Tags Posts tagged with "glycolic"


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.

1) Sunscreen

2) Peels

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?

Cat got your tongue??? Share!!!


To say that I am obsessed with achieving and maintaining great skin is an understatement! My quest for holy grail skincare products and non invasive procedures (i.e.peels, microdermabrasion, etc) know no limit. I regularly check in with my dermatologist and see my esthetician once a month for more intensive maintenance.

As you can see, I am rather serious about my skin care regime! Having said that, I am as pleased as punch to share my skin care chit-chat with trusted skin care expert and celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau. Renée has been helping men, women and teens attain healthy, glowing skin for more than 20 years. Her skin care product line addresses nine distinct skin types, with more than 70 award-winning products that blend the best of science and nature.

I have used Renée Rouleau‘s products for over a year and love the results! I am delighted to share my interview with Renée Rouleau!

ThisThatBeauty: Renée, I have been a fan of your products for a little over a year. Your line is extremely effective and made from high quality ingredients. In order to maintain great skin, is it enough to use “good products”? What additional steps do you recommend for maintaining great skin?

Renée Rouleau: It’s a fact that a good skin care routine is essential in keeping your skin healthy and beautiful-looking, but when skin care products at home don’t seem to be giving you the result you desire, seek the help of a professional to boost the results.

I’m a huge believer in not only using good-quality products recommended for your skin type, but you must make sure you are using them correctly.

-Always leave your alcohol-free toner damp on the skin before applying a serum or moisturizer. It seals in the hydrating properties of your toner and gives your skin a drink of hydration.

-When applying sunscreen, you must apply it generously both to the face and neck every day. To get the best protection, it’s not about the SPF number at all. It’s about how generously you apply it and how often you re-apply when you’re in direct contact with the sun. A moisturizer with a sunscreen built right in is the #1 best anti-aging product in the world!

-When using a facial scrub, don’t apply a lot of pressure as you don’t want to cause irritation. Lightly massage in circular motions for 60 seconds and avoid using scrubs with natural grains (apricots, walnut husks or shells) as it can scratch the skin and spread bacteria.

-After cleansing, immediately apply your toner or moisturizer. If you wait more than sixty seconds, the water will start to evaporate out of the skin leaving it dehydrated. So do your routine quickly!

ThisThatBeauty: Wow, those are great tips! My next question is about adult acne. So many women face adult acne around age 30. What causes this and what kind of skin care regime best suits the 30 year old who’s dealing with persistent adult acne?

Renée Rouleau: In your 30’s, it’s a time of babies, stress and hormonal swings that can wreak havoc on the skin. Growth hormones start to slow down, so the skin won’t repair itself as it did in your 20’s. Breakouts can still occur, especially in the form of cystic acne; those hard, sore underground blemishes that linger for weeks. The signs of aging (lines around the eyes and skin discoloration) are more prominent, so it’s definitely a time to get serious about caring for your skin!

For treating adult acne, it’s so important to not treat your skin like a teenager by using harsh, acne products. They will not work and they certainly will compromise any anti-aging benefits that your skin desperately needs.  In your 30’s, the skin needs balance!

To control clogged pores and acne breakouts in your 30’s, the following is needed:

Exfoliation using gentle facial scrubs, skin peels and acid or enzyme-based exfoliators will keep off dry skin cells to reduce clogged pores resulting in less breakout activity. Exfoliators are extremely effective in reducing acne blemishes and fading post-breakout scars. (Like Renée Rouleau Glycolic Serum 17% or Mint Buffing Beads)

-Destroy acne-causing bacteria by using anti-bacterial products to reduce the chance of blemishes and clogged pores. (Like Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel or Tea Tree Anti-Blemish Lotion)

Hydration with water-based (not oil-based) lotions and alcohol-free toner to keep your skin cells healthy and to prevent them from turning into dry skin cell build up. (Like Renée Rouleau Skin Correcting Serum and Balancing Skin Tonic)

Cosmetic companies feel this need to dry the skin leaving it tight and irritated—and this will usually make the skin worse.

