What about peels? Is this store product different from in-office or salon peels?

I am in my mid 30s using a low strength tretnoin0.025% cream under my moisturizer at night. Am I able to occasionally use a Beta hydroxy peel too? (Such as Dr. Gross acid peel pads). How does it compare to an in-office peel?

I think there’s a lot of confusion about peels and for good reason  – the aesthetic industry doesn’t make it easy to compare them!  

It might help to think of it this way.   Anything that causes some or all of the skin to peel/shed whether it’s microscopic (can’t see it) or you look completely scarey for week IS a peel.  So it’s all a matter of depth.   So let’s call them:

  1. Microscopic (can’t see the peeling) like very gentle daily exfoliants (Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica), retinoids (Retin A, retinol, tretinoin, etc.),  and the peel pads that you mention;
  2. Light (a little visible peeling) like gentle glycolic or beta hydroxy peels done in salons and some doctors’ offices;
  3. Medium (moderate visible peeling for 3-4 days) like the medium depth glycolic, or beta hyroxy peels, or lighter TCA peels.  In my opinion, these should be done in dermatologist’s office because there is potential for complications, especially in darker skin types;
  4. Deep peels (peeling for 7-10 day).   Like higher percentage TCA peels and the old phenol peels (rarely used now thank goodness).  Dermatologists or plastic surgeon ONLY!  Much higher potential for pigment problems, infections and scarring. 

The peel strength should correlate to your goals and how much you are in the sun.   Even with peels 1 & 2, you must sunscreen daily and not be in high sun situations for at least a week or two.  I  have my Renova/Retin A patients stop 1 week before sunny vacations or climbing a mountain and resume when back.   

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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