At-Home vs. Med Spa Chemical Peels: What’s the Difference?

Chemical peels are common procedures that you can do at home or in a med spa or dermatologist’s office. It involves the application of topical agents that increase skin’s cellular turnover to reveal the healthy skin below. What’s the difference between at-home and med spa chemical peels, and which one is right for you?

Benefits of a Chemical Peel

Chemical peels have been used for decades to address numerous skin issues. In general, they retexture and rejuvenate to create healthier, younger-looking skin. You may want to consider a chemical peel if you want to improve any of these conditions:

  • Acne: A chemical peel sloughs the outermost layer of dead cells away from your skin, which can help prevent clogged pores. It can also help existing blemishes heal more quickly. 
  • Wrinkles: Wrinkles are the result of age, repetitive facial movements, and sun exposure. Chemical peels can remove skin cells from both the dermis and epidermis, which can help improve the appearance of wrinkles. 
  • Sun Damage: Removing the outermost layer of old, dull skin with regular chemical peels can improve the effects of sun damage with time. 
  • Pigmentation: Hyperpigmentation (such as age spots and dark spots) is a major concern among men and women alike. Regular chemical peels can lighten these spots with time. 

At Home or In a Med Spa?

The biggest difference between at-home and med spa chemical peels is the ingredients and their strength. The most common chemical ingredients used for peels in both homes and med spas are alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), and while these ingredients are effective, over-the-counter solutions often contain very low percentages. This means you will likely need to repeat the peel several times before you will see any noticeable effects. 

Med spa chemical peels are far more powerful because they utilize prescription strength concentrations of the ingredients. Stronger concentrations penetrate more deeply, which leads to better results in a single use. Side effects like redness, peeling, and irritation are more common in this scenario, but they typically don’t last longer than a few days. The results are dramatic, even after one treatment. 

Personalized Care

Med spa staff can provide exceptional customization depending on your individual needs, and this is hard to do with at-home chemical peels. Your skincare professional can adjust the concentration of the peeling agents to suit your unique skin or to address your specific concerns. Many med spas have access to different types of peels, as well, which means they can help you select the option that addresses your skin and your main concerns, whether you want to treat scars, wrinkles, melasma, texture problems, laxity, and more. 

Chemical peels continue to be one of the most popular aesthetic services offered in med spas across the country, and while at-home versions are available, their low concentration of peeling agents requires multiple applications. Med spa chemical peels offer dramatic results in a single visit, and they are customized to your individual needs.

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