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The Beauty Memo

Aqua peels: everything you need to know

Korean beauty innovators swear by the pore-blitzing aqua skin peel treatment. GRACE TIMOTHY explains why you should join them


Aqua peels are one of the most popular treatments in dermatology clinics in Korea – and for very good reason. These express treatments blitz pores with an exfoliating water-based gel and a suction device that literally pulls out gunk from the skin and removes blackheads, while skin is flooded with moisture. It’s often combined with other powerful active ingredients to really deliver a punch. “By combining the naturally exfoliating power of water with hydrating hyaluronic acid and botanicals, aqua peels slough off dead cells without using harsh acids,” says London-based aesthetic doctor Maryam Zamani.

The results – think smooth, glowing and evenly toned skin – are impressive, which explains why many Korean women are visiting their dermatologist two or three times a week for a lunchtime treatment (it also requires zero recovery time). Hot on the heels of this hugely popular in-clinic service are DIY at-home versions, which combine brightening lactic and glycolic acids.

By combining the naturally exfoliating power of water with hydrating hyaluronic acid and botanicals, aqua peels slough off dead cells without using harsh acids

But the benefits of water don’t end there. We all know the eight-glasses-a-day rule, but now ‘carbonated cleansing’ is gaining traction – it’s an increasingly popular search term and a very simple mini-treatment to carry out at home. Essentially, it consists of cleansing your face with fizzy water and allowing the bubbles to purify pores and remove dead skin cells.

“It’s thought that carbonated water causes blood vessels to dilate and improves the absorption of topical ingredients, but the data is lacking,” says Dr Zamani. Still, fizzy-water washing is a major player in South Korea and Japan, thanks to its skin-softening results.

To try it for yourself, “start with cotton-ball soaks,” advises Lauren Abramowitz of Park Avenue Skin Solutions. “Soak cotton-wool balls in equal parts of still and fizzy water and hold them on your skin for 5-10 minutes, once a week.” Or emulate the Koreans and take the plunge: “Submerge your face into a bowl of half-still, half-carbonated water for 20 seconds, once a week,” says UK-based Rabbia Aslam, Clinical Director of HC MedSpa. “But avoid if your skin is very sensitive as the bubbles may irritate it.” Non-sensitive skin types will experience a revitalizing clean and a firmer face afterwards. We’ll raise a glass to that.




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