Clean Beauty Guru Indie Lee on How At-Home Facial Peel Pads Work

I’m swiping right with this peel pad!

I’m swiping right with this peel pad!

Ever seen facial peel pads at your beauty retailer and wonder how a peel in pad form works, or if it works at all? Like, how can a pad be a peel?

Turns out, they do work (says my dermatologist who recommended one to me for sunspots!). Here, clean beauty product maven Indie Lee, who recently launched two new at-home facial peel pads, chats about how they work and where they fit into your daily routine.

So, What’s a Peel Pad Anyway?

I was sent a sample of this  Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel  and really like how easy it is to use, that there’s no fragrance and how it makes my skin feel fresh.

I was sent a sample of this Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel and really like how easy it is to use, that there’s no fragrance and how it makes my skin feel fresh.

Peel pads are exfoliators. “Peel” is just a simple nickname for the act of chemical exfoliation via the pads’ ingredients, such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. “They slough off dead skin—’peeling’ it off to reveal alive, vibrant, healthy and brighter-looking skin,” says Lee.

Why Use a Peel Pad?

It’s freaking easy, that’s why! Swipe, swipe, swipe, and your skin’s texture and tone is improved? Yes, into it. It’s my most favorite thing since my discovery of leave-on nighttime masks. “We’re really busy these days and don’t always take the time for self-care rituals. Peel pads are effective and work quickly. They help the serums and moisturizers you apply afterwards do an even better job,” Lee explains.

Fun fact: Before Indie launched her cult clean beauty brand in 2010, she was an accountant. (Bet that skillset sure came in handy!)

Choose One Based on Your Skin Concern

Do you want to lighten spots, clear pores or combat fine lines? Look for a peel pad that targets your main concern. The Indie Lee Radiance Renewal Peel, for instance, uses glycolic acid derived from caviar lime, then has brightening benefits from banana and mango’s vitamin C, explains Lee. And the Indie Lee Gentle Daily Peel uses beta hydroxy acid from wintergreen and salicylic acid, which “reduces the appearance of redness and keeps pores clear, dissolving excess sebum.”

When and How to Use Facial Peel Pads

Your aesthetician may have drilled into your brain only to exfoliate two to three times per week, and that’s a good practice EXCEPT when it comes to peel pads. Many peel pads are formulated to be gentle enough to use every day—unless you have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin types should stick with two to three times per week, advises Lee. And when you’re using peel pads, don’t use other exfoliators to avoid the potential irritation of over-exfoliating the skin.

Here’s what your nighttime beauty routine looks like with a peel pad:

Pore over this one.

Pore over this one.

PM: Cleanse, peel, wait 30 seconds (brush teeth? hair?), then apply serum and moisturizer

After swiping the pad over your face, let it sit for 30 seconds and do its magic before continuing with your routine. “I recommend using the peels at night to avoid sun sensitivity. However, if you are using them during the day, make sure to take precautions—wear sunscreen or cover up with a hat to protect your skin,” says Lee.

Have you tried a peel pad yet? What about a face serum? Here’s a guide to using face oils.


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