The word chemical makes me cringe. Who wouldn't? As intimidating as it may sound, chemical peel is simply a procedure involving a solution that peels off the topmost layer of the skin to reveal smoother and more even complexion. There are several types of at-home chemical peels but if you suffer from complex skin issues, I suggest that you consult a dermatologist first to find out if this procedure is right for you. This post will particularly focus on Glycolic acid, a.k.a AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Glycolic acid is a good exfoliant. It also stimulates the growth of elastin and collagen. It is indicated for wrinkles, acne and uneven skin tone. Glycolic acid is generally safe but the US-FDA strictly recommends the use of sunscreen in conjunction with AHAs. Glycolic acid is considered a mild form of chemical peel therefore it requires series of treatments before you can see the results.
I had the opportunity to try this 50% Glycolic set from skin-peel.com a while back. It took me quite sometime to write this post because I did a real-time experiment and evaluation. Skin-peel.com is an online store niched on skincare treatments. Their products are certified animal-cruelty free and devoid of parabens.
I have had chemical peels done in the past, both by a dermatologist and aesthetician so I'm familiar with the procedure. Nonetheless, I want to be sure that the formula strength is right for my skin concerns (oily, occasional acne, open pores) so the first step warranted an online skincare consultation with the company's licensed aesthetician. After a series of Q & A, I was given this Glycolic 50% set to try and evaluate at the comfort of my home.
Here are the aesthetician's recommendations:
1. Use a clear gel face cleanser as creams leave emollient or film that reduce efficacy of skin peels.
2. Use peels once every two weeks.
3. Store peel set in a cool and dark place.
4. Do not apply peels where skin is broken.
5.Do not apply peel under the eyes, around the mouth, and along the hairline.
6. Do not pull or scratch the peel during the shredding process.
7. Use sunscreen at daytime.
8. Stop using if there's severe reaction or irritation.
The set contains a manual that explains the procedure and whatnot, sprays, a few gauze pads and three bottles with different solutions.
Each of the bottles serve a different purpose. Let's begin with Peel prep....
Ingredients: Isopropyl alcohol, Deionized water, Malic acid,
Green tea extract, Phenoxyethanol,Caprylyl Glycol,
Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol.
So after washing my face with a transparent gel cleanser, I sprayed the gauze a few times with this solution. Peel prep is the first step; it removes makeup residue or film left by the facial cleanser. It is a colorless with slight alcohol fragrance solution. I applied this all over my face avoiding under eye area, mouth corner and along the hairline.
Then comes Step 2, Glycolic Acid 50%
Ingredients: Deionized water, Glycolic acid,Sodium hydroxide,
Xantham gum, Phrnoxyethanol, Caprylyl glycol,
Potassium sorbate, Hexylene glycol
According to the manual, the longer this stays on your skin, the deeper the penetration is. I sprayed the gauze about five times with this solution. It is colorless and has a gel-like consistency. For two consecutive occasions (at 2 weeks apart), I left this on my face except the areas I mentioned, for 15 minutes. It stings for a few minutes that I needed to put the fan blowing directly against my face to reduce the sensation. At a rate of 1-10, I'd give the stinging power a 5.
Finally, the Neutralizer Solution Spray
Ingredients: Deionized water, Glycerin, Porpylene glycol,
Sodium bicarbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl glycol,
Potassium sorbate, Hexylene glycol
Neutralizer is the last step of the treatment. It is a colorless and odorless solution. I sprayed the gauze a few times and applied it all over my face, then rinsed my face with cold water.
The last step is optional but I used a serum (Estee Lauder) after the whole procedure.
Below is a summarized evaluation of my first-hand experience:
1. Month 1 at 2 weeks apart, at 15 minutes timeframe: Stinging is present. There is minor yet obvious peeling. I used moisturizer with SPF before makeup to "tone" it down. I noticed I had more tiny whiteheads on the first month of treatment. More but not annoying to make me stop.
2. Month 2 at every other week, at 15 minutes timeframe. This is a self-experimentation and completely my own regimen. Stinging is still present with obvious peeling from days 1 to 3. Again I used moisturizer with SPF before makeup application. I noticed occasional acne which to me is a pretty common occurrence so I can't directly attribute it to this treatment. I used cotton pads because I don't have that gauze anymore.
3. Month 3, still same experience as month 2, following the same regimen.
4. Month 4 to 5, I decided to amp my routine, every week at 30 minutes. Stinging is still present, the feeling is the same as my initial treatment. I had lesser whiteheads and pimples and my skin felt supple. Some friends said I looked younger and my skin firmer. Wow, that's a nice thing to hear, yeah?
I'm on my sixth month now and the bottles aren't even half-way done. My skin survived the guinea-pig phase. I don't have noticeable peeling but it still stings, mind you. I have lesser acne and my skin feels tighter which somehow reduced my unsightly open pores.
Overall I'm happy with the result. If you have not found your holy grail yet, this is something worth-trying. At $60 a set, this lasts for a while. The packaging is certainly not an eye-candy like those brands sold in Sephora or specialty stores. This is not for everyone, if I may repeat once more. What works for me may not for you and vice versa. Skincare is relative; it's a series of trial and error, and for the most part only your personal experience can attest whether a product is yay or nay.
This set was provided by skin-peel.com for PR consideration and review.