Chemical peels do not have to be done by a medical professional anymore. People can do them on their own at home, by themselves, and, with the right product, they can get the same results! To those who are new to the world of at-home peels, or they still cannot find the right product, we are here to help. We present the guide to buying the best chemical peels that anyone can use in the comfort of their own home.
What are Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels provide you with practical, but vigorous exfoliation. That is why a lot of them aren’t recommended to those with susceptible skin. However, chemical peels make the skin look younger and more vibrant. A significant upside to using peels is that they nourish the skin on a deeper level. Peels allow the skin to regenerate. Your skin will appear smoother, and wrinkles would fade. So, you won’t just look better for a week or two – the results are long-lasting.
The peels contain a potent acid solution that has significantly lower pH than your skin’s natural pH. It causes a controlled injury to the epidermis of the skin, whereby the desmosome connections (a sticky substance that holds the layer of dead skin) are dissolved. After the injury, the dead skin sloughs away and is replaced with new glowing skin. The dead skin will dry within 3-5 days of using a peel and begin peeling off your face.
More specifically, chemical peels work to exfoliate the top layers of cells and help clear up clogged pores, dull skin, dry skin, and breakouts. Your skin will look younger and more luminous in no time!
Your skin concerns will determine the required depth and frequency of treatments.
The acid breaks down the desmosome that holds dead skin cells on the surface. This makes room for younger skin cells to migrate upward to the surface. As a result, your skin regains the thickness and elasticity people have in their youth.
You can use chemicals to strip off the dead cells to accelerate the healing of active acne and old scars. The new skin cells that migrate to the surface are smaller, giving the pores more room to unclog sebum.
The most commonly used chemical peels for combating acne are AHAs and BHAs. Peels are best used alongside daily acne treatments.
TCA or Jessner peel can help reduce and remove scars. Shedding scar tissues allows newer, more naturally colored skin cells to migrate to the surface, restoring a smooth appearance.
Chemical peels also stimulate collagen production. This fills in pitted scars and makes the skin both strong and flexible.
Peels help remove layers of damaged and darkened skin, helping expose the new skin hidden underneath. A chemical peel rarely gets rid of existing brown spots without the help of a whitening agent.
Glycolic acid is an all-around alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It penetrates the epidermis layer quickly because it has the smallest molecular weight amongst AHAs. It is gentler than salicylic acid but slightly harsher than lactic acid.
This water-soluble acid commonly treats acne scars, improves mild sun damage, and reduces wrinkles. It also has keratolytic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
An effective at-home glycolic peel should be between 30-50% concentration. Anything higher is too strong.
There is virtually no downtime, unlike other types of peels. Furthermore, it’s suitable for all skin types.
Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning it can effectively seep into the crooks and crannies of pores to dissolve any congestion. As such, it is by far the most effective peels for treating acne. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Salicylic acid is well-tolerated in all skin tones and types. It’s particularly perfect for oily and acne-prone skin.
Unlike glycolic acid and other AHAs, salicylic acid doesn’t increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Alpha hydroxy mandelic acid is derived from the bitter almond nut.
This gentle acid exfoliates the skin with minimal topical discomfort. It penetrates the epidermis slowly and evenly.
Mandelic acid is excellent for treating hyperpigmentation, melasma, and acne scars. Fret not; it won’t cause uneven skin tone or lightening of darker skin tones.
CAUTION: Do NOT use mandelic acids if you have nut allergies.
Lactic acid is a milder acid that will give subtle to no visible peeling. Therefore, it is a perfect choice for those looking for a “light peel.” It is also an ideal peel to start with, regardless of skin types.
Albeit its mildness, lactic acid is effective in combating hyperpigmentation.
CAUTION: Do NOT use lactic acids if you have milk allergies!
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
TCA is a superior acid due to its versatility. It can be applied in a single layer as a superficial peel, or in multiple layers for deeper penetration. TCA is generally well-tolerated in all skin tones and types.
It is beneficial for pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, rough skin, sun damage, skin laxity, acne, and scarring. However, it is not suitable for darker skin tones, as it may cause unwanted skin darkening.
Jessner’s peel is a medium strength peel that’s made up of a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol.
It’s an excellent peel for treating hyperpigmentation and cystic acne. However, avoid Jessner’s peel if you have dry or sensitive skin because it could be somewhat dehydrating.
Downtime for Jessner’s peel could last anywhere from a couple of days to a week.
Chemical Properties of Chemical Peels
Chemical peels have varying levels of pH formulation. A lower pH corresponds to the strength of the acid. The lower the pH of an acid, the more readily it releases its hydrogen ion (H+). It is the hydrogen that disrupts the desmosomes that hold the skin together. Therefore, the lower the pH level, the deeper and more quickly a peel will penetrate your skin.
The peels that you can use at home are slightly different from that in a doctor’s office. At-home chemical peels are buffered with marginally higher pH levels to give you the extra time you need to adapt to it.
