When you search for salicylic acid on there, numerous products come up and I picked the first that did so, calling itself a skin peel. I thought that was just fine because I didn't want to use anything on my whole face, merely to spot treat the really nasty bastards - you know, the ones I'm scared people will Twitpic? Anywho, I admit information was a bit...economical, but they promised it was "made from only high quality ingredients, genuine concentrations, superior quality, introductory offer for a limited time!!!!1!" etc. Ok, I admit it, I should be made to take a special test before I can buy anything on eBay because I always fall for their ludicrous claims. Get me some sales patter immunity serum, stat.
Nevertheless, and with one eyebrow firmly cocked in suspicion, I plodded on and bought the 5%. When I got the bottle the very next day, with instructions, let's just say it didn't exactly scream "pharmaceutical grade". It was more of the "poured into a Poundworld plastic bottle on the kitchen table" variety. I should have known it was seriously dodge when the instruction leaflet calmly stated: "Our 30% concentration is medical grade and should only be administered by professionals." Then why the hell are you selling it on eBay? It also stated that besides the alleged 5% of salicylic acid - who is even going to prove that? - the other ingredients were isopropyl alcohol and glycerine. Alcohol. It is my personal policy to never, ever use alcohol on my face. Take a look at how terrible it is for your skin - it causes cells to die for one thing.
Anyway, for reasons of blogging integrity, I thought I must try out this junk and give it what no black man ever got: a fair trial. I sacrifice so, so much for you, Bossy Thing. With some trepidation, I took the bull by the horns. I do it all for you, dear reader. They recommended applying it with some fanbrush but I thought, Hell to the N-O. This pizza face needs every drop. So I opened it and got a little dab on my finger and...lawd. You know the stuff people use to clean blades and electrical components? Yeah? METHS? Yes, pretty sure this was meths, or something very similar, parading - rather unconvincingly - as a cosmetic formula. And I was about to put it on my face. That's one step away from toning with Cilit Bang or nail varnish remover - in fact, hold that thought because this here lists all the sort of things that routinely contain isopropyl alcohol, and it ranges from industrial metal cleaners AKA meths to car polish and antifreeze, and - oh look - nail varnish remover. Would you knowingly put nail varnish remover, or acetone, on your face? I don't think so. You might rinse this peel off after 2-3 minutes but gosh darn. This was a "genuine concentration" of neat alcohol all right.
So there I was; I very carefully dabbed a tiny drop onto my chin. Ouch. Instantly it was tingling, stinging, burning... That's because such a high concentration of pure alcohol stimulates the nerve endings, making the skin go red because it is being burnt. Don't be fooled into thinking that tingling means you can really feel a product working - it is your skin freaking out because you are casuing it serious harm! I lasted about a minute with it on my skin and I could feel the burn for hours after. But what do you really expect if you put meths on your face? The ironic thing was, I also came up in spots on that area - the very thing these eBay sellers tell you it will magically cure. That's because the alcohol dries the hell out of skin, conversely stimulating the pore into producing way more oil.
If I haven't yet convinced you and you are still determined to go ahead with a skin peel you bought on eBay, this is the Cosmetics Cop advice on doing peels at home:
We cannot stress enough how potentially dangerous these peels can be. If they're as effective as claimed or if they really contain the amount of acid(s) advertised and the pH is within range for them to work, you could be setting your skin up for some serious damage. In the wrong hands or used incorrectly or too often, at-home peels can cause burns, extremely sensitive skin, discolorations (from loss of pigment), and persistently dry, flaky skin that doesn't respond to even very rich moisturizers. If you decide to ignore our warnings and try this anyway, proceed with caution.If someone came at you and threw acid in your face you would probably be devastated, so don't willingly mess with dangerous chemicals like this. It could leave you with terrible scarring. More than 1,300 people have sadly already bought the "peel" formula I did and if they are not as cynical as I am, they might have since done some terrible, irreparable damage to their skin. Don't fall for it. Try one of these topical commercial BHAs - they are safe and work a million times better.
To give a brief re-cap, using one of these products - which are little more than neat alcohol - is likely to:
- sting and burn, possibly leaving you with chemical burns
- make your skin peel off in strips - it is not safe for any at-home product to cause this
- make your skin oilier - causing more acne
- damage your skin's protective barrier layer, leaving it sensitised.
- MTY London
- Forever Young / Active Solutions
- British Institute of Skin
What I'm saying goes for all the acid peels for sale on eBay - AHA, BHA, lactic, whatever. Don't do it.
While I am tempted to lobby Parliament to rid eBay of these dangerous, unlicenced products, I will instead take the more measured approach of telling eBay themselves to outlaw it. Please do the same. In the mean time, I am going to get a refund for this terrible product - having just about refrained from giving it to my brother to clean his chainsaw with.