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Beauty Solutions

The Next Best Thing to a Professional Facial


photo by rolands.lakis

To get a fresh, healthy, glowing complexion, a peel can work wonders. It’s the rock star of skin care. I’m totally hooked. Along with making my skin radiant, a peel makes my skin feel softer, gives it a smoother texture, and helps with blemishes, fine lines, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation.

A peel at a spa or at a physician’s office is stronger than even the most potent at-home peel. But if I can’t afford a professional facial, a good at-home peel is the next best thing. They tend to be a lot more effective than most face masks and give amazing results. In today’s post, I have info on what an at-home peel does, pro tips for using them, and recommendations for three highly effective, safe, eco-peels from ARCONA, REN, and suki.

Why Use a Peel?

• Peels noticeably improve skin tone, texture, and pore size, says skin care expert Alicia Moody, one of the most senior estheticians at International Orange Spa in San Francisco.
• She says peels deep clean skin and dissolve proteins (called keratin) that are made up of stubborn debris and “sticky oil” that holds dead skin cells together – proteins that everyday cleansers do not dissolve thoroughly.

Tips For Using Peels

Alicia gives these tips for using at-home peels or exfoliating masks.

“Because the “pinking” can sometimes take about an hour or so to completely disappear, best to not have immediate plans afterwards.”

Ingredients. Look for one that contains hydroxy acids, fruit enzymes, or both. These kinds will be stronger and provide better results.
The Right Peel for You. Consult with an esthetician to figure out which peel is best for your skin and will fit in best with your existing skin care routine. If you’re choosing a peel on your own, start with something clearly labeled for your skin type that doesn’t include anything you might be allergic to or anything with ingredients that could be potentially harmful, like parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance or color. If your skin is sensitive, start with something very mild to see what your skin can tolerate.
How Often and When. Use only once or twice a week at night, because a peel can cause a temporary “pinking” of the skin. She says this is a “normal reaction and often indicates an increase in blood circulation. But because the “pinking” can sometimes take about an hour or so to completely disappear, best to not have immediate plans afterwards.”
infiore-arcona-renPost-Peel. Use something calming and hydrating after a peel to soothe the skin if it gets especially pink. She recommends using a product with “cooling ingredients like calendula, cucumber, and aloe. A balm like In Fiore Fleur Vibrante (far left) may be used if your skin is extremely dry, parched or irritated. If your skin is normal, combination, oily, or acneic, a lighter hydrator at night is best. ARCONA Night Breeze (second from left) is exceptionally healing following a peel if the skin is blemished. ARCONA Peptide Hydrating Complex (second from right) is also a good choice for other non-blemished skins.”
Avoiding and, If Necessary, Soothing Irritation. This tip is from me… I goofed and am sharing so that, hopefully, you can avoid doing the same thing. Be sure to completely rinse off the peel. I made the boneheaded move of missing some spots along my jawline so those areas eventually became irritated. It wasn’t the peel’s fault. It was total user error. If you manage to do the same thing, I highly recommend applying REN Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm (far right, above), a new healing, soothing, calming balm for dry, irritated, or chapped skin. This made my skin feel better and reduced the redness right away. This is good stuff to keep on hand. It soothed a sunburn I got the other day and has helped calm an allergic reaction I have around my eye (unrelated to testing the peels). It also works very well on chapped lips and hands. Big thumbs up on this beauty aid.
Use Some Restraint. One last tip from me… Keep in mind that you can overdo it. Stick to the instructions. If it says leave it on for ten minutes and you love the results, that doesn’t mean that 20 minutes is going to give you better results. You’ll probably just end up with irritated skin. Step away from the peel.

Peels I Recommend

I tested and recommend these at-home peels from three of my favorite eco-skin care lines: ARCONA, REN, and suki. These are all packed with beneficial, natural ingredients and are free of potentially harmful ingredients. They all worked really well and made my skin gorgeous and glowing. Since they’re all pretty pricey, I found out how many applications you can get with each one so you can see the estimated cost per application. If you can’t fit a spa peel into your budget, one of these at-home peels would be an excellent, more affordable alternative.

ARCONA Raspberry PeelARCONA Resurfacing Raspberry Peel ($68) is best for skin that’s normal-to-oily, acne-prone, has a rough texture and/or enlarged pores, Alicia says. It’s designed to resurface, firm, exfoliate, hydrate, heal, and oxygenate skin, repair damage from sun exposure and aging, smooth fine lines, minimize pores and irregular pigmentation, and improve skin tone, texture, and circulation. It’s a blend of mandelic, lactic, and malic acids. It’s an antioxidant-rich formula of raspberry and grape seed extracts, green tea and lycopene.

This felt like the most potent of the bunch. It was tingly the minute I put it on but not overwhelmingly so. It felt really good on and very similar to how a peel at a spa feels though not as intense. After using it, my skin looked and felt incredibly soft, smooth, and refreshed. I had a couple dry patches before applying. After I used this, they were gone. There are little bits of raspberry in it so it smells divine and feels like someone whipped up a batch fresh for me.

