The Top 8 At-Home Peels

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Here are a slew of do-it-yourself at-home chemical peels, which are designed to work similar to professional ones but with a lower percentage of active acids. “At-home peels are a cheap and easy way to retexturize the skin,” says New York dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD. “I tell all my peel patients to use a 20 percent glycolic acid pad every other night to keep the skin looking its best.” To prevent overpeeling, always follow the directions and let your skin-care expert know what other topical products you are using.

To Control Oily Skin

Suitable for controlling oily skin but also able to hydrate and rejuvenate it too, Omorovicza Copper Peel ($150) combines the sebum-reducing power of blue copper paste and lactic acid to provide a deep down cleanse.

To Brighten

Origins Brighter By Nature Brightening Peel ($37.50) employs skin-tone perfecting fruit based acids like goji berry, grape seed, cranberry and blueberry extracts plus salicylic acid to remove dead cells and give way to better looking skin. 

For Blemished Skin

Brazilian Peel Peel Clear ($60) combines a double dose of skin-clearing salicylic and glycolic acids with Acai berry to safely clear up problematic skin and create new collagen to tackle acne scars, too.

Source: Ivan Bliznetsov/iStockphoto

My aesthetician sometimes performs microdermabrasion before a chemical peel. Is this really necessary since both are forms of exfoliation?

Dr. Gerstner points out,“There’s really no harm in performing both microdermabrasion and a peel in the same session.” The reason why so many professionals choose to do this is because both treatments gently remove the uppermost layer of skin so that the effects of the peel are better enhanced by the act of microdermabrasion. Whether your skin-care expert chooses to layer the treatments or perform something like the Lumixyl SilkPeel (a two-in-one that combines diamond-assisted microdermabrasion with skin-specific ingredients that’s a Hollywood pre-show must-have), the end result will be the same. “Chances are, you won’t be any more red, irritated or flaky than if just one or the other was done,” says Dr. Gerstner.

For Fighting Discoloration

With a triple threat of key brightening agents like mandelic acid, azelaic acid and phytic acid, Philosophy’s dark spot and discoloration eliminating Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel ($68) helps reduce unevenly toned skin.

For an Overall Skin Refresher

Comprised of two steps housed in one convenient tube. Dr. Brandt Laser A-Peel System ($75) harnesses the peeling power of glycolic and lactic acids to purportedly rival the effects of what’s garnered in-office.

For Diminishing Fine Lines

A home-safe version of traditional in-office glycolic acid peels, Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA10 ($65) works to rejuvenate the skin so that lines and wrinkles are less evident. Plus, when used regularly, the peel preps the skin to better absorb moisturizing products.

Source: Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock

Take Care of Your Skin Post-Peel

Follow these easy steps to ensure healthy post-peel healing and the best results possible.
  • The day of a light peel, don't apply products that contain retinol or glycolic acid. With TCA peels, avoid these ingredients for one week.
  • Wash with mild cleansers and steer clear of scrubs as well as exfoliators, which can incite irritation and sensitivities.
  • Keep the skin hydrated. Apply calming creams to promote healthy healing.

For a Smoother Complexion

The presoaked towelettes in Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel ($85) make for an easy application in the two-step system that works to reduce fine lines, diminish discoloration for improved skin tone and minimizes pores for a more radiant-looking complexion.

For Total Skin Rejuvenation

Ole Henriksen Micro/Mini Peel System ($95) incorporates natural ingredients in a three-step system to deliver powerful skin rejuvanting effects. An almond polish simulates a microdermabrasion treatment followed by the lemon strip works as a glycolic and lactic acid peel using orange and lemon extracts. The final step, chamomile comfort helps smooth and calm the skin.


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  • Heather Scoggins

    It really scares me how many bad pictures, and high doses of chemical peels are out on the internet. All you have to do is watch YouTube and you will be scared to try what some of these people are doing. I would think they would regulate this market more being that in Texas licensed skin care specialist's can not apply over 30% concentration without a doctor being present.

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  • Jennifer Hunter

    There are many at home peels. All provide benefits to your skin. It’s important to understand your skin type and condition before purchasing over the counter products. One of my favorites of an over the counter peel is Renewal for Mature Skin by Reviva Labs. The active ingredients are: Purified water, 10% glycoloic acid polymer (extracts of sugar and rhubarb), extracts of pumpkin, peach, sage, comfrey, chamomile, witch hazel, vitamins A, D and E, safflower oil, sunflower oil. I use this on my face three times a week. The product improves texture of aging, sun-damaged or blemished skin for a smoother, younger look. Renewal night cream is an exfoliating product, please be sure to wear sunscreen during the day to prevent hyperpigmentation when using any peels. Jennifer Hunter Aesthetician, Skin Care Specialist

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