naturally (most of the time you don’t even notice the sloughing). In my practice, I have over a dozen options for peels but only 2 of them actually make the face peel. Most of the time with peels you see rapid skin improvement with little to no downtime.
Glycolic acids have been around forever, I’m sure many of you are using or have used Glycolic skin care to keep your face in order, but do you know how it works? High quality Glycolics are the smallest α-hydroxy acid (AHA), they are colorless, odorless and derived from sugar cane. Low quality Glycolics are made by a catalyzed reaction of formaldehyde with synthesis gas. Due to the use of formaldehyde to produce these products, I highly recommend you choose and purchase better quality Glycolics.
In my professional opinion Glycolic acids work fantastically on almost anyone. They help with excess oil and breakouts, they quickly add the glow back into the skin and improve tightness and brightness as well. Regular use of Glycolics at home can keep your blackheads reduced and your skin tight.
Lactic acid is also an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), its’ molecule is slightly larger in size than a Glycolic. It is derived naturally from milk, fruit and vegetables. Its’ main source is milk so if you are lactose intolerant, this is an acid you should maybe avoid.
Lactic acid is my favorite dry skin or winter acids. It does a beautiful job of exfoliating gently (for sensitive skins, this is your best peel option) and also works as a natural humectant. Humectants helps retain and reduce the loss of moisture in the skin, so if you’re constantly dry faced, this is the peel for you! They also make great lotions for the body with lactic acid in them for those constantly suffering in the winter with dry body skin.
Salicylic is a beta hydroxy acid derived from aspirin (so yes, avoid this if you have an aspirin allergy.) Because of the aspirin base in Salicylic, it not only gives you the benefit of great exfoliation but it also reduces inflammation in the skin.
It is by far the best peel for acne issues. Blackheads, whiteheads and everything in between reduce significantly with the use of a 20% or higher Salicylic acid peel. There are also fantastic home care products with Salicylic in them too, look for a product with at least 2% Salicylic for home use. Because of its’ anti-inflammatory benefits it will also reduce redness and irritation with moderate use.
Phytic acid is a hexaphosphoric acid ester of inositol, also known as phytate, and a natural plant antioxidant found primarily in bran, cereal seeds, and fruit seeds. Phytic acid is primarily used as a skin lightning agent and works by blocking the entrance of iron and copper in the formation of melanin.
You’ll find Phytic acid in blended acid peels and many skin lightning products over the counter. It’s effective for mild age spots and pigment but doesn’t necessarily provide a dramatic result. I do find it useful for general skin brightening and pigment prevention.
Jessner’s or Blended Acid Peels
A Jessner’s Peel is a medium depth peel designed to fix more extensive damage than AHA’s peels alone can help. Generally it is made from salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol (a man made chemical that works by breaking down rough, scaly, or hardened skin.) The beauty of blended acid peels are their ability to attack multiple skin issues with a single peel. So if for example your skin is dry but also broken out and you’d like some tightening benefits as well, this would be a great peel for you! There are tons of peels that fall into this category and the results from them tend to be very rewarding.
TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid Peel)
TCA is an amazing and powerful acid used by itself or blended that will produce the biggest results. It is a peel that you will definitely have peeling after its application but it will be worth it! It produces fantastic pigment removal even for folks with melasma, amazing skin tightening and powerful acne destruction. There are many options in TCA from 20% TCA that will make you look like a burn victim and peel for more than a week to light, blended TCA with 3 days of peeling and still amazing results.
There is some TCA skin care starting to be out on the market, it’s great if you have thick, tough skin but sensitive skin types should stay away from daily use of this product.
These are the major peel products used today, you can try any or all of them in my office by calling 314-692-0221. I use them by themselves or mixed with other services to provide you the best possible results!