It’s also important to spot treat areas prone to blemishes, instead of treating the entire face for acne that might only show on the chin and only appear monthly. (See the collection of Renée Rouleau spot treatments.)

ThisThatBeauty: This next question is for the super busy girl on the go who can’t remember what she had for breakfast so commiting to a 4+step routine is out of the question.  Please give advice on the one thing that can make a huge difference in your skin.

Renée Rouleau: People have a perception that using a 3 or 4-step routine in the morning and evening will take a lot of time. After cleansing your face (which everyone should always do,) applying a toner, serum and moisturizer should take no more than one minute.

Applying a toner-20 seconds

Applying a serum-15 seconds

Applying a moisturizer to the face and neck-25 seconds

The one thing that will make a huge difference in the skin is using a sulfate-free (non-drying) cleanser. If you wash with a cleanser that leaves your skin tight and dry afterward, it means that you pulled the water out of the skin and you just created dry skin cell build up. The whole reason why exfoliation is so important for the health of the skin is because having dry skin cells on the skin causes a lot of skin problems (clogged pores), so it’s important not to be adding cell build-up by using a harsh cleanser.

ThisThatBeauty: How effective/ important are masks?

Renée Rouleau: I love masks, as long as they don’t dry the skin. Traditional clay masks are a no-no (the kind that cracks into a million pieces when you try to smile after it has dried) because they pull out the water out of the skin leaving it tight and dry. I prefer hydrating clay masks that give your skin the absorption it needs but have hydrators added so they leave your skin balanced. I also love gel-based masks because they give cooling, water-based hydration which can really calm over-active skin.

It’s more important to make sure you have your basic routine down (cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer), but masks are a great boost to enhance the results of your skin.

ThisThatBeauty: Tell us about the kinds of at home treatments we should incorporate in between regular facials?

Renée Rouleau: I recommend doing an at-home mini facial at least twice a month in the evening before bedtime.

Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a mild sulfate-free cleanser

Step 2: Either use a facial scrub or acid/enzyme peel to dissolve and lift off surface dry skin cells

Step 3: Apply a few drops of a hydrating serum recommended for your skin type

Step 4: Apply a thin coat of a mask recommended for your skin type. Let dry for 15 minutes and rinse well.

Step 5: Apply a moisturizer

ThisThatBeauty: Thank you Renée! I’ve just learned so much. I will be following your at home treatment regime in between my regular facials!

Dear readers: I would like to share a bonus read with you. I recently came across a piece on African American skin, written by Renée Rouleau. As an African American woman who has struggled with skin care issues for years, I found the piece by Renée to be one of the most insightful and informative articles I’ve ever read on the topic of caring for African American skin. I am linking to this piece and hope that you will learn as much as I have.


Renée Rouleau’s skin care product line is sold on her website and in her two Dallas skin care spas. Renée’s products have been cited in publications including Allure, Essence, Marie Claire, and In Style. Her proven results have earned her the confidence of celebrities, like Lisa Rinna, Melissa Rycroft, Jessica Simpson and Ashlee Simpson, as well as cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists. www.reneerouleau.com

Want more Renée?

Follow Renée on Twitter @ReneeRouleau

I strongly encourage you to follow Renée on Twitter. Her use of Twitter as a brand and skincare expert is brilliant. Others should take copious notes. Renée uses Twitter in a way that is engaging and legitimately informative…not surface fluff like other brands. Renée shares information first and foremost from the perspective of “a skin care expert”…her “RENEE ROULEAU” brand comes second. I live for Renée’s articles and tips and always click through to read more…and that’s saying a lot because I stay ridiculously busy but her articles are always worth the read. Kudos to Renée on effectively using social media to attract, engage, and educate.

Read Renée’s blog at http://blog.reneerouleau.com/

Become a fan of Renée Rouleau on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ReneeRouleauSkinCare

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