As a woman of a certain generation (read: milennials), it's hard hear the term "chemical peel" and not immediately picture Samantha Jones lamenting "I look like beef carpacio" while hiding under a beekeeper's veil at Carrie's book party. Thanks to Sex and the City, the beauty treatment (and stable, healthy relationships, for that matter) got a bad rap. Despite Samantha's traumatizing experience, chemical peels are actually really amazing for your skin. In fact, one Hollywood aesthetician believes chemical peels are better for exfoliating than scrubs.
Unlike scrubs, which physically exfoliate with their gritty texture, peels are watery and gel-like (so no gross, scrubby beads) and rid your skin of dead skin cells using chemicals. As a self-proclaimed scrub hater, my primary beef with the rocky goop is that it feels like I am ripping apart my skin every time I use it — and it really hurts!
I spoke to expert aesthetician Kerry Benjamin, creator of StackedSkincare, who confirmed my suspicion that scrubs are, in fact, hurtful to your skin. "Peels are much safer than scrubs, which can tear your skin," she tells Bustle. Here are seven more reasons — care of Benjamin — that peels are superior to scrubs (and not just because they won't gunk up your shower drain.)
1. They Speed Up Cell Turnover
As we age, our cells start to degenerate more slowly (and we can't drink Fireball shots the way we did in college, but that's probably for the best), so they need a bit of extra help in the form of exfoliants. Chemical peels, like this one from Benjamin's StackedSkin line, remove dead skin from the surface and makes way for new cells to grow.
2. They Treat Skin Problems
Scrubs may get rid of dead skin cells by abrading the surface of your skin, but that doesn't really help you get to the root of any other problems you may be having. According to Benjamin, peels can actually treat skin concerns including hyperpigmentation, smoothing out fine lines, and dryness. With the correct formula, they can even treat sensitive skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. StackedSkincare's body peel can even help with Keratosis Pilarsis, the chicken bumps on the back of the arms.
3. They Help With Acne
You know when you have a pimple and all you want to do is scrub and scrub and scrub at it until it disappears off of your face forever? Yeah, that's bad for your skin. According to Benjamin, scrubs spread acne causing bacteria, so when you aggressively scrub a zit you're actually paving the way for a full-blown outbreak. Peels kill these types of bacteria, and will help clear up your skin long-term.
4. They're Hydrating
Giving your skin proper hydration is incredibly important, especially in the summer when our bodies tend to be over-exposed to the elements (read: we all spend way too much time in the sun). Over-exfoliating can actually dry out your skin further, which is why peels' hydrating factors make them superior, particularly during this time of year. However, make sure to wear a hat and lather on the sunscreen if you're going to be in the sun after a peel — you're pretty much guaranteed to get a sunburn if you don't because your skin will be totally fresh — like a baby's! Swoon.
5. They're Crazy Easy
Peels self neutralize, so there really isn't a whole lot to 'em. All you need to do is cleanse your face and body the way you normally would, then apply the peel with a fan brush and let sit for 10 minutes — no rinsing or scrubbing required! "With our peels, you can exfoliate head to toe in less than 10 minutes!" Said Benjamin.
6. They're Not Just For The Pros Anymore
You don't need to go to the dermatologist every time you want to get a peel — you can do it in the comfort of your own living room while watching JoJo decide who to give the final rose to. According to Benjamin, at-home peels are the best way to maintain the health of your skin — using them between professional treatments is a great way to boost your results. "I always tell my clients that they can’t just treat their skin when they see me, they have to do it at home too," she said. "They only see me every four to six weeks, they need to be treating their skin at home to maintain their results.
7. You Can Use Them From Head To Toe
Check out Benjamin's video on the proper way to use her body peel, which takes only 10 minutes — you can do it when you get out of the shower and be baby smooth before your Monday night takeout arrives.
Head over to Stacked Skincare's page to stock up on some good-for-your-skin goodies or to learn more about maintaining overall skin health.
Images: Stacked Skincare; StackedSkincare/Instagram