At-Home Peels for Better Skin

I got a peel done once from a professional, it was $150 and didn’t do anything. Soon after that I began dabbling in the wonders of at-home DIY peels to slough off the top layer of skin when I’m starting to look dull and sluggish. What better time than fall to revive the skin that the sun damaged while you were basking in it all summer long. Here are a few peels I’ve tried that are sure to get your skin back to a brighter state.

I’m a huge fan of Glycolic acid, I’ve used it daily in various forms for years because of its ability to turnover skin without making you as sun-sensitive as its rivals. I love Glytone, they have a full collection of effective skin care for face and body that works like crazy to improve all sorts of skin problems while maintaining the skin’s ph so the irritation is minimal. You can use a thin layer of Mini Peel Gel up to a few times a week for 10 minutes to see brighter, clearer, tighter skin almost immediately without redness, irritation, or downtime. It’s a perfect compliment to your current regimen.

Your skin will look like it has just taken a deep breath of fresh air when you use The Oxygen Peel. Philosophy uses an oxygen foam to infuse the skin and give it an instant noticeable radiance. It’s the perfect treat pre-event or for when you haven’t been getting enough rest and your skin can tell the tale. 

Cane + Austin have simplified their line into two jars, one meant for skin with acne and the other for wrinkling and pigmentation issues. These glycolic-soaked Treatment Pads work as a daily retexturizer  to help peel back the layers of wrinkled, uneven skin to reveal a brighter look. It’s a gentle, daily way to ease into better skin over time.

You don’t have to completely desecrate your skin to get some positive changes, at-home peels like these are genus because you can get some great results while keeping your skin in tact.

Pore-Clogging Ingredients

My super fantastic and talented aesthetician Tjaden Lotito of the Skin Studio in Wash Park here in Denver found this incredible new line that’s specifically for acne. It’s called Face Reality which I haven’t tried so I can’t vouch for the products themselves, but she did share with me a listing they have of pore-clogging ingredients.

If you tend to breakout or have sensitive skin and can’t seem to figure out what to avoid that could be making it worse, here is their master list of top skin offenders that could make the problem worse.

Click to enlarge

Click HERE to see the list on their site, and HERE to learn about their line for breakout-prone skin.

Solutions For Breakout-Prone Skin

I can’t relate to people with constantly clear, perfect skin – so annoying. My skin is a constant roller coaster ride, sometimes clear, sometimes a mess, but I’m always careful about what I use because I know it has the potential to erupt ay any given moment.  I’ve gotten to try out a few lines just for breakouts recently with some success, here are the 3 I’ve used that really work.

I was really excited to try REN’s new ClearCalm, the first line I’ve seen for breakout-prone skin from a line that’s both advanced and natural. They favor Willow Bark, Zinc, Calcium Carbonate, and essential oils with their own Global Protection Complex to calm inflamed skin and clear it up without drying it out.  I’m obsessed with their Anti-Blemish Clay Cleanser even though it’s non-foaming because it coats using French Clay and Manuka Honey to gently pull out debris and leave skin so clean and soft, I often skip the toner.

Average price $30, Sold exclusively at Sephora stores (or online) in the U.S

Dr Murad’s Clean Scene is a new teen-focused line of antioxidant-rich and paraben-free skin basics to get skin on the right track before major breakouts occur. It’s not filled with skin-drying ingredients (although it is meant to chase acne away), it’s a first step into a more grownup skin care routine. I like Begging For Balance, an oil-free moisturizer for all skin types that doesn’t leave a shiny finish behind. I’ve been recommending it to adults who have the occasional flare-up because it’s a great daily moisturizer that gently keeps skin clear.

Average price $20, Sold at Sephora and

There’s another Dr. developed skincare line that really hones in on skin problems and offers up solid solutions. You’ll find the top breakout-fighters from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare if you search for products under ‘acne’ on their site, which also highlights  products that are Cruelty Free, Paraben/ Sulfate/ Phthlate Free, and which are Vegan. They’re really big on easy solutions like their All-In-One Cleanser with Toner and their brilliant EZ4U Towelettes which act as a cleanser, toner, wrinkle fighter, and light moisturizer all in one moistened wipe. Throw them in your gym bag and use them post-workout to prevent breakouts caused by sweating.

Average price $30,, Sephora and

Post-Summer Skin Savers

Here we are back to work and (hopefully) relaxed from the long Labor Day weekend! As the weather changes, I get more and more emails about skincare. Since basking in the sun can do a number on the skin, I have a few fixes to cure post-summertime skin problems.

Soaking up the sun can trigger oil production making skin greasier than ever. Calm inflamed skin and chase away shine with Erno Laszlo’s  fantastic Antioxidant Mattifying Complex, a hydrator/treatment that nourishes the skin with gentle hydration while matting out shine and protecting with SPF 15. This is a fantastic solution for women (and men) who have out of control oily skin because its gentle hydration encourages skin to normalize and produce less oil over time.

