The Ultimate Guide To Peels For Your Unique Skin Needs

What are peels and why you need them?

Here, is a breakdown of the different AHA’s and BHA’s and what you should use for your unique skin condition and type.  Your skin condition is very important in choosing the right peel and understanding the whys, whats and when you should use peels.

The AHAs

1.  Glycolic Acid: Glycolic is derived from sugarcane and is  excellent for congested and dull skin.It helps to loosen the dead skin cells and resurface the skin.  It also stimulates the skin to produce collagen,making the skin firmer.  It’s more aggressive than lactic acid peel. Skin condition: oily, acne prone, congested, open and large pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

Skin type: oily, normal, combination

2.  Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is produced naturally in our bodies and also derived from milk. Milder than glycolic acid and also more gentle on the skin. Essentially improves hyper pigmentation problems caused by acne. If you are a newbie and want to even out skin tone, this is ideal for first time users. It is also popular for lightening pigmentation and sun damage.

Skin condition: dull, sun damage, hyper-pigmentation skin

Skin type: dry, normal, sensitive


3.  Salicylic Acid:  This is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that helps to dissolve oil and lipids, and sloughs off dead skin cells that clog the pores.  This peel is perfect for oily/acne skin that needs deep pore cleansing and loosening of blackheads and whiteheads.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so more suitable for active acne prone skin.  Skin condition:oily,congestion,acne

Skin type: oily combination

The Mother Of Them All

4. Retenoic Acid: Also known as Vitamin A peel, RetinA, tretinion.  It’s an excellent peel for wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, mild to moderate acne, congestion but this is only by prescription at the dermatologists’office.  It is drying, irritating and the skin shedding process takes a few days.

Skin condition: rough skin, wrinkles, fine lines, acne, blackheads, hyper-pigmentation

Skin type: all skin types

All these peels come in different concentration.  The glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid varies from 5% to 50-60% or higher.  Peels at such high strengths should always be done at a dermatologists.

You could get the medium strength ones from 15-25% at the spa.  And if you want to go the DIY face peel route, always stick to 10% or below and you can build up.

How should your skin feel?

While the peel is on, you should expect mild tingling or stinging even but never burning. Burning means your skin is being fried and that can lead to major complications like  scarring, hyper-pigmentation and hypo-pigmentation.

What can you expect post peel?

The light peels will only make your skin flake a little in the first two weeks. The medium and deep peels will give you the sunburn effect, so you have to be prepared for redness and excess peeling. The skin needs to be kept moist and protected with such peels or you will risk scarring and infection.  So, the rule of thumb is always safety first.  And never forget your sunscreen!  You don’t want to undo your hard work and risk permanent photo damage.

Have you had a chemical peel before, what were the results, would you have another one?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

You may also be interested in reading:  10 Herbal Skin Care Tips for Glowing Skin

Prashanna Yonghang

Prashanna Yonghang is a freelance blogger with a keen interest in skin health, binge watching documentaries and DIY home decor. When not doing any of the above, I love being silly with my two year old boy. You can connect with Prashanna via Twitter

Rebecca Timmins - August 28, 2017

Wow, I didn’t know there were so many types of peel. I could do with the Lactic Acid one I think!

Mica - August 28, 2017

Thank you for this informative post! I’ve heard so many people recommend peels so it was good to read about some of the different ones available and what to expect with them 🙂

Karen M Hernandez - August 29, 2017

I am so blown away! I really need to get one done ASAP! I think I might even need all of the ones mentioned 😏. Great post, I learned a ton 💓


Ruth Ferguson - September 9, 2017

Wow this is so Interesting !

Proven Ways to Reduce Wrinkles - SKN Complex - September 18, 2017

[…] will help you with this problem and make your skin fresher and younger-looking. Occasional chemical peels for deeper effects can’t hurt […]

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