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Best Home Skin Peel for Acne

Acne. We’ve all had it at one point or another, and we can all probably agree that it sucks. When it comes to finding the right acne treatment, there’s a lot of advice out there. Should you use a prescription-strength solution? Should you just put toothpaste on your pimples? What’s the best thing for you?

Home skin peels are often overlooked as an option for acne care, but they’re actually one of the most effective methods for dealing with the condition. If you’ve never used a home skin peel before, we’re going to go over what they are, how they work, and answer some frequently asked questions about using them to treat acne.

Right here on cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best chemical peel for acne scars at home, best at home chemical peel for dark spots, chemical peel at home before and after, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Best Home Skin Peel for Acne

If you’re curious about chemical peels but aren’t excited about the whole going-out-in-public-with-a-scorched-face thing, a chemical peel at home might be up your alley. And, hey, you’re probably home with some time on your hands now anyway, so it might be a good time for some at-home skin-care experimentation.

The purpose of a chemical peel is to slough off dead, dull, and dry skin cells on the top layer to reveal smoother, brighter, and more refreshed cells underneath, Brendan Camp, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, tells SELF. They can be effective at treating a myriad of skin concerns including mild sun damage, fine lines, blackheads and whiteheads, excessive oil, and an overall rough skin texture.

While you can certainly have this kind of a treatment done at your dermatologist’s office or by an esthetician, for many people, milder at-home peels can provide many of the same benefits. They use many of the same ingredients as professional peels, just at lower concentrations that are less likely to cause serious irritation.

The active ingredients in most peels are alpha or beta hydroxy acids, namely glycolic and lactic acid, which are chemical exfoliants. Lactic acid molecules are larger than glycolic acid molecules, “which means [lactic acid] does not penetrate the skin as deeply and may be a suitable option for people with more sensitive skin,” Dr. Camp says. Other alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that are commonly used in at-home peels include citric, malic, mandelic, and tartaric acids.

Who can benefit from doing a chemical peel at home?

Almost anyone is a candidate for some type of at-home peel, and there are brands that cater to different skin types. Each peel’s active ingredients and the concentrations of those ingredients determine what the peel is best suited to treat.

Those with ultrasensitive skin (including those with eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea), however, or those actively using a retinol in their daytime and/or nighttime regimen should proceed with caution. “Retinoids can make skin more fragile and susceptible to side effects like pain, stinging, burning, redness, excessive dryness, and peeling, which are features of irritant contact dermatitis,” Dr. Camp says. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever use a peel, but it does mean that it’s probably best to check in with a dermatologist before using something on your skin.

Additionally, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid certain skin-care ingredients such as salicylic acid, hydroquinone, and retinol. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid in the low concentrations available in over-the-counter skin-care products should be okay. If you’re not sure, definitely check in with your doctor.

How can you safely do a chemical peel at home?

At-home peels can be used as often as daily to monthly, depending on the strength of the peel and your skin’s response. When using a product for the first time, however, it’s best to start using a new peel just once a week (at the most) to see how your skin reacts.

When doing a chemical peel at home, always start with clean skin, and if your peel comes with a pre-peel solution, use it! “Pre-peel solutions that come with some at-home peel kits remove excess oils from the skin and are applied after washing your skin,” Blair Murphy-Rose, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, tells SELF. “Follow directions on the peel, and pay attention to the recommended duration of time to leave the peel on your skin.”

These ingredients are serious business and can cause irritation if left on for too long, so you’ll probably want to use a timer to make sure you only leave on for the intended amount of time.

And, remember, if the peel is working, you will feel something: If you feel a mild stinging or tingling sensation, that’s normal. But if your skin feels any more uncomfortable than that, it may be a good idea to stop your peel early, especially if your skin is prone to irritation.

After your peel, “always apply a light moisturizer,” Dr. Murphy-Rose says. And use sun protection if you’ll be outside or near a window, she says.