It’s all fun and games in the sun until you realize those rays have left their mark on your skin. DERMAdoctor has a treatment to fade away sun damage without using hydraquinone. It’s a brightener called Immaculate Correction and it even fades  stubborn melasma.

Wind, sun, and the overall neglect of the skin can lead to a nagging dullness that’s easy to spot and hard to lick. White Recovery Pure Vitamin C Intense Brightening Serum from Shu Uemura has an all-star line up of potent ingredients to banish dark spots, and give tired skin a youthful glow.

That super thin skin around your eyes is among the first to show age, largely due to squinting in the sun. Don’t forget to always wear your shades outside and use an eye cream to un-do damage like Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes from Vichy which contains vitamins, retinol, and hyaluronic acid to reduce wrinkles and boost hydration.

Aztec Secrets Indian Healing Clay – World’s Most Powerful Facial…

It’s not that I was in the market for another clay mask, but it wasn’t possible for me to walk past a giant tub with a label attached claiming to be the “world’s most powerful facial,” and also read that you’d be able to “feel your face pulsate!”

And it was only $8.

Inside of this 1 pound tub is the real deal – 100% natural Calcium Bentonite, a green clay that’s been used to clean and detoxify the skin for thousands of years. The amount included will allow me to mix mud masks for probably the next 10 years, 5 if I’m using it for body wraps like they also suggest doing.

I found it at Vitamin Cottage, I’ve probably walked right past it 100 times.

You’ve seen this right? 
A glimpse of the powder, it’s completely unscented too which I really like.

I didn’t mind making the paste, it was easy to scoop a small amount into a bowl and add some cider vinegar (their recommendation and great for tightening pores) which activated and awakened the clay making it temporarily bubble.

I opted for a thicker paste, the usual consistency for a clay mask like this.

And then it happened. Sure enough my face was pulsating. Every little heartbeat pulled my skin tighter and tighter until it was dry and ready to be removed. When I walked back into the bathroom, I wanted to laugh at how crazy my face looked but I couldn’t move it.

See how it’s pulling the skin under my eye down?

I swear if it were clear I’d wear it under makeup daily, like a face lift you brush on.

So since it’s just us girls, and my vanity left me years ago,  it’s totally worth showing how crazy my whole face looked.

Doing my best ‘droopy’ face. 

Ok, here’s the thing – the overall softness and glow my skin had after I took it off was pretty remarkable. It cleans out pores better than a ton masks out there for a lot less money and no impure chemicals. According to their (really bad) website, the clay contains ‘almost every mineral found on Earth’ and the negatively charged clay pulls out the positively charged toxins and pollutiants in the skin. I’ll go ahead and skip the 25 minutes of Googling to see if that’s true and just believe them.

Don’t let my sad, droopy face fool you, I loved this mask. You can find it on Amazon (where you can also read some great reviews), or at a Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, and other health food stores.

Super Duper Skin Care

Skin care is getting more and more advanced, so there’s no excuse to not love the look of your skin. Check out my picks for some skin care that has been giving my skin the royal treatment.

The Super Duper Do-It-All Skin Reviving Serum

SkinMedica’s skin boosting serum is widely regarded as one of the best on the market for changing skin on a few fronts. TNS Essential Serum uses a powerful growth factor combined with peptides to get into the skin cells and repair them so when they make their way up to the surface, they create younger looking skin that’s less wrinkled and more radiant. 7 antioxidants are used to fight off environmental damage to protect the youthful, new skin it helps to create.

The At-Home Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare (formerly MD Skincare) makes a bunch of stuff that I love, but recently I’m addicted to their Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel. For half the cost of a peel done by a pro, you’ll have a month’s worth of pads that will correct redness, calm acne, chase away fine lines, tighten large pores, and address dull skin. It didn’t leave my face flaky or red, it just started doing its thing right away to calm an annoying breakout and give my skin a totally rested and alert look.

The Smart Cleanser 

Who cares about a cleanser right? You rub it on then wash it all off, it doesn’t matter what’s in it as long as it’s getting skin clean. Not true with Erno Laszlo because they’re  taking cleansing a step further with their Firmarine, a Spirulina Maxima and Algae Extract rich cleansing bar that strengthens and firms the skin even after it’s washed away.

The Beautiful Moisturizer

I’ve been prepping my client’s skin with Intraceuticals Opulence Moisture Brightening Cream because it adds so much radiance to the skin, I’m cutting down the amount of foundation I use on them by half. I wore it today by combining it with a drop of liquid bronzer which made my skin practically glow. How many moisturizers can make your skin look that good instantly?

The Nourishing Eye Oil

Eye cream, yes, but eye oil? You bet. Before bed, I’ve been using an oil under a cream for added moisture before wearing a silk eye mask to keep it all in place. You don’t have to do the whole routine like I do, just get a moisturizing oil like Bioelements new All Things Pure Eye Oil. It absorbs easily into the skin and has an ingredient lineup that’s so pure you could eat it.