. Before you buy, though, here are a few things to consider.
Who should pass?
If your skin is very sensitive, skip at-home peels altogether. “Also, if you are on certain topical medications, such as a retinoid (Retin A, Differin and Tazorac) or retinols, or prone to developing cold sores or fever blisters, you should avoid chemical peels,” says Taylor. She also recommends sun worshippers or those with sunburns to steer clear of peels. “After a sunburn, the top layers of skin peel off. So, if you perform a peel, additional layers will come off, with the net result being that the peel will go too deeply, leading to burning of the skin and a prolonged recovery period,” she says.
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Internet buyer beware
To avoid serious injury and damage to your skin, it is very important not to order a “professional” strength chemical peel for at-home use from the Internet, advises Taylor. There are all sorts of sites out there claiming to sell professional-grade products, as if that’s a good thing. Don’t buy peels that say they have trichloracetic acid (TCA) or 50- to 70-percent alpha hydroxy acid, which should only be applied by professionals to avoid serious burns to skin and other complication. “Stick to a drug store or department store for your purchase,” says Taylor.
Most at-home peels contain glycolic or alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Peels featuring beta hydroxy acids tend to be gentler on your skin—enough for frequent use, up to twice a week. A traditional glycolic peel is a bit harsher, and is best used only once a month or so. Read your product’s packaging thoroughly and follow the frequency it suggests—never more than that. When in doubt, call your dermatologist to get her opinion on the product you are considering.
Best Facial Buys
Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask—Use this beta hydroxy mask that has 11 active natural ingredients once a week for a deeply refreshing and gentle exfoliation treatment. $55, www.tataharperskincare.com
Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel—This peel incorporates vitamin C and glycolic acid to specifically target sun damage like brown spots. Continue to use the tingly product regularly once or twice weekly to see results over time. $45, www.murad.com
AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Enzyme Peel—A super gentle enzymatic peel (made from papaya enzymes), you can actually use it like a daily cleanser. The powder is activated by water to brighten up your face as it calms and soothes redness. $60, www.sephora.com