The mere mention of skin peels may send most of us running for cover. Especially the sensitive skinned among us. While it may sound like a toxic ingredient nightmare, there is a valid place in the beauty regimen for peels.
The term is unfortunate. Peel sound so…harsh. And yes, chemical acid peels are harsh, causing skin to turn red and peel from the face. They are effective in revealing fresh skin, but continued use can actually weaken and thin the skin, causing irritation, inflammation, and excessive dryness or oiliness. Not good.
Peels are really just another form of exfoliation. We’ve been told that exfoliation is key to healthy, clear skin, which it is, but could we be doing it all wrong? Or at least be doing it better?
Let’s start with why exfoliating is so essential to cooperative skin. Dead skin cells build up on the top layer of skin, trapping oil and debris underneath. This leads to breakouts, sallow complexion, and enhancement of fine lines. It also inhibits the skin’s ability to properly absorb the healthy ingredients in nourishing skincare.
All skin types benefit from exfoliation, not just congested skin. It can be done in different ways, to varying degrees and frequency. So, we’ve established sloughing is indeed a good thing. But as with other beauty rituals, like cleansing for example, could we be doing this whole exfoliating thing wrong?
Granular is the name of the game with most exfoliating products. Salt, sugar, and other particles (ground nut shells and meal, pumice) are used in these products to break up and remove dry, dead skin cells.
No doubt, this abrasive method of exfoliation is effective. But you know how we are chronically talking about inflammation and its link to many health issues, including unhappy skin? This friction could be causing more harm than good for certain skin types. Have we gotten out of hand with our sloughing?
Particles, even the micro-est of the micro, can cause tearing and scratching of the skin. Delicate skin types should avoid abrasive exfoliants, as should those with irritated skin or open sores. Remember to be gentle with granular scrubs and use no more than twice per week.
What’s a delicate skinned gal to do? Men exfoliate their faces when they shave. Should we all go out and buy a Norelco? Hang on just a sec before you delve into your guy’s medicine cabinet.
The latest, greatest exfoliating ingredients are hitting the beauty scene large. True, they are acids, but they are natural fruit acids from apples and pears (malic acid), citrus fruits (citric acid), and grapes (tartaric acid). Fruit enzymes, like papaya and pineapple, are also highly effective skin sloughers. Think of these ripe ingredients as the safe way to peel.
Fruit Acid Skin Peels for Glowing Skin
La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask
Living Libations Green Papay Lime AHA Mask
Dr. Alkaitis Cellular Repair Mask
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Image of happy apple face via Shutterstock