If you’re not satisfied with the results of your at-home peel, you may benefit more from an in-office peel, which can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. “Deep peels usually contain a chemical called phenol, which penetrates to the dermis to correct wrinkles, discoloration, and scars,” Dr. Camp says. Check in with a board-certified dermatologist to learn more about which procedures might be right for you.

Best Home Skin Peel for Acne Prone Skin

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1. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

This peel offers the benefits of several AHAs, including glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids, as well as BHAs, including salicylic acid. While that might sound like a lot, this peel is not too strong, according to Dr. Camp, who says it’s usually well-tolerated and appropriate for normal, dry, or oily skin. It also contains pumpkin ferment extract, which has antioxidant components and is a rich source of fatty acids that may help facilitate a more gentle exfoliation. $80 AT SEPHORA

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2. The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%

Not only does this product work, but it comes at a fraction of the cost of most skin-care products, let alone most peels. It contains a trifecta of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids, which work synergistically to provide antiaging benefits, unclog pores, and even out complexion, according to Rina Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. She recommends leaving it on for 5–10 minutes before gently rinsing it off with a gentle cleanser and following up with a moisturizer. $7 AT ULTA

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3. Purlisse Watermelon Energizing 2 Minute Polishing Peel

Don’t let this product’s tiny packaging fool you—it can provide impressive results thanks to the powerful exfoliating ingredients glycolic and lactic acid. “The two acids collectively help exfoliate the skin,” Dr. Allawh says. It’s also ideal in a time crunch, since it only has to be left on for two minutes! $24 AT BIRCHBOX

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4. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Though it’s certainly on the pricier side, derms say this at-home peel pulls the weight of its price tag. It contains a combination of alpha and beta hydroxy (glycolic acid, tartaric acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid), along with raspberry extract, which contains antioxidants that may help protect against signs of premature aging. But this one isn’t necessarily for beginners. “It’s better for patients more experienced with at-home peels looking for a slightly stronger daily peel,” Dr. Murphy-Blair says. “It is a great serum for those with acne-prone skin or those hoping to gradually reverse sun damage, fine lines, and dark spots. ”$90 AT SEPHORA

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5. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance AHA Intensive Peel

With this five-minute peel, you score the benefits of some of the most effective ingredients used in at-home peels, including both lactic and salicylic acids, along with those of a clay mask. The kaolin in this peel is a type of clay that absorbs particles—impurities like dirt, oil, and grime—and holds them to the clay surface like a magnet so they are washed away from skin, Dr. Camp explains $32 AT ULTA

6Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily PeelWith a blend of glycolic, lactic, malic, and salicylic acids, this peel is hard at work gradually improving complexion, lightening dark spots, and minimizing the appearance of pores, Dr. Murphy-Rose says. It’s even touted to help reduce breakouts. “It comes as a two-step kit with pre-moistened pads: Step one is the chemical peel, and step two is the neutralizer, or buffer solution, which turns the peel ‘off,’” she explains.

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7. Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

Unlike most at-home peels, this one, made by one of the oldest and most beloved skin-care brands, is left on the skin overnight. “It can be layered under a serum or facial moisturizer to help refine skin texture and maintain glowing skin,” Dr. Camp says.

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8. The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The key ingredient in this at-home peel is mandelic acid, which is derived from almonds. It’s a gentle acid that works even on sensitive skin types—especially with the addition of hydrating hyaluronic acid. “The formulation comes as a liquid with a dropper so it’s easy to use the right amount (just a few drops),” Dr. Murphy-Rose says. “Apply on your fingertips and massage onto clean skin while avoiding the eye area.” Bonus: You don’t have to wash off this peel—it can be left on!

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9. SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads

With these easy-to-apply peel pads, your skin scores the benefit of three acids: glycolic, lactic, and salicylic. The pads also include the company’s patented retinoid, AlphaRet. These peel pads will benefit most skin types, Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, tells SELF, but she prefers them for use on patients who are simultaneously fighting the signs of aging and acne. “They’re also great for those who travel, as each is individually wrapped and packaged for single use, and they’re easy to toss in your toiletry bag for a trip,” she adds.

