Question: I’d like to try microdermabrasion or a peel, but I’m afraid to do it at home. Do those kits work or should I go to a med spa?
Answer: For most women, a mild exfoliation from a peel or microdermabrasion kit one or two times a week (at home!) will do the trick to make your skin healthy and glow. And it can save mucho time and money. These at-home treatments don’t go deep enough to tackle major wrinkles and acne scars — those are better left to the pros — but they are strong enough to visibly freshen your skin.
Here are the basics: At-home Microdermabrasion kits use physical exfoliation to help slough away the top layer of skin, letting fresh baby skin show through and encouraging your body to create collagen. It gives skin a healthy glow and will help increase cell turnover. A chemical peel does the same thing, but with acids — usually Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Trichloroacetic Acids (TCAs) — to remove built-up dead skin cells and excess sebum. Salicylic acid, another oft-used ingredient in peels is good for those with a history of acne, brown spots or sun damage.
Here are the exceptions: A word of caution, “Over exfoliating can result in acne or very dry skin,” warns New York dermatologist, Ariel Ostad, MD, so make sure you don’t overdo it. Skin needs time to recover between treatments so don’t use a peel or microdermabrasion more than two times a week. Always see a dermatologist if you need a more intense exfoliation that goes deeper into the dermis to treat serious skin conditions like severe acne, scaring, or dark patches, explains Ostad. He also recommends checking with your doctor or practitioner before you use any home kit to avoid any side effects or reactions.
Here are your options: Most peels and microdermabrasion kits target specific skin problems, so read the labels and ingredients to get a product most tailored to what you want. Here are some to try:
Kate Somerville Clinic-To-Go resurfacing Pads, $48 (pictured above)
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $28
Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System, $24
Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion, $41
Do you do at-home treatments or prefer the spa?