A “peel” may sound like a treatment best left to professionals to administer, but don’t be intimidated—at-home peels can work wonders on your skin, and are safe, when used appropriately.
According to Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD, at-home peels can improve skin’s overall tone and glow, and can be great tools in controlling clogged pores and acne. An added bonus: Peels can also improve the appearance of the marks or scars breakouts can leave behind.
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However, as with other skin care treatments or products, frequency of use does not always equal better results. New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, recommends doing an at-home peel once every two weeks (but no more than once a week) to protect your skin from irritation. “Once a week is a great place to start,” agrees Dr. Segal. “The goal is to gently brighten skin without inducing irritation.”
So how do you find the right one for you? For all skin types, Dr. Segal recommends starting with a mild peel. “It’s better to be patient and kind to your skin,” she explains. However, Dr. Russak cautions those with very reactive or sensitive skin to, “stay clear of at-home peels all together before speaking to your dermatologist.” Dr. Segal adds, “Darker skin tones also have a high risk of skin aggravation from peels, so it’s especially important to choose at-home peels carefully.”
Whether your skin regimen already includes at-home peels, or your trying one for the first time, daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher is an absolute must. “Peels increase the sensitivity of skin in general, and especially sensitivity to the sun,” warns Dr. Segal.
Product Pick: philosophy The Microdelivery Overnight Anti-Aging Peel ($82). “This peel has a nice blend of alpha/beta hydroxy acids, yet is gentle on skin. I use it every few weeks and it really works hard overnight. When you cleanse your skin in the morning, it feels smooth, not irritated,” says Dr. Russak.