From Our Editors
Glycolic Peels: Exfoliating Like Cleopatra
Part of the power of the facial peel comes from glycolic acid. Learn how it does its stuff with Groupon's look.
Before you can enjoy the millennia-old benefits of a glycolic peel, you must first pass a test. The solution used in the procedure can be concentrated with up to 70% pure glycolic acid, meaning your skin needs a pH no lower than 2.5 and no higher than its natural range of 4.5 to 5.5, according to DaySpa magazine. Once the dermatologist or aesthetician gives the green light, the peel typically begins with a cleansing that preps skin by removing excess dirt and oils. The glycolic solution itself may sting slightly as it exfoliates specific areas of the face, but cool compresses can help alleviate this mild discomfort. The posttreatment side effects are equally mild; any temporary redness fades to reveal clearer skin with a more even texture. Depending on a number of factors—chief among which are the person’s skin type and the concentration of glycolic acid used—peels can be repeated up to once a month.
Milk, honey, lavender, and essential oils were the key ingredients in Cleopatra’s legendary milk baths, which have retained their allure across centuries thanks to the pharaoh’s status as an icon of physical beauty. But it’s unlikely that Cleopatra knew the element in those baths most responsible for her queenly glow: the milk’s acids. Her opulent ablutions were a sort of proto-glycolic peel, since the acids in milk, fruit, and sugar cane contain enzymes that break down bonds between aging or damaged skin cells. This process helps skin naturally exfoliate and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes.