Peels can make your skin—and skin-care products—work better. In minutes, acids lift away dead cells and trigger a lovely chain reaction: As that topmost layer is shed, signals are sent to the living cells below to multiply and move up, to increase collagen production, to make more hyaluronic acid—to act younger. A thorough sloughing also offers one very immediate upshot: smoother skin that’s both more radiant and more receptive. Your skin-care products perform better after a peel because there are no dead cells impeding their penetration.
They’re low-risk, and you can go custom. There are chemical peels that are safe to use on every skin color without risk of hyperpigmentation. Using low percentages of multiple acids gives a better outcome with less irritation than a single acid at a higher strength.
The right peel can end acne and soften the scars that come with it. Salicylic acid peels and Jessner’s peels (equal parts salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol, an antiseptic exfoliant) dive deep into skin to unclog pores while also skimming the surface to erode blackheads and fade post-pimple marks. Another advantage of salicylic acid: It lingers in the pores, where it continues to keep them clear over time.
Nothing controls melasma better. There isn’t a permanent cure for the recurring sun-triggered dark patches brought on by hormonal surges (like those caused by pregnancy and the Pill), but chemical peels (paired with at-home bleaching creams, high-SPF sunscreen, and strict sun avoidance) offer the best fighting chance.
A peel will let you (maybe) toss your undereye concealer!