Your skin’s natural pH is usually around pH 5.0. Make sure your chemical peels have a pH of around 2.0. When the pH of a solution is 2.0 or below, it means the entire percentage of that acid in the product can exfoliate your skin. However, when the pH is even slightly raised, less of that product will work.
It can be confusing to compare different acids and their percentages. This is because a low percentage in one acid can be much stronger than a higher percentage in another acid.
These are the acid strengths in approximate order, including acids that are similar in strength or irritation:
- 3% salicylic acid
- 50% lactic | 22% mandelic azelaic | 30% glycolic | 40% mandelic | 7% TCA
- 50% glycolic | 15% salicylic | 13% TCA (1 layer)
- 25% Salicylic
- 70% glycolic | 13% TCA (3-5 layers) | Jessners (multiple layers)
- 20% TCA (1-2 layers) | Progressive Peel
- 30% TCA
Your skin sensitivity or tolerance to acids will determine what % of concentration you should choose. If you are new to peeling, it’s best to start with the lowest concentration possible so you can avoid skin irritation. Do a patch test before applying the peel on your face, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Physical Properties of Chemical Peels
The physical solutions used in chemical peels can be classified into three categories:
- Water-soluble acids (Alpha hydroxy acids and trichloroacetic acid)
- Oil-soluble acids (beta hydroxy acid)
- Both water and oil soluble (mandelic acid and resorcinol)
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) differ in the level of exfoliation. AHAs (lactic acid or glycolic acid) increase cell turnover and renewal rates, stimulating a burst of exfoliation. BHAs (e.g., salicylic acid) work by removing dead skin cells. The oil-loving BHAs are only suitable for oily-prone skins. AHAs, on the other hand, have a less drying effect than BHAs on the skin.
Types of Chemical Peels
You may use superficial or medium peels at home. Deep peels are not suitable for at-home use – you need to get it done by professionals. At-home chemical peels are generally milder than professional-grade peels. Nevertheless, they contain similar active ingredients.
The depth of chemical peels is classified into superficial, medium, and peels. The depth of the peel corresponds with intensity.
Also known as “lunchtime peels” – because they involve little to no downtime – superficial peels penetrate minimally and exfoliate gently. These peels can be bought over-the-counter and used at the comfort of your home.
Superficial peels are best suited for people with mild skin problems like minor discoloration but do not wish to have a lengthy recovery period. They are also used to treat fine lines, dehydration, and acne.
Active ingredients: Mandelic, lactic, glycolic, and low-strength salicylic acid
These penetrate more deeply – into the middle layer of the skin. It’s best suited for moderate skin problems such as scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, melasma, actinic keratoses, freckles, and age spots.
Active Ingredients: High percentage glycolic acid, Jessner, and TCA peels
Best At-Home Chemical Peels 2019
|Daily Peel||TCA Peel||Glycolic Acid Peel||Salicylic Acid Peel||Mandelic Acid Peel||Lactic Acid Peel|
|Skin types||All||All||All (except sensitive skin)||Oily and acne-prone skin||All (except those with nut allergies)||All except those with milk allergies)|
|Recommendation||Dr. Dennis Gross||Dermalure||The Ordinary||The Ordinary||Divine||Perfect Image|
Best Daily Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross peel is the best chemical peel that can be used every day. It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and smooth out the skin. The product contains two different pads with active properties.
The first pad is for exfoliating and smoothing out the skin. Also, the pad contains rejuvenating ingredients. After applying it on dry face, use circular motions to massage the product into the skin until the pad is dry. Move on to the next step.
The second pad controls the alpha hydroxy acid activity and delivers anti-aging properties. Furthermore, it balances and nourishes the skin. It keeps the skin perfectly prepped for a more effective skincare routine. Your skin will immediately look glowing and refreshed after use.
Overall, Dr. Dennis Gross peel erases fine lines and evens out the skin. It is ideal for first-time peel users.
Best TCA Peel
DermalureTCA Peel 35%
There are so many benefits to TCA peels. They make your skin look younger and more radiant. Furthermore, this TCA peel nourishes the skin on a deeper level. So, you won’t just look better for a week or two – the results are long-lasting.
TCA Peel by Dermalure is the best trichloroacetic acid peel out there. If you are struggling with acne scars or hyperpigmentation, this product is perfect for you! The peel removes the layer of dead skin and leaves the rest looking smoother and brighter.
As with any other chemical peel, follow the instructions carefully when applying TCA peel at home. The peel is active, so you should be cautious.
We recommend that you do a patch test before you apply the product on your whole face. You’ll be able to test whether your skin reacts well to the peel. If TCA is too concentrated for you, you can dilute it with water.
In case you don’t have experience with this type of chemical peel, you should start with a mild one. That way, your skin will get used to the chemicals, and you’ll reduce the chances of irritation.
