October may mark pumpkin spice latte season for most Americans, but in the beauty world, it marks peel season—the time of year when seemingly complexion-blessed women book a series of acid peels to help rejuvenate skin after months of sun exposure. Peels have long been on the menu of things celebs and estheticians swear by but keep the uninitiated perplexed: Don’t these treatments leave faces inflamed and flakey, like Samantha in “Sex in the City“? And with other options, like lasers and facials geared toward giving skin glow, why are these long-performed treatments still considered a go-to, particularly in the fall?
Peels can be used to exfoliate dead cells from the skin’s surface, boost collagen production, tackle acne and break down hyper pigmentation. All of this is fine and good, but considering that lasers and other technologically advanced skin care treatments do the same things, do we really want to throw acid on our face? After we break down the cost (peels are between 5 to 20 times less expensive than laser treatments), time commitment (some peels can be done with no downtime and in just 15 minutes), clinical research (decades worth demonstrates their ability to rejuvenate skin in the aforementioned ways, making it a tried-and-true treatment), you’ll be sold.
Women in their 20s and 30s should use peels as a preventative aging tool. By boosting collagen production early on, you’re more likely to see better results with the treatments your esthetician may perform for you in the future. It’s your skin’s insurance policy for when it breaks down the road.
Oily, and slightly sun damaged skin requires a glycolic peel, which is safe for all skin types (save for super sensitive) will help with hyper pigmentation, exfoliation and collagen production. Other peels include lactic formulations, which typically use a lighter agent and doesn’t capture as many of the pigment changes as a glycolic might; Jessners, a higher-grade peel that can be used to loosen and reduce acne, but must be carefully administered for those of Asian or African descent because it can cause the skin to hyper pigment easily. While some peels can result in peeling over a few weeks time, the glycolic peel requires no downtime.
Follow up with another peel in two, four and six weeks, as with each subsequent appointment, the solution is able to penetrate deeper into the skin, helping further break up pigment with every layer it reaches.
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