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10. ISDIN Isdinceutics Night Peel

This overnight peel contains a blend of AHAS, including glycolic acid, to help exfoliate skin, along with hydrating ingredients that support the skin’s moisture barrier. “This is a perfect peel for those with more mature and/or dry skin who really need the exfoliation benefits in a gentle formula,” Dr. Robinson says. Unlike other peels, this one comes in tiny single-use packages so you know exactly how much to use on your face, neck, and décolletage.

Best At-Home Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation

Get over the harsh physical scrubbers because chemical peels are now the easiest way to soft and smooth skin. And the best part is, you can do it at home! This article will guide you through the steps of how to do chemical peeling at home.

Chemical peels can help you fade dark spots, improve skin texture, and eliminate dullness. Since there are different types of chemical peels available on the market, this article will help you understand everything you need to know about them before you give them a try.

What Is A Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a treatment in which a chemical solution is used to exfoliate your skin. A chemical is applied to your skin, which causes tissue death (in a controlled manner), resulting in the topmost layer of your skin peeling off. Once the layer is peeled off, a new skin layer is regenerated, which is smoother, less wrinkled, and better than your old skin. The new skin is usually quite sensitive, but it heals completely within a few days.

Depending on the depth of the wound created, chemical peels are broadly categorized into three types.

What Are The Types Of Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels are categorized as:

  • Superficial Peels

This type of chemical peel does not penetrate the skin beyond the epidermis (the topmost layer). It is extremely mild, and it gently exfoliates just the outer layer of your skin. If you have mild skin discoloration or want to improve the texture of your rough skin, this one is appropriate for you. Usually, an alpha hydroxy acid, salicylic acid (low-strength), or any other mild acid is used in this type of chemical peel.

  • Medium Peels

The chemicals in this peel cross the epidermis and reach the topmost level of the dermis (the middle layer of the skin). Medium peels are generally used to treat conditions like age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and moderate levels of discoloration. This peel also helps in smoothening your rough skin and treating any pre-cancerous skin growth. Glycolic acid (high percentage), trichloroacetic acid, and Jessner peels fall under this category.

  • Deep Peels

As the name suggests, deep peels penetrate the dermis and reach the deepest layer of your skin. They are used for treating shallow scars, freckles, age spots, deep wrinkles, skin discolorations, and moderate lines. Phenol and trichloroacetic acid peels (high percentage) are used for deep peeling. The procedure can be performed not more than once in a year and should be done by a professional.

When done correctly, chemical peels can dramatically transform your skin and give it a youthful appearance. Here are a few benefits of chemical peeling.

What Are The Benefits Of Chemical Peeling?

Apart from improving your skin texture, chemical peels can do a lot to your skin.

If you are opting for a superficial chemical peel, the benefits include:

  • Makes your dry skin smoother
  • Reduces pigmentation
  • Eliminates blemishes
  • Reduces acne
  • Reduces signs of mild sun damage
  • Younger-looking skin
  • Eliminates mild blotchiness

Also, it has less recovery time.

If you are going for a medium chemical peel, here’s what you can expect:

  • Fine lines become less noticeable
  • Eliminates scars and birthmarks
  • Reduces pigmentation
  • Removes old acne scars
  • Reduces dry skin
  • Reduces the signs of sun damage and blotchiness
  • Fresh and younger-looking skin

If you are planning to undergo deep chemical peeling, these are the benefits:

  • Removes pre-cancerous growths
  • Reduces deep acne scars
  • Eliminates acne
  • Eliminates deep wrinkles
  • Reduces age spots
  • Smoother and younger-looking skin
  • Long-term results

Above all, deep chemical peeling is a one-time treatment that has a lasting effect on your skin.

The chemical peels that people apply at home are usually superficial peels. If you are doing a medium peel at home, you need to be extremely careful. It is better not to take the risk if it’s your first time doing a chemical peel at home. When choosing a chemical peel, the list of ingredients can be exhaustive and confusing. If you are a beginner, here is a quick guide to the ingredients you can opt for.

Chemical Peels: The Ingredients To Look For

Here are the ingredients to look for when buying chemical peels.