Usage Recommendations: Use one or two times a week for 10-15 minutes or 5-8 minutes if you have sensitive skin. Follow with ARCONA Peptide Hydrating Complex, which smells like grapes and is wonderfully soothing and moisturizing. It’s rich in firming peptides (I so need that now as I’m starting to see that my skin is losing its elasticity). It’s also designed to support cellular repair and deeply hydrate so it’s a very choice after a peel.

Cost: A little goes a long way. The two-ounce jar has an estimated 12-14 of applications so the estimated cost per application is $4.85 to $5.67. Available directly from ARCONA, at the International Orange Web Shop, and beauty.com.

REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel MaskREN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask ($55) is good for all skin types except sensitive, Alicia says. According to REN, this is especially good for acne, blemish-prone, congested, mature skin, and sun-damaged skin, and helps reduce post-acne scarring, blemishes, blackheads, and fine lines. It’s designed to dramatically improve skin tone, firmness, and radiance. It was voted a Best Beauty Buy in 2008 by InStyle magazine. (If you have sensitive skin, Alicia recommends opting instead for REN F10 Smooth Radiance Facial Mask.)

I experienced a lot of tingling with this peel – though it wasn’t overwhelming or irritating. It has a delightful papaya smell and also felt very similar to how a peel at a spa feels though not as intense. My skin looked brighter and felt a lot smoother and softer afterward. It’s formulated to gently and effectively rejuvenate skin with four fruit acids that loosen dead skin cells and papain (from Mexican papaya) that digests and dislodges dead skin cells. It also contains omega 3 (from arctic blackberry) to soothe skin and help boost skin cell turnover and omega 7 (from sea buckthorn berry oil) to improve skin appearance and reduce redness. According to REN, the ingredients are delivered deep into skin with liposome technology. REN is against animal testing.

Usage Recommendations: Use once a week only at night for 10-15 minutes. REN recommends following it with anti-aging REN Frankincense 7 Boswellia Serrata Revitalising Repair Cream – a rich, hydrating night cream formulated to moisturise, nourish, and help rejuvenate the skin. It contains Boswellic acid and resinoid from Frankincense to relax facial muscles and ease micro-contractions to reduce and prevent the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles (I’m all for that). It also has vitamin C and citroflavonoids from Calabrian Oranges and vitamins A and E to boost collagen formation and cell renewal to firm and repair the skin

REN also recommends using their deep cleansing, purifying Multi-Mineral Detox Mask the following day to reduce pore size and leave the skin smooth, toned, and decongested. It contains French clay to draw out impurities, remove excess sebum, and eliminate dead skin cells, and Spirulina, a tropical seaweed rich in essential fatty acids to encourage cell renewal.

Cost: I only needed to use a small amount. The 1.7-ounce bottle has an estimated 10-12 of applications so the estimated cost per application is $4.58 to $5.50. Available directly from REN, at the International Orange Web Shop, Space NK, Sephora, Barneys, Fred Segal, and beauty.com.

suki renewal bio-resurfacing peelsuki renewal bio-resurfacing facial peel ($75) is part of the new sukispa line that aims to deliver spa results at home. It’s good for all skin types, except extremely sensitive skin. It’s designed to exfoliate, unclog pores, even skin tone, and reduce blemishes and inflammation. It contains natural and organic ingredients, like cranberry glycolic alpha hydroxy, vitamin C, and botanical enzymes.

This seemed to be the most gentle of the three I tried. I found that it worked really well and gave me results similar to a professional brightening facial. It’s corrective peel mask that made my skin brighter and really smooth. Multitasker bonus: it can also be used as a nighttime spot treatment for blemishes. suki products and the ingredients in them are never tested on animals.

Usage Recommendations: Leave on for 10-20 minutes. Follow with vegan concentrated balancing toner, an anti-inflammatory tincture to help calm, heal, reduce inflammation, detox, and protect with a high precentage of natural salicylic acid from white willow and pharmaceutical-grade skin balancers and vitamin C polypeptides. Finish up withand facial lift ultimate firming cream that’s formulated to make skin more luminous and smooth, and improve visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, loss of firmness, uneven tone, and reoccurring dryness with lots of good stuff like antioxidants, such as olive leaf and green tea, hyaluronic acid, essential omega oils, caffeine, yeast extract, shitake, and time-released vitamin C.

Cost: Only a small amount of the peel is needed. The one-ounce bottle has an estimated 12-14 of applications so the estimated cost per application is $5.36 to 6.25. Available at sukipure.com, select natural and organic stores, and on amazon.com.

Do Tell

Have you ever tried a peel at home or at a spa? What’s your experience been like? Are you looking for something that works better than most home masks? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from companies like Benefit, beauty.com, and Sephora.

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4 comments for “The Next Best Thing to a Professional Facial”

  1. [...] Read the original:  The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial [...]

    Posted by The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial | acne solution | April 28, 2009, 6:09 am
  2. [...] More here: The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial [...]

    Posted by The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial | April 28, 2009, 6:16 am
  3. [...] Read the original:  The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial [...]
    P.S. - Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

    Posted by The Next Best Thing to a Spa Facial | acne solution | April 28, 2009, 10:38 am
  4. Great blog! exactly what i was looking for- going to buy the ren product today!

    Posted by sefaly pitamber | May 13, 2009, 2:23 am

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