I am incredibly passionate about skincare. Just take a peek at the innards of my medicine cabinet…. obsess much?
Around age 21, which marked the ceremonious start of my battle against adult acne, I embraced skincare lotions and potions with open arms. I have always taken great pride in the care/management of my skin. After all, skin is the body’s largest organ. While many facets of skincare float my boat and light my fire, two groups of products in particular have made the biggest impact on the quality of my skin.
You all now that sunscreen is an absolute MUST for me. I have written countless blog posts on the importance of a daily stand-alone SPF product. In my opinion, sunscreen protects against a multitude of skin issues like pre-mature creasing, hyperpigmentation, age spots, and uneven tone
The second most important area of skincare, in my opinion, is chemical exfoliation….i.e. chemical peels, alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic peels, etc.
Earlier this year I wrote about my battle with hyperpigmentation and graphically detailed my process for ridding my skin of dark (nearly black) post acne spots. In the post I discussed the importance of at-home chemical exfoliation. Today I will elaborate on this most important step as well as highlight several products that I have used over the course of the year and ABSOLUTELY LOVE.
I have been d-d-dying to write this post for months and share with you the at-home peels in my life that truly ROCK.com!
If you’re not currently including at-home peels in your skincare regime, sister — you are totally missing out! Peels are incredibly effective at improving texture, increasing luminosity, reducing pore size, correcting uneven tone, and restoring skin’s overall brilliance. Even though I embrace a very complete and through skincare regime overall, I strongly feel that the process of chemical exfoliation is what has made the BIGGEST difference in my skin. Without sounding like a narcissist, because believe me I am not, my skin’s texture is incredibly smooth and brilliant…even when I’m battling a breakout. The pimple is there, don’t get me wrong…but the surrounding skin maintains a certain level of smoothness. And quite honestly, the surrounding “smooth” skin is what keeps me from slitting my wrists when I’m dealing with the routine dastardly cystic zits!
Over the last year I have had the pleasure of trying many at-home peels and I am delighted to share with you my faves! Each product mentioned below is ThisThatBeauty tested. I have used each for at least 4-6 weeks and honestly love them all. I whole-heartedly stand by my recommendations. My rationale behind listing several products is this: I wanted to recommend a variety of products based on various skin types, budget, ease of use, and regional availability (I recently had a Canadian follower email me regarding products that I recommend that are not available in her neck of the woods).
So without further ado, here are my current favorite, most effective at-home chemical peels. I hope that you will find a product that suits your skin type and budget.
For those of you (like me) who deal with the occasional acne bout, I very highly recommend Cane + Austin Acne Treatment Pads with 5% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid. This one-step acne/glycolic acid treatment is derived from pure cane sugar, which acts as an exfoliator to gently resurface skin while salicylic acid treats acne. What I love most about this product (and its sister product, Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Pads with 10% Glycolic Acid) is that the treatment is delivered in a single step. With many glycolic treatments, you are required to rinse or use a neutralizer. With Cane + Austin, you simply apply day and night and follow with a moisturizer. Super simple! A 30-day supply is $60.
ThisThatBeauty Tip: When I used this product for 30 days, I used the acne treatment pads during the day and the glycolic ones for night. Admittedly, I tend to overdue it…and I have a very high tolerance for glycolic products. You might choose to start slow with evenings only.
Talk about an unsung hero…I wish this product received more buzz. I first learned of Actifirm Z Peel a couple of NYFW’s ago and it sat in my beauty closet for months before I decided to give it a whirl. If you’ve got three minutes and ActifirmZPeel, you’re well on your way to brighter and smoother skin. Z Peel is marketed as a “smart” peel that targets specific areas and exfoliates only where you need it. If you’re sensitive to glycolicpeels, you might find this product of interest because it is said to mimic nature’s own exfoliation processes and does not cause excessive redness, scaling or irritation. Instead of glycolic, Actifirm Z Peel uses exfoliating enzyme from Japanese mushroom along with 14 additional botanicals. The formula also includes a soothing cocktail of extracted oils from lavender, coriander and Roman chamomile flowers.
ActifirmZ-Peel is sold in two at-home concentrations – 10% for those with sensitive skin and 15% for folks like me who always want MORE MORE MORE. In fact, I totally wish I lived near a licensed professional who does the professional strength Actifirm Z Peels peels (30-60%). I would absolutely do the occasional in-office peel! $66.30
Naturopathica Glycolic Refining Peel - I cannot say enough wonderful things about this product. In just four minutes a night, this potent exfoliating treatment lives up to its claim. It promotes more youthful and radiant looking skin by increasing cellular renewal. The potent alpha hydroxy treatment is balanced with the inclusion of soothing aloe verato cool and calm the skin. This refining peel contains a concentrated blend of five botanical extracts (bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange, lemon) that contain naturally occurring AHA’s like citric, glycolic, malic and tartaric acids. This one definitely tingles, ladies. The recommend dosage is four minutes per evening. If you’re new to AHA treatments, I highly recommend starting slow with about 1-2 minutes. $68.
For my “go green” girls, try this: jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Peel. I have written about this product before, as part of my Hyperpigmentation Series, but could not resist including it in my “fave peels” roundup (in case ya missed it before). jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Peel is an excellent product for individuals who prefer organic skincare. Click here for my previous review. Since my review back in May, the brand has launched new packaging! $23.95 *Discontinued*
Get the glow you desire with Votre Vu Nouveau Glow. Through a gentle blend of bergamot, healing bilberry, and AHA loaded citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit and orange, the formula resurfaces skin without irritation. What separates this at-home peel from the other recommendations in this rundown is the use of highly emollient ingredients like Vitamin E, papaya extract and sunflower seed oil….making this peel deeply moisturizing and incredibly soothing. While the product is labeled as safe for all skin types, I imagine that more mature skin types will appreciate the hydrating benefits. $45
Continuing with the trend toward sugar cane derived exfoliants, Bambola Glycolic Sugar Cane Exfoliant is effective at accelerating the removal of dead skin, increasing collagen production, and reducing the appearance of slight facial creasing, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. This serum also incorporates a balance of smoothing and soothing ingredients…Apple Acid is used to smooth and firm while cucumber nourishes and clarifies. $48
The name says it all. LIERAC Comfort Peel is a 2-in-1 daily moisturizer and face peel treatment. This ultra gentle formula contains time-released glycolic and salicylic acid which leaves skin deeply exfoliated and perfectly hydrated. The slow release of 1% salicylic and 4% glycolic acid optimizes effectiveness, while living up to the product’s claim of “comfort”. No tingling or burning sensations here! $52
Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel is a sure-fire oldie but goodie, and is widely available online and in-store via Sephora. The two-piece kit contains a 2 oz container of Lactic/Salicylic Activating Gel and a small 2 oz tube of Vitamin C/ Peptide Resurfacing Crystals. I love products that have a “participation” element and Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel satisfies. After applying the Resurfacing crystals to dry skin, the activator gel is applied over the crystals. From there a warming sensation takes over and a foam appears…this tells me that the product is going to work to break down the yucky disgusting layer of dead surface skin…and fresh, rejuvenated skin in en route! $65
I hope you’ve enjoyed my run down of my favorite “peels” of the moment. I tried to cover a range of products at different price points that work well for a variety of skin types – acne prone, oily, mature, dry.
Please comment and share your thoughts. Do you see a product that appeals to you? Have you tried any of my recommendations? Was this post over-kill with 8 recommendations? Do you feel there was something for everyone?
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