Facial Peels: What They Are and Why your Skin Needs Them
Updated: Jul 19
Interested in trying a facial peel but not sure where to start? Some people may confuse them with peel-off masks, but they are nowhere near close. If you’re wondering if they will leave your skin flaky and peeling? Well, that all depends on the facial peel that’s best for your skin. The good thing for you we have the inside scoop on all there is to know! At Pretty Please, we specialize in a wide variety of facials and offer facial peels as add-ons to boost the health of your skin. Our Skin Therapists are trained in pinpointing your skincare needs and recommending the perfect facial peel to achieve your skin goals.
What Do Facial Peels Do?
Facial Peels are simply a form of chemical exfoliation. They remove dead/damaged skin cells, mainly through the use of acids that loosen and dissolve debris away. Unlike physical exfoliants, like using sugar/salt scrubs or even microdermabrasion, peel ingredients sink into the skin, targeting deeper layers than a physical exfoliant can reach. However, a peel is often considered gentler than a scrub. For those with a sensitive skin type who still want to smooth and refresh their complexion, a light peel is a great option to not irritate the skin.
What Ingredients Are in a Peel?
Acids are the main active ingredient in a facial peel. The VitaSkin Exfoliating peels we use contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) sourced from fruit and plants.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
AHAs are typically milder and include glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids. It’s a great choice for dry or sensitive skin types, AHAs exfoliate the skin surface while improving hydration levels, leaving the skin baby-soft and glowing. This type of peel would fall under the ‘“superficial peels” as they only focus on the top layer of skin.
Beta Hydroxy Acids
BHAs are typically stronger than AHAs and sink deeper into the skin to exfoliate and clean out pore walls. BHAs, like salicylic acid, are ideal for oily skin or problematic skin types as they fight current breakouts, prevent future breakouts, and are non-irritating. This type of peel would fall under medium-depth peels.
What Are The Different Types?
When trying to decide what level of peel you need, keep in mind that there are three main types. Let’s get into the breakdown of each one.
The gentlest type of facial peel is effective without any downtime. Light peels, like Eminence Organics VitaSkin Exfoliating Peels, don't require recovery as they do not exfoliate below the epidermis. This type of peel is available to achieve four different skincare goals:
Tighten your skin with the Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel, it has lactic and glycolic acids.
Brighten your skin with the Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel, it has a blend of lactic and mandelic acids.
Calm and soothe your skin with Calm Skin Chamomile Exfoliating Peel
Clear your complexion with the Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel, with lactic and salicylic acids, to clear your complexion.
Most medium-strength peels usually result in redness with a five-to-seven-day recovery period due to the TCA (trichloroacetic acid). These peels are often used to treat scarring and sun-damaged skin. It is worth noting that while these peels are milder and involve less risk than deep peels, there is still a chance of developing scarring and blistering from a medium-strength peel.
However, for your benefit, there are medium peels that can be used at the spa or even at home. These stronger types of exfoliation produce long-lasting skincare benefits that can extend for up to a week but are safe to use at home. An example of a medium peel is Eminence Organics Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System which keeps the skin radiant in-between spa visits.
Deep or Strong Peels
Generally, we would consider deep peel as the strongest type of chemical peel, using acids like phenol or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) as a process that penetrates deeply into the middle layer of the skin and causes a second-degree burn on the face. Side effects from deep chemical peels include multiple weeks of recovery while the new skin develops, the appearance of redness or burns, and the skin literally peeling or flaking away from the face. Staying out of direct sunlight is highly recommended while the skin repairs itself.
At Pretty Please, we don’t use peels with long recovery times and side effects. It has always been our philosophy to respect the skin. The peels we use are organic and naturally derived and typically produce benefits that last two weeks or longer.
We offer the following Strong peels:
Mangosteen Lactic Pro Peel 10%
Pro Salicylic Acid Peel 15%
Arctic Berry Advanced Peel Activator MA20
Yam Pumpkin Peel 20%
These strong peels are formulated specifically for problematic skin. These professional peels are powerful exfoliants that require a trained spa professional, like our team, to follow a specific protocol, but they are also products formulated with botanical ingredients that leave your skin glowing naturally.
What Are the Benefits of Peels?
Aside from acids working hard to reveal your hidden beauty, there are an array of benefits that come along with a facial peel.
Who doesn’t want soft and supple skin? One of the many benefits of a facial peel is smoother, baby-soft skin. Removing the dull, outer layer of dead skin cells with a facial peel leaves the skin feeling extremely smooth. To lock in smoothness, ensure your new skin is kept deeply hydrated and protected after your peel. We recommend trying a restorative oil like Eminence Organics Facial Recovery Oil and, of course, using your go-to SPF moisturizer.
Evens Skin Tone
Again, gentle peels are removing dead/dry skin to leave behind softer skin, but some peels will work beneath the surface. These peels will penetrate deeper than scrubbing particles and will likely result in a more glowy and even complexion than you will find with a physical exfoliant. With continued use, discolorations such as sun and age spots will look diminished, leaving your skin feeling bright and youthful.
Because a peel reveals new skin cells and smooths your complexion, it leaves the skin as a perfect canvas to deeply absorb further treatments.
Minimizes Fine Lines
Using facial peels that contain AHAs will help reduce the signs of fine lines as it delivers a gentle and hydrating form of exfoliation and offers moisture to the epidermis while removing dead skin cells. Additionally, AHAs might stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which explains why so many people find their skin looking plump and firm after an AHA peel.
By using facial peels properly, you can shrink the appearance of your pores. Peels containing AHAs and BHAs will leave pores smaller and cleaner than before. Using this treatment will remove dead skin cells, excess sebum, and combat the bacteria that cling together inside of a pore, causing said pores to expand.
Much like how they shrink pores, peels are a fantastic way to clear away any congestion in the skin. Small whiteheads, blackheads, and milia are common signs of congested skin, and the acids in a facial peel work to gently break apart any build-up that’s causing clogged pores.
Peels with BHAs are a fantastic option to effectively combat breakouts. While a home care routine containing salicylic acid is crucial for managing oily skin types and acne, a peel works deeper to drastically improve breakouts, smooth texture, and reduce dark spots and pigmentation. As salicylic acid is non-inflammatory, a BHA peel does all this without causing further irritation.
When you’re ready to find the perfect peel for your skin, come see us in New York City. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us via email or text. You can also check us out on Instagram!