Pick The Chemical Peel That's Right For You

If you're considering a chemical peel to enhance and brighten your skin, but want to start simple, consider a light peel. "These peels increase cell turnover and need to be done monthly because the results are cumulative," says Boca Raton, FL, aesthetician Cheryl Staurowsky. So which single-acid chemical peel is right for you? Here is a breakdown of the three popular options:


Glycolic Acid
Best For: Fine lines and wrinkles, minor sun damage, discoloration (brown and red spots), acneic and oily skin
How it works: One of the more frequently used peeling agents, this mild sugar-derived acid, which is said to provide collagen synthesizing benefits, lifts dead skin cells to break the bonds that keep them glued to the skin. Charlotte, NC, dermatologist Gilly Munavalli, MD, explains that 70 percent glycolic acid is small enough to really get into the pores to help improve the skin's surface. "This is my all-time favorite peeling agent to use because it does such a good job retexturing the skin," says New York dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD.

Salicylic Acid
Best for: Oily skin, comedonal acne, blackheads, melasma and enlarged pores
How it works: This betahydroxy acid improves the skin by breaking through oil-packed follicles to purge the pore of whatever is trapped inside. That's why it's not rare to notice a few blemishes in the days following your peel. Salicylic acid is great at treating malasma since it eliminates the upper most layer of dead skin cells where discoloration can live. While it can be drying, it is good for those with sensitive skin because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Lactic Acid
Best for: hydrating and an anti-aging effect
How it works: Classified as a more gentle peel, lactic acid is heralded for its ability to soften, nourish and moisturize the skin. "The nice thing about lactic acid is that we can mix-and-match it with other AHAs to create a customized solution," says celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy.

For more information on chemical peels, check out the Spring-Summer 2012 issue of NewBeauty magazine, on newsstands now.

Related:
How to Prep for Your Next Chemical Peel
Demystifying Chemical Peels

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