The questions you should ask before trying a chemical peel

PHOTO: SHAPE Singapore

At-home chemical peels seem to be on the rise given the influx of new products that seem to cut down on your derma appointments. I've watched vlogger upon vlogger apply a scary looking, blood-like AHA and BHA solutions to their faces and come out with baby skin. It's tempting but anything with a word "acid" and "chemical" shouldn't be subject to whim, don't you think? Sometimes, it's still best to leave it to the professionals.

So before I picked up my own at-home chemical peel, I consulted with Dr. Liezel G. Pangilinan, DPDS of LP Dermatology Clinic. I asked her a few questions about chemical peels and found pertinent information for those of you who also want to give it a go.

Is there a difference between exfoliation and chemical peel?

It's the same. When you say microdermabrasion, it's practice of exfoliation without any chemicals like diamond peel or a brush. Another one is when you apply a chemical peel. There are different types. The most common are AHA and BHA peel. Other types [are] the glycolic peel, lactic acid peel, and salicylic acid peel.

What skin type would benefit the most from a chemical peel?

If you have dry skin, you shouldn't go for a peel. After a peel, the more your skin will be dry. [It's] most advisable for combination to oily skin. Most chemical peels inhibit production of oil.

How often should you go for a chemical peel?

Once a month. If it's microdermabrasion, you can do it every two weeks.

If you were to do a chemical peel at home, what should you know first?

You should have instruction from your dermatologist. You need to watch out for burning and inflammation. After a peel, you're supposed to apply an anti-inflammatory product. The safest peel at home would be a salicylic one. I can also suggest a glycolic toner and mandelic acid.

What are the best after-care steps?

Always put sunscreen. Don't forget your anti-inflammation. Once you have inflammation, if unattended, it results in dark spots and pigmentation.

What's a big misconception about chemical peel?

If it burns, it doesn't mean it's working. That's a sign of irritation. The redness after can make more problems.

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