A glycolic peel, or even a chemical peel, can be an excellent way to treat acne and other skin conditions, but it’s important to be aware of the risks.
This blog post is going to explain what a glycolic peel is, how it works, and why you might need one. It will also provide information on how to get the most out of your treatment while minimizing risks.
Glycolic acid is one of the most effective ways to exfoliate your skin, helping to make it look smoother and more youthful. But if you’ve never tried a glycolic peel before, it can be scary to try one at home.
Overview of Best Home Glycolic Peel
A Glycolic peels are topically applied to remove the very top layer of the skin, revealing the newer—and younger—skin underneath over the course of one to three weeks. As chemical peels feature varying concentrations, each formula is designed to penetrate the skin differently. When it comes to using any type of peel at home, professionals advise starting slowly. If you’re using retinol as part of your daily regimen, peels powered by glycolic acid—especially in higher concentrations—can cause chemical burns, leaving behind hyperpigmentation, especially on darker skin tones. Try doing a test spot with a peel of a lower concentration peel (aim for between 5 and 10 percent glycolic acid) before treating the entire face.
Which ingredients should you look for in an effective at-home peel?
The best formulas include a blend of active ingredients, like alpha hydroxy acids (including glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids), beta hydroxy acid (like acne-fighting salicylic acid), plus a gentle exfoliant, like fruit enzymes. In addition to these staple ingredients, experts suggest keeping an eye out for other skin care essentials in your chemical peel for more specific skin care needs.
“It’s so important to read the label when it comes to at-home peels, otherwise you will be shedding like a snake or develop an unwanted or unforeseen reaction,” Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist at La Jolla Dermatology in La Jolla, California, tells BAZAAR.com, adding that skin type is also crucial when considering formulations. “If you have normal skin and want to improve tone and pigment, then go for a glycolic acid,” Shirazi says. “And if you have acne, a peel that features a combination of glycolic and salicylic is most effective. For dry or sensitive skin, formulations with mandelic or lactic acid are most suitable.”
List of Best Home Glycolic Peel
Perfect Image Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel
Unassuming? Yes. Highly effective? You better believe it. Derived entirely from fruits and vegetables, the acids here tend to be gentler for first-time peelers. Papaya and pineapple’s naturally occurring enzymatic alpha hydroxy acid is tempered by the protective qualities in pumpkin, which is rich in beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, zinc, and potassium.FOR ACNE
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Engelmen says that a peel that contains BHAs, like this 10-minute berry-hued option, is ideal for treating acne. “BHAs, like salicylic and beta hydroxy, are best for issues like large pores, blackheads and pimples. These acids have keratin-dissolving properties that can breakdown dead skin cell build-up and decongest pores.”FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel
If chemical peels can leave you raw and red, this little bottle might be just the solution. Shake it up to blend the two liquids: A heavy-duty combo of glycolic, lactic, and malic acids that loosen the bonds of dead cells to clarify skin, and a soothing elixir of antioxidant holy basil and omega-rich jojoba seed oil to calm the acid’s effects.THE 2-IN-1
it Cosmetics Hello Results Baby-Smooth Glycolic Peel + Caring Oil
A pricey offering that’s absolutely worth it. What’s cool is that the bi-phasic elixir offers two benefits. The pinky layer is a potent glycolic acid blend to slough away dead skin cells. The golden layer? Nourishing argan oil. Shake it up and smooth it on–the blend of the two mean it’s gentle (and effective) enough to use daily.THE CULT FAVORITE
Bliss That’s Incredi-peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads
In some regards, these fan-favorite peel pads from Bliss—and their whopping 1,200 Amazon reviews—are rather simple. Ten percent glycolic acid time-releases overnight, targeting fine lines, dark marks, and blemishes. It’s a particularly well-tolerated formulation thanks to the addition of witch hazel, licorice and calendula flower, which quell inflammation.THE STRONGEST
Obagi Clinical Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel
The latest from Obagi—a professional brand—does not mess around. Three acids (glycolic, salicylic, lactic) combine for one of the strongest and safest exfoliating treatments you can get over-the-counter.FOR FINE LINES
Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment
This cult-favorite formula is powered by 10 percent AHAs and a gift basket’s worth of pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple fruit enzymes. To keep things on the gentle side, honey and tea extract join the party to quell irritation.