Many beauty products create a sensation when they are launched, only to fade into obscurity soon after. But others have serious stamina that transcends the hype – and the Drunk Elephant Baby facial treatment is one of them, and for good reason.
When the TLC Sukari Babyfacial (his ~ official name ~) launched in 2017, it garnered a lot of attention – both good and bad – for its massive 25% AHA and 2% BHA combo. But if I’m being honest, it caught my eye because of the name. Anything with “baby” in the name is like kryptonite to me (my other trigger words include pink, shiny, and Milk, if you were wondering), and as someone who’s lifelong struggles with acne and texture, that seemed like a fine fit for me. Flash-forward to 2021, and the little pink baby bottle is still a staple in my bathroom.
For the uninitiated, Babyfacial is a home peel that contains a mixture of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric and salicylic acids. Not only do these acids help get “baby skin” (as the name suggests) by removing dead skin cells, but they also cleanse pores, lighten dark spots, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
This combo of acids is a big deal because they work in different ways. The AHAs in the mix (these glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acids) essentially loosen the dead skin cells on the surface, effectively helping the skin to remove them. Salicylic acid, on the other hand, is oil soluble, so it can sink deep into the pores and get rid of whiteheads and blackheads quickly.
However, I fully understand that peels can be a bit scary, especially for those with dry or sensitive skin. No worries: this one is actually formulated for all skin types; it compensates for these exfoliators with soothing ingredients like matcha extract, apple extract, and niacinamide (which is known to be anti-inflammatory). In fact, the gentle formula makes it a winner for treating stubborn skin problems like maskne, which can lead to clogged pores. and irritation, which makes it particularly difficult to treat.
Because i have sensitive skin and I take two prescription topicals for my acne, I’m usually nervous about trying a chemical acid peel, but this one has never been a problem for me (although it tingles a bit. as a lip plumper). Although the brand encourages weekly use, I like to use it monthly because my topicals provide a ton of exfoliation and I don’t want to be too rough on my skin barrier. Used sparingly, Drunk Elephant Babyfacial is a monthly reset. Along with the flattened pimples, instant glow, and a silky canvas for makeup, over time I noticed less whiteheads and faded acne scars.
Even if you don’t have ultra-sensitive skin, I suggest you favor this one because of the high concentration of acids. Start with a few minutes once a week before letting him put on the full 20, which is my MO, to avoid redness and irritation. (Whatever you do, don’t be like my dad, a Drunk Elephant devotee who innocently revealed to me that he leaves it on for a whole hour.) Also, put on your scrubs or potent treatments the same day you do. use it so that it does not overload your skin barrier; I skip my topical acne prescriptions after using it to avoid this.
Whenever my skin is on the loose, I know Babyfacial is supporting me. Plus, the promise of baby skin in a bottle will always keep me coming back for more.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Charm. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.