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: Treating and Preventing Blemishes
Formulated with acne-fighting salicylic acid plus AHAs, BHAs and a gentle retinoid, this shake-to-activate bi-phase peel keeps breakouts at bay while treating existing blemishes.
Best for: Sensitive, Mature Skin
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Texture Renewal Peel ($78 for 16 treatments)
If you’re hesitant to give retinol a go but want to tackle fine lines and dark spots, start here. Each pad is saturated with a phyto-retinol blend—think: bakuchiol, retinol, ferulic acid and soothing botanicals—for a significant improvement in lines and discoloration sans the irritation.
Best For: An Ultra-Gentle Polish
Gentle enough to be used morning and night, this water-activated powder cleanser is filled with exfoliating enzymes and plumping hyaluronic acid to unclog pores and reverse a lackluster complexion in a single wash.
Best for: Serious Smoothing
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Peel & Reset ($110)
The first step of this double-sided peel works to slough off dullness with a blend of enzymes and phytic, ellagic and mandelic acids; step two rebalances skin with healing birch sap and botanicals for glowy, dewy skin in minutes.
Best for: Wrinkle-Fighting Results
Ideal for the retinol-lovers among us, this blend of glycolic acid, niacinamide, retinol and vitamin E doesn’t require skipping a night of the gold-standard ingredient. Apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin and leave on overnight. The result: softer, brighter, more luminous skin come morning.
Best for: Softening Rough, Bumpy Texture
Powered by exfoliating quinoa husk extract, this water-light formula sinks right into skin to even tone and texture without any sticky factor. Designed to be used overnight, layer your gentle skin-care on top to lock in moisture.
Best for: Clinical Results at Home
Packed with professional-level glycolic acid to unveil glassy skin, this includes-everything kit makes for the ultimate foolproof—and dermatologist-approved—facial at home.
Best for: A Serious Brightening Boost
M-61 PowerGlow Peel Extra Strength 20% ($68 for 20)
Consider these exfoliating pads as the tough, show-off big sister to the brand’s original, safe-for-sensitive-skin offering (more on that below). With a whopping 20% glycolic concentration plus salicylic acid for clarity, these potent pads leave skin looking more radiant and dewy overnight.
Best for: Brightening and Clearing Acneic Skin
A quick swipe of these glycolic and salicylic acid–soaked pads unclogs pores, sloughs off dull, dead skin cells and leaves blemish-prone and oily skin types de-slicked and clear.
Best for: Weekly Use for Reactive Skin
A favorite of both Kate Hudson and Adriana Lima, this natural gel formula contains papaya fruit enzymes and plant-based microcrystalline cellulose that help exfoliate away dead skin and antioxidants like green tea, aloe vera, and vitamin E to soothe, calm and hydrate for a smooth, soft result.
Best For: Serious Results Without Breaking the Bank
Turning dull, lackluster skin on its head doesn’t require an hour-long facial anymore thanks to this gentle blend of AHAs, BHAs and enzymes. Apply a thin layer to clean skin, then rinse in three minutes to slough away all traces of a less-than-radiant complexion.
Best For: Rough or Bumpy Texture
For a soft glow that won’t fade the next morning, this mask-meets-peel harnesses vitamin C, plus AHAs and BHAs, to gently and effectively dissolve dull, dead skin and unleash a glowy, bouncy complexion.
Best For: A Long-Lasting Glow
For smoother texture, smaller-looking pores and an overall brighter complexion, this dermatologist-developed formula delivers. Calling on 30 percent glycolic acid but balanced by calendula and chamomile, this potent peel is safe for even sensitive skin types.
Best For: Professional Results at Home
Including everything from a skin-prep cleanser, toner and pre-peel mask—plus an antioxidant serum and gentle SPF to lock in your glow—along with an advanced, enzyme-powered peel, this curated kit delivers professional-grade results right at home.
Best For: Large, Cogested 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: 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: 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 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’! ($24 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 Affordable Glow
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: 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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