This Very Important Step Is Probably Missing From Your Skincare Routine

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The words chemical peel can sound scary. Mental images of leaving a doctor’s office with red, blotchy, swollen skin come to mind, making many hesitant to ever give the procedure a try. But thanks to advancements, a gentler version can now be done safely in the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking for vibrant, glowing skin, it might be time to consider incorporating one into your own skincare routine. We caught up with Beverly Hills dermatologist and founder of SKINxFive, Ava Shamban, MD, for a brief explainer of chemical peels and their benefits.

What Is A Peel? “There are many different types of chemical peels,” says Dr. Shamban, “from acid peels such as AHA [alpha-hydroxy acid] or TCA [trichloroacetic acid] to enzymatic peels. The procedure basically [peels off a layer of skin] and stimulates cell turnover. The purpose is to refresh your complexion and treat acne, brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles.” In other words, peels are great for treating the problem areas many of us tend to focus on when analyzing our own skin, and there are lots of options to try.

What’s The Difference In An At-Home Peel vs. A Dermatologist’s Visit? Many skincare brands now offer at-home peels in their product ranges, but it’s important to note that they’re different from those performed by your dermatologist. The main difference lies in the type of peel and the strength of the treatment. “A doctor will offer a much more intense peel than you can do at home,” Dr. Shamban says. However, neither should be done on a daily basis. She advises using an at-home option anywhere from weekly to every other month depending on the condition of your skin and the areas you’re trying to improve. The more problem areas, the more often you should treat. Because a peel is a stand-alone treatment (not part of a daily routine), Dr. Shamban encourages using a light moisturizer immediately afterward.

Should I Try It? Dr. Shamban says that peels can actually benefit everyone, no matter your particular skin concern. “Everyone can use faster skin-cell turnover and a more even skin texture. If your goal is fresh, smooth, glowing, youthful skin, peels should become an important pillar of your skincare regimen,” she says. And for those who shy away from intense formulation or who just want to dip a toe in, an at-home version is a perfect first step.

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