Just because you can buy something online, doesn’t mean you should. Trichloroacetic acid, a main ingredient in the kind of chemical peel you would get from an esthetician or a dermatologist, is easy to obtain but it’s not safe to use yourself at high concentrations.
That’s because applying strong acids to your skin literally eats away at the top layer of skin — and, if the acid is strong enough, deeper layers as well. The Odyssey reports that DIY skin peels have become a thing on Instagram and YouTube, often featuring acids that are not appropriate for home use. The makeup artists who demonstrate these peels often end up with what look like serious burns.
And you should never be doing chemical peels on yourself because you risk causing a chemical burn if you don’t properly neutralize or prep your skin. And you might be contraindicated for a peel and perform it—then you react. Always seek a professional for peels.
— Your Skincare Fav™️ (@caveofbeauty) September 13, 2019
While you can find instructions for at-home chemical peels online, dermatologists and estheticians everywhere emphasise that anything beyond an extremely superficial peel is something you need to do with a professional. An esthetician can perform some types of peels; deeper ones are the territory of physicians.
Either way, a professional will check for contraindications, or reasons that you should not do a peel, which may include sunburns, previous treatments that damaged the skin, and certain medical conditions or medications. They can also make sure that your skin is prepared for the procedure, and that the peel you want is actually able to give you the results you are looking for.
Most importantly, they will try to make sure that the peel doesn’t go any deeper than it’s supposed to, and they’ll help you with after care. For example, you may need to wear sunscreen constantly for days to months afterward to avoid further damage.
So no matter how good those Instagram results look, remember that chemically burning your own skin is a thing to do with professional help, if you choose to do it at all.