With widespread social distancing and the temporary closure of salons, spas, and dermatology offices, getting a facial right now is basically impossible. Admittedly, the more time I spend avoiding the outside world, the less motivated I feel to keep my twice-daily skin-care routine. Small but stubborn pimples keep popping up across my chin in stress breakouts, and the sudden lack of sun exposure makes me hyperaware of how dull my skin could become in the following weeks.
Thankfully, I've got one must-have product that's keeping my skin in shape while I don't have access to treatments from professionals and am limiting the number of beauty products I order online. That's the 30% Glycolic Acid Peel by Sobel Skin Rx, a brand from New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel.
Thanks to its very straightforward name, it's not hard to guess what this product's purpose is. In short, it's a less potent version of the in-office glycolic peels you can get from a dermatologist, which benefit the skin in a multitude of ways. In-office peels, according to previous ishonest reporting, can result in fewer acne breakouts and diminished appearance hyperpigmentation and dark circles, among other benefits. Glycolic peels are kind of like the Meryl Streep of skin-care treatments: There are very few roles they can't play.
For $46 you can achieve similar results â€” without a recovery period â€” thanks to Sobel Skin Rx's at-home peel and its potent concentration of glycolic acid. On a molecular level, glycolic acid the smallest and therefore most effective alpha hydroxy acid out there. "There's a reason glycolic is the acid used the most in anti-aging products and doctors'-office peels," says Ranella Hirsch, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. "It does the job."
Using products containing this powerful ingredient can give an immediate refreshed look and feel, but they also help reduce acne and diminish dark spots in the long run when used consistently over time. Most daily glycolic toners contain around 2 percent glycolic acid and other at-home peel systems usually max out at 15 percent glycolic acid, according to cosmetic chemist Ginger King. Sobel Skin Rx's peel contains 30 percent. In other words, this shit is strong.
For that reason, Sobel recommends that acid peel newbies only use this peel once per week for two minutes at a time until the skin gets used to being exposed to such a strong concentration of glycolic acid. "As glycolic acid is a form of alpha-hydroxy acid, it is recommended for your skin to build a tolerance," Sobel explains. "If the peel is well-tolerated on your skin, you can increase the amount of time left on your face in 30-second increments."
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Now, see our editor-in-chief's nighttime skin-care routine:
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