Chemical peels are a tried-and-true beauty staple. In fact, evidence even suggests that chemical peels have been used to beautify the skin as far back as ancient Egypt.1 And in recent years, peels, such as retinol peels, have been overshadowed by more expensive in-office laser treatments, but peels seem to be making a comeback. Why?
Short answer — they work.
Not only are peels less invasive than laser treatments, but they’re also friendly to many skin types, require little to no recovery time, and are much more affordable.2
So if you’re looking for a way to get a smooth, youthful-looking complexion — without spending a fortune — you may want to consider a retinol peel.
Retinol Peels: The Basics
A retinol peel is a type of chemical peel that exfoliates the skin and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and discoloration.3
You see, as you get older, skin cell turnover slows down. This slowdown can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells, giving your skin a dull appearance.4 Exfoliation can counteract this, but physical exfoliants can be harsh on delicate facial skin — so chemical exfoliants are a great alternative.
Chemical exfoliants tend to be a safer route to uncovering newer, brightened skin. And a chemical peel will help ensure that you’re getting deep and lasting exfoliation.
One of the most commonly used exfoliants in chemical peels is glycolic acid. It is part of the alpha-hydroxy acid family, which also includes lactic acid and citric acid. Alpha-hydroxy acids are commonly used in skincare products and procedures.
Glycolic acid has a remarkably small molecular weight. This means that it can easily penetrate through layers of the skin to exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing newer, brighter skin.5
Glycolic acid can also help:
- Reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation
- Improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by aging and sun damage
- Refine skin texture, and help fade the appearance of acne scars 6
Retinol: Taking Things To The Next Level
Now, adding retinol to the process takes things a step further — it and ups the skin-nourishing and anti-aging benefits of a peel.
Retinol belongs to the vitamin A family. When it’s combined with certain enzymes in the body, it converts to something called retinoic acid.7
Retinoic acid is a superstar when it comes to skincare. Like glycolic acid, retinoic acid has a small molecular size that penetrates deeply into the skin. 8
What does it do for your skin once it gets there? It can help:
- Generate new skin cells 9
- Diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Stimulate collagen synthesis, leading to plumper, firmer skin
- Minimize pigmentation and age spots due to sun exposure
- Decrease acne breakouts 10
What To Expect
Gentle chemical peels are appropriate for all skin types. And unlike laser treatments, retinol peels require little to no recovery time. At-home peels make the process even more convenient, ensuring that you get the full benefit that comes from regular, consistent application.
How Does It Work?
After a thorough cleansing, the peel is applied with a brush, pad or cotton swab. You may feel a slight tingling as your skin absorbs the alpha-hydroxy acids. After the peel has had several minutes to sink into the skin, it will be followed up with an application of retinol cream. Depending on the formulation, the retinol cream may also contain other skin-nourishing ingredients that will curb the potential for any irritation.
You may notice a pinkish glow as your skin gets used to the peeling process. As always, continue to treat skin gently and keep it well-moisturized.
And don’t forget to include a generous daily application of SPF. It’s important to keep those newly-revealed skin cells protected from any potentially damaging effects of UV rays.
So if you’ve ever wished you could “erase” the look of fine lines and dark spots, this just may be the right choice for you. With a retinol peel, you can say hello to fresher, brighter skin — and goodbye to fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots.
For more helpful beauty tips, keep reading:
Manuka Honey: Why You Should Be Using It On Your Skin