  • Enzyme Peels

These are incredibly mild as they contain a blend of fruit enzymes. They gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin and refine your skin pores. Enzyme peels are great for anyone who has sensitive skin and those who are intolerant to acids.

  • Lactic Acid

Lactic acid peels usually contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and are extremely mild. They are suitable for beginners and help in smoothening your skin and treating minor wrinkles, fine lines, and mild discoloration. They are also extremely hydrating.

  • Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid has anti-aging benefits and is very effective in removing dead skin cells. It helps in improving your skin texture and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps in reducing hyperpigmentation. It works well when combined with salicylic acid.

  • Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is widely used for treating acne. When used in peeling solutions, salicylic acid gets absorbed into your skin pores and unclogs them. Unlike AHA and glycolic acid, this acid will not make your skin sensitive to sun rays. Salicylic acid helps in treating melasma, freckles, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.

  • Glycolic Acid

Compared to all the ingredients mentioned above, glycolic acid is a bit more potent. It is both a superficial and a medium peel, depending on the percentage of the acid used. It not only refines your skin texture but also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and scars and brightens your skin tone.

  • Jessner’s Peel

When searching for chemical peel products, you will definitely come across this name. Jessner’s peel is mainly a combination of three ingredients: lactic acid, salicylic acid, and resorcinol. It is pretty effective in treating hyperpigmentation and acne. It is suitable for oily skin. However, if you have dry skin, this peel can make it drier. Don’t forget to follow up with a moisturizer after using this peel.

  • Trichloroacetic Acid Or TCA Peels

This is also a medium strength peel or ingredient, but it is stronger than all the ingredients mentioned above. It works well for treating hyperpigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles, acne scars, and stretch marks (5).

There are, of course, risks involved in undergoing a chemical peel treatment. While mild and superficial peels may not have significant risks, deep chemical peels come with a host of risks. However, keep in mind that the risks depend on your skin type, the type of peel used, and how your skin reacts to it.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels may cause the following side effects:

  • Redness Of Skin: Right after treatment, you will notice some redness on your skin. This redness may last for several weeks or months, depending on the intensity of your treatment.
  • Scarring: This is another major issue with chemical peels. There are chances that you may get scars on your face. That’s why chemical peels should be taken very seriously and done under the guidance of a skin care professional.
  • Skin Infection: Chemical peeling, if not done the right way, can cause a fungal or bacterial infection, including herpes virus.

Chemical peels are NOT meant for everyone. You cannot undergo chemical peeling if:

  • you are taking isotretinoin medicines for acne (or have taken them in the past six months).
  • you have a dark complexion.
  • you have a history of keloids (overgrowth of scar tissues).
  • you have abnormal skin pigmentation.
  • you get cold sores frequently or have a history of cold sores.

Consult a doctor before undergoing intense chemical peeling. Although at-home chemical peels are pretty mild and do not have any major side effects, it is better to consult a doctor before using any harsh chemicals on your skin.

Now that you are aware of the potential side effects of chemical peels, here are some tips for doing it at home.

How To Do Chemical Peeling At Home

Always do a patch test to see if you are allergic to any of the chemicals. Even if you have done chemical peeling before, do a patch test every time you do it. To do a patch test:

  • Take a small amount of the product and apply it to your inner arm or on your wrist.
  • Leave it on for 24–48 hours. See how your skin reacts.
  • Remove it after 48 hours and wait for two more days to make sure it does not cause a delayed reaction.

If your skin is fine after doing the patch test, go ahead with the chemical peel. If you are using it for the first time, start with the lowest concentration possible. You can gradually increase the concentration as your skin gets used to the acid. To begin with, you can use 8% TCA, 30% lactic acid, or 30% glycolic acid. If you are using any tretinoin-based products, stop using them a week before using the chemical peel.

Now, let’s discuss how you can do chemical peeling at home.

Step 1: Clean Your Face

Before applying the chemical peeling solution, cleanse your face with a gentle and soap-free cleanser.

