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The peels you should be using

Exfoliating gels even out your skin tone.

THE GIST
Exfoliants like face scrubs and peels work by rubbing away dead skin cells, which you then wash off with water. But brands behind peeling gels, a skincare product popularized in Korea, claim their products have an added benefit: When the gel is rubbed onto and absorbed by the skin, tiny balls begin to form, which they say are visible proof that dead skin cells are being removed. Others are skeptical and believe the pilling is caused by the product itself.
EXPERT INSIGHT
The entire outer layer of skin on your face is made up of dead cells, says Sarah Garland, New York City-based senior manager of planning for The Spa at Equinox. There are three types of exfoliation that get rid of that layer: chemical (which burns it off), physical (which buffs it away), and enzymatic (which has enzymes that dissolve the sugars that bind the cells together).

Most peeling gels are physical-enzymatic hybrids, using ingredients like pomegranate or pineapple to weaken the sugars and cellulose or carbomer that physically exfoliate the skin. While companies often claim the visible clumps are made solely of dead cells, they’re actually a mix of cells and the product itself, which is still an effective way to exfoliate.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Peeling gels, like these from Boscia and Peter Thomas Roth, slough off dead skin, encourage cell turnover, and reveal brighter, more even skin. Garland suggests using one two to three times per week (less if you have sensitive skin).

Photo: Getty Images