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Peels 101: Your guide to getting a good peel

I’ve got super-sensitive skin so I’m pretty afraid to experiment when it comes to my face. The word “peel” sounded pretty frightening to me, but I was pleasantly surprised post-peel at my esthetician’s office. Even with a fair complexion, you can typically tolerate having one applied to your skin.

Katherine Goldman, founder Stript Wax Bar, a chain of salons in the LA and San Francisco Bay areas offers some answers on how to get a peel that makes you look like a fresh-faced version of you and not a red-faced imitation of Samantha from Sex and the City.

How do you determine which peel is best?

Cients at Stript Wax Bar receive a thorough skin analysis after cleansing their skin and removing makeup. We look through a magnifying lens to assess the skin. If there is redness or broken capillaries, then a lactic peel is best.  This is the most gentle of all the acids.  If there are oil and blackheads, then a glycolic peel should be used. This peel helps to reduce the production of oil and increase cellular turnover. If you have active breakouts, then a peel with Salicylic Acid is used. This ingredient reduces inflammation and can dry up blemishes. 

What else is important to know?

Before receiving the peel you should ask need to ask if there will be downtime. All peels remove the outer layer of skin and some go deeper than others. Typically, the higher the concentration and lower the pH, the deeper the peel will penetrate. If you have a very deep peel, you may not want to go outside for a few days as the peeling process can be unsightly and make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

With no down time, “Lunch Time Peels,” you can have minimal peeling and be able to do normal activity. Also ask what pre- and post-care you should do with the peel.

How should you prepare for a peel?

Sometimes it is important to prep the skin for the peel by introducing a small amount of the acids so that the skin can better handle the actual peel. Likewise, after care is important so that you do not irritate the skin after a peel.

You may be asked to cleanse with a special cleanser on the day of the peel. Do not wear any makeup to your appointment and make sure to bring sunglasses and a hat to wear afterwards, as the peel will make your skin much more sensitive to the sun.

My skin is hurting a lot, did I have bad peel?

If you received the peel and are in a large amount of pain, then that should signal the peel may not have been appropriate for your skin type. Also you should not have scarring after a peel. It may have gone too deep or was not applied correctly. Please always make sure the person applying a peel is a licensed esthetician!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing