Everything you need to know about face peels

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It's like the magical treatment that can cure all

The term ‘face peels’ might make you back away slowly, but this treatment can help with a plethora of problems, from pigmentation to scarring, hydration to acne, skin texture to fine lines and wrinkles. Feel like you need one but don’t know where to start? Find out everything you need to know about face peels right here…

What are face peels and how do they work?

All face peels remove a top layer of skin to exfoliate and speed up your cell turnover, but some remove more than others, depending on the type of face peel you decide to try. All face peels involve applying a chemical or natural solution to your face to expedite the exfoliation process.

Types of face peels

Some skin issues need deeper face peels than others, so it’s always important to look at your skin concern and the outcome you’re hoping to achieve.

AHA and BHA face peels

Otherwise known as alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids, these peels include glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, all known to be quite light, so can be performed without needing any downtime. They’re especially good for combatting acne or oily skin issues because they break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, allowing for easier exfoliation. A lot of the modern day ones use fruit enzymes and acids from natural sources such as pumpkins, as well as active ingredients to penetrate and deliver anti-oxidants and vitamins deep into the skin encouraging the new cells to grow stronger and healthier.

You will most likely feel a tingling sensation and your skin may be a bit pink at first, but it will then look instantly brighter and over time will get noticeably smoother.

TCA face peels

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are considered to be more medium depth peels and help to treat pigmentation, sun damage and wrinkles. The downside of these peels is that they feel slightly more uncomfortable than lighter peels, you will have more side effects, such as swelling and redness, and you will need more down time. Your skin will also noticeably peel, so it’s best to do these treatments over a period of time when you can rest for up to a week.

The good news is, because you shed so many layers, the skin underneath that comes through is brand spanking new and looks smoother in texture and more even in tone.

Carbolic acid face peels

Also known as a Phenol peel, this treatment is the strongest of the group and is usually done to help treat scarring, severe sun damage, deep line and wrinkles. You may need to be sedated to have this peel done and can expect to be very red following the procedure with a need for downtime of at least 1 week (your skin will get scabby) and a healing time of at least 2 months. It also has to be used on the full face, because you cannot treat small areas in case of hyper-pigmentation.

These results are dramatic though, and can last up to two years for fine lines and wrinkles.

Should I be using face peels? 

Different skin types require different peels, so it’s always recommended to see a specialist before embarking on a professional peel. Everyone can benefit from a peel, whether you want glowing skin or smoother texture and if you suffer from particular skincare issues like acne, a peel can work wonders for you.

Find the best face mask for your skin type over at our sister site, Powder.

What to do after a face peel

Always follow the care directions and recommendations from your specialist and never apply ingredients that can irritate your skin post-peel, such as retinol. Hyaluronic acid will help rehydrate your skin post-peel, so invest in a good moisturiser containing HA.

It’s important not to clog your pores post-peel, so try to use mineral foundation and natural make-up products, like bareMinerals, Dr Hauschka, Inika and Jane Iredale.

Always make sure your applicators are bacteria free too. New skin is more prone to infection, so it’s essential that you’re not putting anything that’s dirty in contact with your skin.

Other than that, just sit back and admire your new, fresh-faced look.

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