The Power Behind the Peel
Popular acids used in skin care treatments
Voluntarily putting acid on your skin? It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually a proven technique that has been used since ancient times—yep, ancient Egyptian women were known to bathe in fermented grapes and sour milk to smooth their skin.
Acid treatments, now referred to as chemical peels, have come a long way since ancient Egypt. Today, thanks to a limited number of side effects and rapid recovery time, chemical peels have become one of the most sought-after aesthetic treatment options. Our chemical peels not only exfoliate, but can also erase sun damage, plump out wrinkles, even out texture, and help eradicate acne scarring. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of the various types of acids we use in our skin care treatments.
Best for acne: Salicylic
Looking for help in reducing breakouts? Clinical therapeutics studies show oil-soluble salicylic acid can penetrate sebaceous glands to help prevent clogging in pores and regulate the production of oil.
Best for skin resurfacing: Trichloroacetic
More commonly known as a TCA peel – uses trichloroacetic acid to dry the top layers of skin so they peel off over a period of several days. The treatment is used to reduce discoloration, improve melasma, and reduce fine lines.
Best for hydration: Hyaluronic
Known as the ultimate hydrator, this option has a well-earned nickname as “nature’s moisturizer.” Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in connective tissues in the joints and skin, however, as we age our bodies produce less and less. Used in a topical form, hyaluronic acid acts as a space filler by binding to water—it can retain more than 1,000 times its weight in water!—and keeping skin free of wrinkles.
Best all-around: Lactic
Those contending with multiple skin-related issues may find lactic acid to be beneficial. A lactic acid peel will clear out toxins, dead cells and debris, while simultaneously boosting collagen production to hydrate the skin. Plus, this alpha-hydroxy acid derived from milk is less irritating than other options, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin.
Best for brightening: Ascorbic
This extra pure form of vitamin C is known as a superstar antioxidant capable of neutralizing free radical damage caused by pollution and the sun’s harmful UV rays. Vitamin C can also brighten skin and improve elasticity since it helps synthesize collagen, which gives your skin its bounce.
Best for a new face: Retinoic
This vitamin A derivative works well in erasing wrinkles and reducing acne. It works by strengthening blood vessels, boosting blood flow to the skin’s surface, and stimulating cell renewal.
Best for exfoliation: Glycolic
Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is a favorite for those with acneic skin. It works to clear acne, blackheads and whiteheads. It can also decrease oiliness in general.