July 15, 2020

The Best Exfoliating Peels for Every Skin Concern

Do Wear a (Physical) Sunscreen

Dermatologists recommend everyone wear sunscreen every day, but if you’re using a chemical exfoliant, it’s even more important. “You’re leaving your skin a little more exposed, since you are removing those top layers of the epidermis,” says Dr. Marchbein, who recommends a physical (or mineral) formula. “Physical sunscreens protect skin that hyperpigments easily by creating a literal barrier that reflects off the sun, while chemical sunscreen actually absorbs some of the heat, and can worsen pigmentation issues,” she explains.

Don’t Combine Peels with Physical Exfoliators

Going overboard on exfoliation can irritate skin and lead to eczema, redness, dryness, inflammation and acne breakouts. When using a chemical exfoliant like a peel, “Hold off on any scrubs made from granular particles,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “I also recommend avoiding loofah or Buf-Pufs, and anything else abrasive on the skin.”

Do Incorporate Days of Repair

“People who exfoliate every day run into issues with their skin barrier, so I recommend spacing out your peels by four nights,” says Dr. Bowe. (If you have very sensitive skin, Dr. Marchbein recommends using a peel only once a week.) On off days, Dr. Bowe advises you use products with ingredients that restore the skin barrier, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil and squalane.