At-home peels may seem like the no-brainer protocol for perfect skin. But, like most products, not all peels are created equal (nor do the at-home variety come with the extra advantage of having a professional administer them), so it’s essential to know what to look for, and how exactly to use them before they start confronting any of your skin concerns.
Like most at-home versions, at-home chemical peels are not as strong as in-office chemical peels. “The at-home variety very slowly improve texture and tone and may help to improve acne and fine lines,” says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD. “But, the directions are to be followed carefully, as you can still burn your skin.” Here’s, the best multitaskers on the market for every skin concern.
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Best For: Large, Congested Pores
Quick enough to incorporate into even the busiest days, each of these pre-moistened pad contains a blend of AHAs and BHAs to de-gunk packed pores and slough away dull, dead skin cells for a brighter, clearer complexion.
Best For: Fighting Fine Lines
Exfoliating acids are balanced with soothing algae in this wash-off peel that’s a must for those looking for a quick, overnight glow. (So, all of us?)
Best For: Fighting Dark Spots
These dual-sided pads offer up a double-dose of better-skin benefits in seconds. Exfoliate with the textured side, drenched with vitamins C and B3, plus AHAs, then smooth on nourishing, brightening ingredients with the embossed side.
Best for: Mature Skin
SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads ($95 for 30)
If your skin can’t tolerate a nightly retinol, try one of these pads every three or so days, instead. Packing all of the power of AlphaRet (the derm-loved retinoid the brand has become famous for), into each individually packaged pad, it delivers a dose of skin-brightening, blemish-clearing power that’s a bit easier to handle. (Don’t forget to top it with a moisturizer.)
Best for: A Daily Option
A favorite of celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian West and Selena Gomez (to name a few), this at-home peel is a constant best-seller at Sephora for its radiance-boosting results, accessibility—there’s three versions to ensure you’re using the best for your skin type—and ease of use: Swipe step 1 all over, wait two minutes, then follow with step 2. No rinsing required.
Best for: A Serious Anti-Aging Boost
Not for the faint of heart, Obagi Clinical’s latest results-driven launch is essentially the long-awaited, at-home sister of the coveted in-office Blue Radiance Peel. Each vial (one is used per treatment) houses a potent blend of salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids to brighten and even tone at home and, as you can imagine, delivers some pretty stellar results.
Best for: Sensitive Skin
M-61 Powerglow Peel ($66 for 30)
With more than 500 rave reviews on Bluemercury, this one-minute treatment makes a quick impression. Expect brighter, smoother skin—courtesy of glycolic acid and vitamin K—plus zero irritation, thanks to our friend chamomile and zero synthetic fragrance, in less time than a commercial break.
Best for: A Gentle Option
Eve Lom Rescue Peel Pads ($75 for 60)
If you’re new to the world of peels but your #skingoals involve silky smooth skin and megawatt radiance, these biodegradable pads are packed with salicylic, glycolic and lactic acid (plus natural botanicals to soothe any irritation), making them a no-brainer.
Best For: Congested Pores
This two-part peel begins by detoxing the skin, pulling out dirt, grime and oil that stresses the skin, and follows up with a brightening boost from the oxygen foam step. The result? Clear, radiant skin for days.
Best for: A Natural Option
The pink, jelly-like consistency and fresh, herbal fragrance of this mask certainly isn’t your typical peel presentation. But, the instantaneous, glow-inducing results (the formula is rich in pore-minimizing pomegranate enzymes, detoxifying pink clay and cell-stimulating white willow) will make you an immediate believer.
Best for: More Sensitive Skin Types
bliss that’s incredi-‘peel’! ($22 for 15 pads)
If you have sensitive skin and tend to steer clear of peels, these glycolic resurfacing pads will deliver results, minus the redness. Like the name suggests, glycolic acid helps target fine lines and retexturize skin, but the real secret is in the calming witch hazel and licorice extract that work in tandem to soothe skin instead of stressing it out.
Best For: An All-Inclusive Treatment
Ole Henriksen POWER Peel Transforming Facial System ($50)
Designed from the popular treatment at the Ole Henriksen clinic, this three-step peel covers all your bases when it comes to rejuvenation. The Almond Polish exfoliates away dry, dull skin to prepare for the Lemon Strip, which brightens and exposes a smooth texture. The Chamomile Comfort soothes and calms after the exfoliation process, leaving behind a youthful glow.
Best For: An Affordable Glow
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($34 for 60 pads)
These pads use just the right amount of lactic and glycolic acids to make theme gentle enough to use on sensitive skin (although they’re designed for all skin types, too). Use them for a quick boost in radiance, for a super smooth makeup application, or for a quick texture polish.
Best For: Brightening Dull, Darkened Skin
These peels are gentle enough to use daily, but powerful enough to do away with dull skin, dark spots and uneven skin tone with continued use.
Best For: A Quick, Convenient Glow
These double-sided wipes (one is textured to exfoliate skin and the other is smooth) are infused with glycolic acid to minimize pore size, even skin tone and impart a glow in a flash. While these shouldn’t be used in place of your go-to makeup wipes, try using these right after for a quick glow.
Best for: Acne-Prone Skin
June Jacobs Anti-Aging Blemish Control Peel Pads ($48)
Aging skin isn’t the only type of skin that can benefit from a peel. Perfect for combatting existing blackheads and blemishes these peel pads use 2% salicylic, glycolic and alphahydroxy acids to treat and prevent breakouts. Besides the superconvenient pad delivery system, there’s also a high concentration of antioxidants and a unique blend of broccoli, blue daisy, willow bark and tea tree oil. Together, they up the ante to detoxify, soothe, and even help absorb oil.
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