Sometimes scrubs and cleansers just don’t seem tough enough to handle my acne and problem skin. Therefore, I recently decided I needed something stronger to help me: a medical spa-like acid peel.
Acid peels don’t actually peel off visible layers of skin, like you might see happening on your back or on your shoulder after a bad sunburn heals. No, not at all. Instead, the acids simply dissolve the top few layers of dead skin cells, revealing fresh, vibrant new skin below that is ready to soak up your serum or moisturizer.
A properly applied peel should not hurt you, although if you have sensitive skin, you should probably stay away from at-home peels altogether, and consult with a dermatologist before even considering a medical spa peel.
In this case, I selected the Dr Song 20% Salicylic Acid Peel by Dr Song Medical. Dr. Song Medical generously gave me a free bottle to use as a sample, so I was able to try the product in different ways over several weeks.
This peel is different from other acid peels on the market because of its high concentration of ance-fighting salicylic acid. Most bath and body products only contain 2% salicylic acid, and this is considered strong. In contrast, this gel from Dr Song has 20% salicylic acid content, making it an acne destroyer extraordinaire.
The first time I used this product, I applied a thin layer of the gel-like peel all over my face, taking care to avoid the eyes, mouth and nostrils. The peel smelled slightly medicinal, but not in an off-putting way.
I started to feel my skin tingling almost immediately, so I followed the instructions and rinsed everything off using lukewarm water after only 60 seconds. My skin felt clean, but not tight, afterwards. I had wanted a little more softness, but I was still pleased with the fresh, sanitized feeling.
The next time I used the peel, I kept it on my face for 120 seconds. The glass-tipped applicator made it easy to spread the gel without getting it into my eyes or mouth. At 120 seconds, the tingling was intense, so I rinsed everything off before “tingly” became “searing pain.” Once again, I liked the clean, healthy feeling of my skin after the peel, but I did not see major differences–yet.
The next morning, I noticed one of my burgeoning zits had shrunk, dried and ceased looking red and angry like it had looked the night before. Success! The peel halted a bout of acne in its tracks before my forehead got taken over by ginormous red bumps.
A few days later, I applied the Dr Song peel as a spot treatment for acne only. I used a specialized, narrow-tipped swab from the beauty store (the kind you usually use to apply eyeliner and cosmetics), dabbed my acne spots precisely without spreading the gel anywhere else and waited 120 seconds.
The gel tingled as expected, and after the two minutes were over, I rinsed off the peel and examined my forehead in a magnifying mirror. (TMI warning: The next sentence about my acne might be too much information for some, so proceed with caution from here.) To my great excitement, my acne spots had little white heads on them now, indicating the top layers of oils and dead skin cells that had clogged my pores had been removed, allowing impurities to exit my skin. I am always excited when a bath and body product shows evidence it is actually working, and this was clear enough evidence to me that the product was helping.
The next day, my acne had shrunk, dried and calmed down completely. I still had a little healing to do, but a massive outbreak was avoided.
In conclusion, this peel is effective as a spot treatment to conquer acne quickly–a major benefit, especially if you have a party or a wedding coming up and need instant help without visiting the doctor for a cortisone shot.
As a general weekly acid peel, I think Dr Song 20% Salicylic Acid Peel does what it is intended to do: it thoroughly sloughs off dead skin cells, oils and debris, leaving your skin feeling clean and re-set. You won’t see an instant visual result, but your skin texture will prove the product worked. You can use this peel if you have normal or oily skin. Sensitive skin types should avoid all peel products. I will definitely use this product again.
Where you can get your acid peel (and where I got mine): Amazon