At-home peels can make your skin really glow—after all, you’re peeling away the dead surface cells that caused your complexion to look lackluster in the first place. Although the results can be incredibly satisfying, there are a few critical things you should know before trying one yourself. Here, two top dermatologists weigh in.
Stick to Low Levels
New Orleans dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD, says to stick to low level peels with buffered solutions. “Follow the directions and make sure the product is neutralized 100 percent to avoid ‘hot spots’ that can cause discoloration or even scarring.”
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Do a Spot Test
“Test a spot in front of your ear before doing your entire face,” says Dr. Lupo, who adds that you shouldn’t do a peel if you have herpes simplex or any active skin infection, as well as open sores from picking at acne breakouts.
Coral Gables, FL, dermatologist Janice Lima Maribona, MD tells her clients who plan to do an at-home peel for the first time to leave the peel on for less time than what is recommended on the label. “Once you see how your skin reacts, you can increase the time to what the label suggests.”
Know the Side Effects
Redness, itchiness, swelling and mild flaking are normal skin reactions when doing a peel, and Dr. Maribona says over-the-counter products such as hydrocortisone and Avene Cicalfate ($28), can help. But, if the redness lasts for more than a week, Dr. Lupo suggests seeing a dermatologist immediately. “Persistent redness is the precursor to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH),” she says. “Dermatologists can prescribe remedies to reduce the inflammation and ward off any lingering problems.” Other things that are good to know: Stay out of the sun after doing a peel and never pick or pull off the peeling skin.
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