Which Peel is best for me? We provide an admittedly bewildering range of chemical peels and we are aware, from the number of e-mails we receive from customers, that many are unsure about which peel to choose. So here we have a, hopefully, simple guide to choosing the right peel product.
Generally speaking, home peels fall into two categories. Alpha Hydroxy Peels and Beta Hydroxy Peels. Acids from the AHA family exhibit very similar properties and will provide very similar outcomes. As far as BHAs are concerned there is only one that is available for use as a home chemical peel – Salicylic Acid,
Glycolic Acid is the best known Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). AHAs tend to be water based and BHAs alcohol based. However some AHAs are both water and alcohol soluble and may be combined with a BHA to create a bi-phasic peel which, in essence, provides the benefits of both types of peel.
As a rule of thumb peel selection is best made based on the individuals skin type, though specific skin issues will also influence the choice
Alpha Hydroxy Peels Glycolic Acid – for Normal skin
Lactic Acid – for Sensitive skin
Mandelic Acid for Sun Damaged or Blemished Skin
Combination Peels: As combination peels usually involve combining salicylic acid with an alcohol soluble AHA then it is evident that these peels are generally combined for use on oily/combination skin types. The inclusion of particular AHAs are in order to provide remedies for other additional skin issues.
Salicylic Lactic Peel – for oily or acne prone skin that tends to be sensitive or easily irritated.
Salicylic Mandelic Peel – for acne prone skin with blemishes or hyper-pigmentation.
Once the type of peel has been selected then the strength of peel is the next consideration.
AHA peels and BHA peels (including combination peels) are not rated in the same way. Alcohol based peels are roughly twice as ‘strong’ as water based peels. So a 40% Glycolic peel equates approximately to a 20% Salicylic peel.
It is important to be aware of this when selecting your peel.
For first time users we recommend a 20% or 30% AHA (Glycolic or Lactic) peel, or a 10% Salicylic or Salicylic combination peel. If you find your skin tolerates the peel well (and it is unusual for the skin not to tolerate milder peels) then it is recommended to select the next strength up should you wish to carry out a further series of peels. So from 20% / 30% AHA peel to a 40% AHA peel. And from 10% Salicylic or Salicylic combination peel to a 15% or a 20% peel.
Typical Skin Issues and recommended peels Combination Skin or Oily T-zone - 5% daily or 10% Salicylic Acid once or twice weekly
Keratosis Pilaris (bumps under the surface of the skin on the body) 10% salicylic applied to the affected areas with exfoliating pads twice weekly.
Skin with blemishes or hyper-pigmentation – 15% Salicylic Mandelic for oily skin 15% Mandelic Malic for normal to dry skin. Applied once weekly
Dull Complexion with no other significant issues – 5% Mandelic Toner or 5% Glycolic/ Lactic Toner Daily
Dull Complexion with minor hyper-pigmentation – 5% Mandelic Toner Daily or 10% Mandelic Malic Peel twice weekly
Milia (hard white bumps under the surface of the skin) – 10% salicylic on complexion. 5% if on the lower eyelids.
Skin Resurfacing (to mitigate shallow acne scars). Choice dependant on skin type- (see above) but use a stronger peel. At least 30% Glycolic or Lactic, 20% Salicylic or Salicylic combination peel.
Skin Resurfacing (for more pronounced acne scarring) 40% or 50% Glycolic, 30% Salicylic/ Lactic Combination peel. But only if user has prior experience of using peels.
Collagen boosting / wrinkle reduction.
All peels, and all strengths will stimulate skin cell regeneration and increase collagen manufacture. However, in order to derive the best possible outcome we advocate the use of collagen boosting creams. We have creams that boosts collagen via the action of Peptides (Matrixyl etc) and creams that boost collagen by providing the skin with the essential nutrients (primarily amino acids) it needs to make collagen. Look for Forever Young Matriderm, Super Peptide, and Aminoderm moisturisers.
What to expect: Home peels (essentially our entire range) is considered safe for home use because they are significantly gentler than surgical peels. Whereas a surgical peel needs to be performed just once to produce dramatic results (and involving two weeks downtime while the skin recovers), home peels require several applications – ideally 6 to 10 peels - to yield significant results. The skin will respond to the initial peels and will improve the softness and smoothness of the complexion, but more significant improvements will require several applications.
Due to the ‘gentleness’ of the home peel there is little downtime. Indeed, within a few hours of application, the skin will have settled down and any redness dissipated. There will be little obvious evidence to others that you are undergoing a series of peels. The skin does not actually peel – home peels exfoliate the very thin surface layer of skin, and so at most you will see flaking of the skin rather akin to the kin of flaking you might experience if you have ever suffered mild sun-burn.
We receive countless e-mails from people who write to say that they have made the first application of their peel and can not see any difference! A single application of a home peel can not improve your complexion overnight – it must be given time. You will see improvements but be patient!