DIY facial peels at home

It’s been a while since I’ve done any blogging about my skin care resolutions. I’ve taken some drastic steps of late (well, drastic to me).

Last month, I splurged on a Vitalize facial peel from the doctor’s office. I hoped for more than the experience provided, honestly. I hardly peeled at all, and the entire experience didn’t bring the radiance and clarity I was hoping for, but I’ve been told that for the best results, a series of 3-6 peels is best. At over $150 a pop? Not in my budget.

Here is where we must talk softly, because I’ve ventured into DIY land. Vitalize facial peels are sold on ebay, but without the retinoic acid, because that’s only sold to doctors. Vitalize is a mixture of lactic and salycic acids, which provide a light peel on their own (called a “lunchtime peel” since they require little to no downtime). For better results, these “combination peels” are followed up by a different acid (usually retinoic acid in the Dr.’s office) which cause the most peeling action, and penetrates slightly deeper.

My first venture in home facial peels was to apply the Vitalize I bought (and it wasn’t cheap, even on ebay), just by itself. I was very nervous, and applied 2 light coats of the Vitalize peel, and felt the burn the same as the doctor’s office. However, I barely peeled or flaked at all, so after doing some more research from other DIYers, I’ve found adding a peeling acid can help you get the most from the peel.

TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is sold on at various strengths, and decent prices. TCA is the active ingredient in the popular Obagi Blue Peel, and when used at 20% (or even 25%) can provide what is known as a “medium peel,” meaning it penetrates deeper than the light, “lunchtime” peels, and requires a bit more recovery time.

But I’m not that ballsy. I bought the 12% TCA and plan to dilute it to about 8% with distilled water to use for my next DIY treatment. For combination peels, you don’t want to shoot for the moon, and caution is good in my world. This is acid that we are putting on our face, after all. And I should mention, I’ve waited 2 weeks between each peel, and my intention is to continue the peels over the next 2 months, so results will be ongoing still. Two to three weeks between peels is what my doctor recommended for in-office work, and at this point, I’ve never needed downtime to recover (my peels have all been very light).

For others who want to research their own DIY facial peels, you may wish to look into Jessner’s, which is a combination peel also sold on, and it contains slightly higher percentages of the salycic and lactic acids than the Vitalize version but at a much more affordable cost.

Lastly, the skin care experiment wouldn’t be complete without a new miracle water, so I gave in and bought a sample sized bottle of SK II Facial Treatment Essence. Hyped for its anti-aging and pore reducing qualities, SK II is loaded with “pitera,” derived from sake wine and touted as, literally, miracle water. Insanely expensive at retail, I found a sealed sample on ebay and nabbed that instead. My bottle arrived yesterday, I’ve used it twice. It feels nice and light, velvety smooth, and tightens the skin without making it feel dried out. Miracles? Not yet, but let’s give it time. At the very least, I figured it would soothe the new skin that I’m revealing through the peels.

Before I go, I want to add that doing home peels takes steady nerves, prevailing logic and common sense, as well as some cojones. If you do take on the challenges yourself, remember… go slowly. Patch test, especially if you’ve never had peels done in a professional setting. And for goodness sake, keep your delicate face out of the sun! I’ve discontinued using all other retinol products (including my tretinoin night cream, too harsh), have been using a higher SPF daily, and wearing hats religiously to protect my face from sun damage. Be careful, use your common sense, and then go for it!

I’ll keep you posted on my results!