When used correctly, this TCA peel will rejuvenate your skin almost immediately. It won’t burn or scar your skin, and it will give you amazing effects that you never thought were possible!
Best Glycolic Acid Peel
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Toning Solution provides gentle exfoliation and improves skin radiance. The main ingredient is glycolic acid, which is best for those with dry and damaged skin. It hydrates and nourishes the skin.
Glycolic acid also improves the production of collagen, which will potentially heal sun damage. It would smooth out fine lines and improve the texture of the skin. What’s more, this product is excellent for those with hyperpigmentation because it helps to brighten dark spots.
We recommend consumers who are starting on this peel to use it for one or two times a week in the beginning. Once the skin adapts to the ingredients, its safe for daily use. It’s normal to experience a tingling or burning sensation at first.
Best Salicylic Acid Peel
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Salicylic Acid is one of the best things that you can put on your skin if it is prone to acne breakouts. The acid will effectively remove the dead skin and unclog your pores. Also, it has excellent anti-inflammatory and soothing powers.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution will exfoliate your face and even out the complexion. If you use it regularly, you can say goodbye to big pores and acne for good!
The solution also contains witch hazel that will leave your skin clear and looking radiant long for days.
You can apply this solution daily. It is gentle for everyday use, but powerful enough to prevent blemishes. What’s more, this salicylic acid can also be used as a spot treatment. Apply a small amount on the affected area, and your pimples will disappear in no time.
Although the acid isn’t abrasive, it can dry out your skin a little bit. That is why it’s essential to keep your face moisturized.
A little goes a long way when it comes to The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution. Therefore, you won’t have to purchase another bottle for months.
However, this solution isn’t going to change everything overnight. Thus, you shouldn’t expect immediate results. But, if you use it regularly, you’ll be seeing results in a few short weeks.
All in all, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution is the best peel that you’ll find on the market. It will exfoliate your skin gently, but effectively and leave you acne-free.
Best Mandelic Acid Peel
Divine Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Exfoliating Therapy
If you’re a fan of Mandelic Acid Peels, you’ll want to try out Divine’s Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Exfoliating Therapy! It’s a great product with many benefits for your skin.
This acid will go deep into your skin to exfoliate and gently remove the dead layer of cells. But that is not all; it will also stimulate the growth of new cells. So, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the long-lasting effects of this high-quality peel.
What’s more, customers praise this peel for its power to reduce the appearance of fine lines, pores, and hyperpigmentation. And, if you’re struggling with acne, this product will introduce you to the blemish-free life.
This exfoliating therapy is perfect for all skin types. It’s also gentle enough to be used by those with sensitive skin.
Also, if you’re one of the unlucky people suffering from Rosacea, don’t lose hope. This product can help even with the most persistent cases of Rosacea. It will soothe your skin and diminish the severe redness, making your complexion rival even Snow White’s.
The peel comes with clear instructions. So, you won’t have any problems using it, even if you’re new to the world of chemical peels.
Divine recommends that you apply your favorite moisturizer after you use their chemical exfoliant. Your skin will be susceptible after a chemical peel. Therefore, make sure to apply facial sunscreen at all times, even on cloudy days, and preferably avoid the sun altogether for at least a week.
To sum it up, Divine Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Exfoliating Therapy has everything you need a chemical exfoliator. It will reduce any impurities and give you a glowing, great-looking skin.
Best Lactic Acid Peel
Perfect Image Lactic Acid 50% Gel Peel
Why spend hundreds of dollars on professional Lactic Acid peels, when you can do one at home and have the same results? You can put your trust in Perfect Image Lactic Acid Gel Peel, and you won’t be disappointed.
This acid helps you reduce the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines. Furthermore, it will help you with hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
Brightened up and refreshed skin is just minutes away. Components such as green tea and cucumber extracts will heal damaged parts of your face leaving it smooth and soft.
What sets this peel apart from others is the component called Kojic Acid. This acid is a natural, safe ingredient that will help you even out your complexion. Kojic is a cure for every skin issue, from age spots and acne scars, to stretch marks.
It’s best to first test the peel on a smaller area on your face, i.e., on the skin below your ear. If no irritations occur, you can apply the peel on your face.
After rinsing off the peel, you should use some neutralizer. You can buy one, or make your own. Just mix baking soda and water, and you’ve got yourself a neutralizer. You will notice the results after just a couple of days. The skin will feel smoother, and your pores will be almost invisible.
With Perfect Image Lactic Acid Gel Peel, you’ll never have to worry about skin imperfections again. So, try it now and thank us later.
How to Apply Chemical Peel at Home
Apply the chemical solution to small areas of freshly cleansed skin on the face, neck, or hands. This ensures that there’s no barrier of other creams or dirt for it to fight through.
The application may take as little as 15 minutes. Follow the instructions on the label.
The best time to use a chemical peel is at night – when the skin is in regeneration mode while you are asleep.