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You probably know by now that your “Resistant” skin is characterized by a strong skin barrier that can prevent skin-improving ingredients from penetrating. But fret not, because chemical peels can be the key to getting your skin in tip-top shape, but it’s important to be educated about the various options.
Available at your dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office, at the spa or salon, or even in your own home, chemical peels help remove the uppermost layers of dead skin cells that prevent active ingredients from getting into your skin—where they need to be in order to work. As an added bonus, peels can be customized to improve acne, discoloration and clogged pores.
The main difference between the peels you get in a medical setting, spa setting, or comfort of your own home, is the concentration of the acid. At the doctor’s office, you can get the deepest peels, which are also performed with the least frequency. This means you can get visible results with as little as one treatment, but a week or so of downtime can be the main trade-off. Options include TCA peels along with high-concentration alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy peels that utilize glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid.
At the spa or salon, you can often choose from antioxidant, skin lightening, anti-inflammatory or oil-decreasing peels and masks. These less intense peels are usually performed in a series for optimal results.
At home (and between deeper peels), my favorite is Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel—and they now have one with self-tanner built right in. I’m also a fan of Neutrogena Ageless Restoratives 5-Minute Facial, which helps refine the skin’s texture and tone gently over time.
Outside of a medical setting, those with darker skin should stick with superficial peels, which carry the lowest risk of pigment changes. These are great skin-refreshers for any skin tone, and at-home peel products fall into this category. Don’t expect any dramatic results, but at the very least your skin will feel soft, smooth and have a rosy glow.
If you are going to go the peel route, keep in mind that if you’re using other exfoliating things like glycolic acid cleansers, retinoids or even a skincare brush like the Clarisonic can lead to too much exfoliation and irritation. The first time you use one of these peels you should avoid other exfoliating agents for seven days prior to and seven days after the peel to see how your skin responds.
Regardless of the peel you choose, they can be an indispensible part of your “Resistant” skin’s routine. By removing the barrier that’s preventing active ingredients from penetrating, you can take your skin’s health and appearance to a whole new level.