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Glowy Skin Is But a Facial Peel Away

Whether you go pro, or DIY at home, exfoliating peels can turn back the clock on fine lines, hyperpigmentation and rough texture.

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A woman has a professional skin peel applied to her facephoto credit: shutterstock

Soft, radiant skin is a universal sign of beauty

But with external stressors like pollution and sun, and internal agers like that ticking clock, it can sometimes seem like fine lines, rough texture and sun spots have staked a permanent claim on your face. That simply doesn’t have to be the case, says aeshetician Joan Afable of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa at Bayview Village. “If you want to improve skin tone, get rid of fine lines and boost your glow, try a facial peel,” she says.

How it works: Typically, a peel — whether professional or over-the-counter — will include alpha-hydroxy acids (like glycolic, lactic or citric) and/or beta-hydroxy acids (like salicylic). At Hand & Stone, the Active Peel is a mix of glycolic, lactic and salicylic. These acids dissolve the “cement” that links your skin cells together, allowing the dead cells to slough off more easily and reveal healthy skin underneath. A professional peel can contain a higher concentration of acids, which means it achieves faster, more noticeable results. At-home peels are good for regular exfoliation and maintenance in between professional peels.

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The main benefits: Brighter skin, smoother texture, less pigmentation

How often: If you’re simply looking for a skin pick-me-up, follow the label on your at-home product (whether it recommends daily use or once a week) and you should be good to go. If you have larger concerns such as lots of hyperpigmentation or stubborn fine lines, book a series of three pro peels spaced a week apart — if your skin can handle it. Then go back as needed for maintenance every month or two.

Who can benefit: Just about anyone unless your skin is super sensitive or you have active acne or wounds on your face. If you’re using strong acids at home, stop one week before going for a professional treatment.

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Patchology Milk Peel 5-Minute Flash Masquephoto credit: beauty boutique

Patchology Milk Peel 5-Minute Flash Masque

Break in your skin — even if it’s sensitive! — with a gentle peel in cloth-mask form. It takes five minutes and you’ll get the benefits of lactic acid, plus papaya, pineapple and grapefruit enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells, as well as coconut and soy milk to soothe and moisturize easily irritated skin.

$7 at

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Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel GelAndrea Karr

Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel

Only have a minute? No problem. Massage this refining peel into your skin for 60 seconds, then rinse off. Natural papaya and bromelain enzymes will rid your face of impurites and dullness, while a peptide formula promotes cellular regeneration.

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Vichy Idéalia Peelingphoto credit: vichy

Vichy Idéalia Peeling

So gentle that you can use it every night (swipe it on with a cotton pad, skip rinsing and put on your night cream), this glycolic peel will reduce wrinkles and turn your skin into velvet. It also contains antioxidants like fermented black tea and blueberry to combat the damage caused by external aggressors like pollution and UV rays.

$40 at

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Caudalie Glycolic Peel MaskAndrea Karr

Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask

Take a little me time (self-care Sunday, anyone?!) twice a week and apply this glycolic mask for 10 minutes. It’s a combo of a mask, peel and scrub and will boost your radiance — with 85.7 per cent ingredients of natural origin.

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Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Sprayphoto credit: holt renfrew

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray

If you’re looking for a peel with multiple active ingredients (and the ability to treat many issues at once), try Juice Beauty’s Exfoliating Peel Spray. It resurfaces the face with a plant-derived exfoliant, brightens with vitamin C, ascorbic acid and licorice root extract and renews the skin with fruit stem cells. Though the peel does have some soothing ingredients like cucumber extract and aloe, skip it if you have sensitive skin.

$60 at

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The Body Deli Radiance Enzyme Superfood PeelAndrea Karr

The Body Deli Radiance Superfood Peel

Another product that requires a bit more time on the face (15 to 20 minutes), The Body Deli’s peel is a natural solution to dull, rough skin. It’s crammed full of probiotics, plant enzymes and Manuka honey from New Zealand to calm the skin and is the naturally brightening peel you’ve been searching for.

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