We get a lot of questions about facial peels, everything from “what are they” (a way to remove dead skin cells) to “are they safe to use at home?” (we discuss below). Here we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions on the subject, with answers from our top educators.
Facial peels are a method of exfoliating your skin. Skin exfoliation refers to the process of removing dead skin cells to reveal healthier skin.
While skin exfoliation is a naturally occurring process, shedding every 28 days, most skin types need some help!
Aging skin - With age, this process slows down and causes our skin to look dull and tired looking. Using exfoliants regularly dissolves dead, flaky skin cells, and helps create a more even skin tone and clarity.
Oily skin – This skin type tends to saturate dead skin cells with excessive oil, making it difficult for dead cells to shed off naturally.
Dry skin – This skin type tends to let dead skin cells accumulate too quickly which can make skin look dry and dull.
Facial peels are composed of an acid(s) including ones that may vary in their pH value.(Without getting too scientific, the lower the pH value, the stronger the actual acid is.) Acids are very effective to use to exfoliate the skin, but because of their strength, acid-based peels that contain more than 10% total acid and have a pH below 3.5, should be done under the guidance of an esthetician.
While facial peels are normally based on a particular type of acid, exfoliants that you use at home may contain granular ingredients such as almonds or rice bran wax. Although they are not as strong as acids, granular methods are still excellent ways to exfoliate your skin regularly, and should be used 2-3 times a week or as recommended by your skin care professional if you are receiving professional facial peel treatments.
(Read more about the different types of exfoliation here)
Facial peels are generally categorized into 3 categories:
Below is a downside to deep peels:
In sum, all peels are NOT created equal. Facial peels are a very effective form of removing dead skin cells, but beware of the different level of facial peels and of the associated risks and recovery time. As always, it is best to consult a skin care professional for proper advice on in-salon and at-home options.