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Everything You Need to Know About Facial Peels

Complexion goals; we all have them. For some, it might be smooth, plump, wrinkle-free skin that makes them look 15 years younger. For others, radiant and even tone is the epitome of complexion perfection but if you want to reach your complexion goals quicker, there are treatments that can help this process along. Here is everything you need to know about having a facial peel before booking an appointment.  

What Are They?

In basic terms, a face peel is an intensive exfoliating treatment designed to remove the top few layers of the epidermis and to stimulate better cell renewal, in order to address a multitude of skin sins. Using acids and enzymes, face peels are administered via an aesthetic nurse in-clinic or at a dermatologist’s office to ensure the end result is effective and, above all, safe.

Who Are They For?

Anyone struggling with a stubborn skin condition and anyone whose skin can stand the peel process, because not all skin types respond positively. When you find the right peel for you, a course of treatments can significantly correct everything from uneven tone and texture to dullness and acne. If you have rosacea, eczema or thin skin due to an illness, then avoid peels at all costs as they will likely do more harm than good.

Do They Hurt?

That depends on the type of peel you go for. Generally, lower concentrations of AHAs and BHAs will be easier for your skin to tolerate but that doesn’t mean your skin won’t experience some redness and tingling during the treatment. If you go for a TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) peel, the process could be more uncomfortable as this peel penetrates deeper into the skin and can cause redness, swelling and painful stinging. Your skin will also become dry and flaky after such an intensive treatment, while lighter peels such as the Lactic Acid-based Milk Peel don’t cause noticeable skin shedding.

Whatever kind of peel you opt for, be prepared for some tenderness and sensitivity in the days following the treatment. Make sure you avoid heavy make-up and products that contain exfoliating ingredients like Retinol for at least a week. Applying plenty of sunscreen is also a good idea as the new layer of skin your peel has revealed will be more susceptible to UV damage.

Is There Any Downtime?

Again, the length of any post-peel downtime varies. Having a gentle, low concentration peel requires mere hours for the skin to normalise while stronger Glycolic peels can take a couple of days until the skin starts to look and feel better. For deeper peels, recovery takes longer. You might not experience major dryness until four days after your peel and redness could take two or three days to subside completely.

How Long Do The Results Last?

If you only have minor skin issues, like congested pores or lacklustre tone, you will notice results within days and the effects could last a month or two if you are lucky. For concerns like deep wrinkles or sun damage, one peel won’t give you the kind of dramatic results you might be expecting. Most experts recommend a course of peels to sufficiently address uneven tone and texture issues; usually around three to six peels over the course of a year, with at least two weeks recovery time in between. This should result in long-lasting improvement that could knock decades off your complexion.

Are There Any At-Home Alternatives?

While you won’t find an exfoliant as intensive as a peel in a standard home use product, there are some very effective peeling products that can smooth and perfect skin on a more regular basis. The Teoxane Radiant Night Peel 15% combines Glycolic and Lactic Acids to resurface the skin over a period of days, kick-starting cell renewal while you sleep. Although it is definitely not an entry-level product, it could provide the perfect step between regular exfoliation and an in-clinic peel.

A milder alternative is the Murad Environmental Shield Intensive-C Radiance Peel which has a light cream texture and suitably refreshes and brightens dull skin in a matter of minutes. This is ideal for anyone new to exfoliants as the length of time it is left on the skin can be varied to suit your skin’s needs.

Finally, if you can commit to prolonged usage, the Lumixyl GlycoPeel 10 Rapid Exfoliating Lotion is perfect for mature skin dealing with minor sun damage. Applied daily, this solution contains a blend of AHAs to stimulate cell turnover within the top few layers, essentially encouraging the skin to revitalise itself.

Image from iStockphoto

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