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Exfoliation at Home

July 26, 2010

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You saw in my previous post why exfoliation is important. So you can’t afford $150 to go to an esthetician every few weeks for a light chemical peel, and you don’t want to get a deep chemical peel because of the risks of burns and the recovery period. So now what? You can exfoliate at home, with no risk and as often as 1 to 3 times a week.

You’ll need both a chemical peel, also called an acid peel, and dermabrasion. A good rotating brush makes the work easier as well. I’ve seen a vibrating brush, but I’m not really sure how that removes the dead skin cells. Sounds like it would be great for circulation though. A great analogy for exfoliation is refinishing furniture. You can sand and sand by hand, and eventually you’ll get all the old varnish off, but it’s a lot of work. A rotating sander would make it easier, because you’re not having to work so hard at it. But if you apply varnish remover first, you can get that old gunk off pretty easily. You also can’t just leave the varnish remover on the furniture, the gunk would eventually just dry back onto the furniture. The chemical peel = varnish remover, dermabrasion = sandpaper, and the rotating brush = electric sander. And if you apply all three principles to your face, you can get great results.

There are a bunch of at-home chemical peels and dermabrasions on the market today. I haven’t tried a lot of them, but I hear that most of them work fairly well. What I DO know is that there is a huge price difference between them, and most of them don’t have both the chemical peel AND dermabrasion. For example, MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peel is $128 for a 60 day supply, but it doesn’t say how often to do the peel. It sounds great compared to $1000 for 8 treatments by an esthetician, but it doesn’t include the dermabrasion or brush. Or there’s Glytone Mini Peel Gel (not sure how many applications) for $50, which is intended to be used between visits to the esthetician. But then you’re adding cost to the bottom line instead of saving money.

The one that I use is BC Spa Resurface. There’s a multi-acid peel, microderm abrasion and a rotating buffer. It’s only $117 for 30 uses, that’s almost 4 months worth if you’re using it twice a week like I do. Or if you’re frugal like I am, you can make it stretch to 6 months using little tricks like cutting the pads in half for in between mini-peels 😉

Here are some tips on choosing the right exfoliation for your budget:

  • Make sure that it’s not a “daily” use product. Daily use products are not true chemical peels. They’re more like rejuvenation products that cause the skin to turn over slightly faster. Although these are great products for every day use, they are definitely NOT chemical peels. Chemical peels should only be used 1 to 3 times a week.
  • Get a brush that rotates, but gentle enough to not cause damage (or you’ll be red for a few days).
  • Multi-acid peels are better than single acid peels since they work on multiple levels of the skin.
  • Alpha hydroxy is good for home-based peels, but poly hydroxy is better because it causes less irritation with similar or better results.
  • Don’t do it too often for your skin type. If you find that you’re more irritated the more you use the chemical peel, your skin might not be able to handle it too often (like mine). I tried to boost up to 3 times a week, and my skin couldn’t take it.
  • Light exfoliation between chemical peels is ideal. Use a regular facial scrub with your cleanser on the days you’re not doing a chemical peel & dermabrasion. This helps get off any loose dry cells in between.

I hope this helps to guide you in your adventure into at-home chemical peels and microderm abrasion. It’s easier than you think and you’ll love the way your skin feels and looks even after just one treatment!

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