Step 2: Protect The Sensitive Parts

Areas such as the skin around your eyes, the corners of your lips, and your nostrils are very sensitive. Apply petroleum jelly on them to protect them from the acid.

Step 3: Apple The Chemical Peeling Solution

Use a Q-tip, a cotton swab, or a cotton pad to apply the chemical solution to your face. Start with the areas that are less sensitive, such as the skin on your forehead, cheeks, and chin, and then apply it to your nose and neck.

Step 4: Leave It On For The Time Recommended By The Manufacturer

The wait time differs with the ingredients. However, it’s always safe to keep it on for lesser than the recommended time. For instance, if the instructions ask you to leave it on for 2 minutes, it’s best to remove it after 1 minute or 1 minute 30 seconds.

Step 5: Remove The Peel

Remove the chemical as per the instructions provided with the product and apply a neutralizing solution. Usually, all products come with a neutralizing solution. This is to stop the solution from working on your skin. If your product doesn’t come with any neutralizing solution, it means the chemical stops working as soon as you remove it from your skin.

You can also make your own neutralizing solution. Just mix baking soda in some water until it forms a paste and apply it after you wash the chemical off your face.

If your first attempt goes well, you can increase the intensity or concentration of the acid the next time.

After chemical peeling, you need to be very careful about what you put on your skin. Here is a skin care regimen you can follow right after chemical peeling.

How To Take Care Of Your Skin After Chemical Peeling

Chemical peeling will leave your skin looking a bit red and irritated. It is very vulnerable to damage at this point, and that’s why you need to take special care of your skin. Here are the things you should do after you have done chemical peeling at home:

  • Treat Your Skin Gently

Whenever you touch your skin or apply any product, do it very gently. Don’t rub your fingers on your face. Some of the peeling skin flakes remain attached to the cells of your skin after chemical peeling until they fall off on their own. You don’t want to take the risk of pulling them out and damaging your skin.

  • Be Very Cautious Your Skin Is Wet

When your skin is wet, it softens the dead skin cells. So, be careful when wiping your moist skin. If you rub too aggressively with your fingers on your skin, you run the risk of removing both dead and live skin cells. It is better to avoid applying anything or using anything on the face (like a washcloth) when your skin is wet.

  • Never Forget Sunscreen

Your skin is damaged and still regenerating after the peel, and it is extremely vulnerable to the harmful UV rays. So, sunscreen is a must!

  • Limit The Time Spent Outdoors

When your skin is inflamed, it is better to protect it from the heat, pollution, and the sun’s rays. So, limit the time that you spend outside.

  • Use A Gentle Cleanser

Use a sulfate- and soap-free cleanser on your face. Your cleanser should not leave your skin feeling dry and dehydrated. Choose a moisturizing formula that will keep it nourished.

  • Follow Up With A Gentle Essence, Mist, Or Toner

Once you have cleansed your skin, apply an alcohol-free skin essence, toner, or facial mist. This helps in additional hydration and soothes the irritated skin. Avoid rubbing it on your skin. Instead, put it in a spray bottle or use cotton pads to apply it to your face.

  • Apply A Moisturizer

Once you have undergone chemical peeling, moisturizing is the best way to keep your skin calm. A moisturizer is a must-have throughout the day. During the day, use a moisturizer with SPF. You can use one without SPF at night.

  • Avoid Pulling Off The Flaky Skin

Let it fall off on its own. Pulling off the flaky skin can cause scarring, redness, and irritation.

Consult a doctor immediately if you notice signs of infection, such as crusting and oozing, from the flaky and irritated skin.

Chemical peeling is a cosmetic procedure where a chemical is applied to help peel off a layer of skin. Getting a superficial, medium, or deep chemical peel will reduce pigmentation, remove deep acne scars, leaving you with youthful and smoother skin. If you want to know how to do a chemical peel at home, you need to buy chemical peels with lauric acid or glycolic acid and follow the proper instructions. Once you finish doing your chemical peel, ensure you are gentle with your skin and use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. Few people may experience redness, irritation, or scarring after doing a chemical peel. Consult a doctor immediately if this happens.

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