Facial peels are a versatile way to treat a variety of skin concerns, from hyperpigmentation to treating acne to helping banish fine lines and wrinkles. They do have a bit of a reputation for being intense and leaving your face red and sensitive, so many people initially shy away from the idea of a peel as means of exfoliation. But fear not! Many peels used today are gentle and require zero downtime after they are used. I spoke with Allyu Spa’s lead esthetician Elizabeth to find out more about how peels are typically used, what options are out there, and how they can be used professionally as well as at home for amazing results.
There are many different professional peels used to treat many different skin concerns– one peel does not fit all, necessarily. According to Elizabeth, if you have acneic skin or are experiencing a breakout, salicylic acid peels are a great option for killing the bacteria and treating the discoloration that comes with breakouts. Many people are familiar with salicylic acid by name since it is a common ingredient and spot treatment products for acne prone skin. When used in a professional facial, the salicylic acid is in a higher concentration that is kept on the skin for a shorter amount of time than an overnight acne spot treatment even more effective. Another reason professional peels may be used is for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Another one of the professional peels used at Allyu is the Epicuren Bi-Peel. It contains Betaine Salicylate, which is excellent for this purpose because it also increases hydration and elasticity, which make the skin appear more youthful. It also contains lactic acid, a powerhouse ingredient that dissolves cellular bonds and aids in exfoliating dead skin cells, and Trehalose. Trehalose is derived from desert plants, and protects skin cells from dehydration. It actually increases the skin’s moisture levels over time. Similarly, the Epicuren Sensa-Peel is fabulous for anti-aging purposes as well as addressing hyperpigmentation. It contains natural, plant based ingredients like Sea Whip extract and mushroom extract to reduce inflammation, so it is suitable for more sensitive skin types. It is best to consult with your esthetician about what will be right for your skin– they are the experts, after all– but being an informed consumer is always helpful in terms of knowing what is going on your face and affecting your skin for the better. Since these peels have ingredients to not only exfoliate cells but to also nourish newer cells, they leave your skin looking smooth and glowing.
These professional treatments are highly effective, and luckily there are many options to take them home with you– just in gentler formulas that you don’t need a license to use. Glycolic acid does an amazing job of keeping the pores clear and increasing cell turnover. It is also a very versatile ingredient: since it comes in a solution, it can be mixed in with other exfoliants to make them more effective. Used on it’s own, you can use a cotton ball to apply the solution all over your face or in targeted areas for a gentle yet effective peel. You only need to use it a couple of times a week, too– Elizabeth recommends using the 5% solution three to four times a week, and the 10% solution 2-3 times a week so you don’t accidentally overdo it. Glycolic acid will smooth the skin and even out the texture caused by clogged pores, and it won’t strip the skin or cause dryness when a moisturizer is layered over it.
There are also at home peels that are made of enzymes, not acids. Specifically, they are made from natural fruit enzymes. According to Elizabeth, enzymes exfoliate by “munching around” the dead skin cells to loosen and remove them, while leaving the new skin cells alone, so they are very gentle and suitable for all skin types. One option for an at-home face peel would be a pumpkin enzyme peel like the Pumpkin Apple Spice peel by Epicuren. Our estheticians recommend using them in the shower when the pores are open and the skin is softened to make it even more effective. Because it is so gentle, it can be used several times a week without irritating the skin, and is suitable for all skin types.
We have come a long way from the intense chemical peels most people are familiar with that required downtime and left the skin red & irritated. With so many options for professional and at-home facial peels that yield quick and noticeable results, there is bound to be an option for you. Next time you visit Allyu Spa, ask your esthetician for a recommendation if you are looking for an easy, effective way to achieve a smoother, more radiant complexion.