A homemade, natural chemical peel helps you control the ingredients and avoid all the toxic elements of the store-bought versions. Almost all of us have some scarring of some sort on our bodies. I have a scar on the inside of my arm from some barbed wire after falling off of a cow. (They do NOT like to be saddled, by the way!) I have another on my knee from rock climbing near the river. These aren’t large and they don’t bother my self-esteem at all.
In this post, we’ll also consider homemade face peel for dead skin and strongest at home chemical peel.
Homemade Chemical Peel For Face
The road to glowing skin is paved with potent skincare products. From wrinkle-busting retinols to sun spot-banishing vitamin C serums, strategic use of high-performance skincare can keep your complexion clear, dewy, and more youthful-looking year-round. But there’s another secret to beautiful skin that shouldn’t be overlooked: proper exfoliation—not only because it ensures soft, radiant skin, but because it helps all of the other products you apply work better. And one of the most effective methods that you can incorporate into your regimen is an at-home chemical peel.
Less intense than in-office peels, at-home peels help break down the “glue” that keeps complexion-dulling dead skin cells hanging on. “Peels are intended to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells, giving the face a smoother, more radiant appearance. They work to exfoliate top layers of cells and help clear up clogged pores, breakouts, dull skin, and dry skin,” explains dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel. “They are also great for minimizing pores and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.”
To get the most out of an at-home peel without leaving your skin irritated from over-exfoliation, dermatologists recommend incorporating one into your regimen no more than twice a week. If you’re using a retinol product, take a break from it on the nights that you use a peel, and be sure to follow up with a rich moisturizer and, of course, sunscreen. While peels are a good option for most skin types, those with very sensitive skin could experience irritation and should consult a dermatologist before incorporating peels into their routine to determine the best timing and ingredients to use to get the glowing results you crave.
“Home chemical peels have to be necessarily gentle, so they can be used safely and regularly,” says dermatologist Dr. Linda Chung Honet. “I like recommending them as a boosting treatment between professional treatments in the office.”
Home peels come in a variety of formulations, from disposable pads to masks to overnight serums. It is important to bear in mind that both “chemical” and “peel” are slight misnomers—many of the key acids you’ll find in these products are derived from fruit, and you should not actually see any peeling in your skin. If you do, you’ve overdone it. Best practice is to look for options with AHAs such as glycolic, lactic, and citric acids as well as brightening ingredients such as vitamin C and ferulic acid. Below we’ve rounded up some of the home treatments dermatologists recommend to give your skin the clean sweep.
TLC Sukari Babyfacial Mask
With a blend of 25% AHAs (glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids) as well as 2% BHA (salicylic acid) to work both at the skin’s surface and down inside the pores, this putty-colored peel leaves skin looking and feeling smoother in 20 minutes, without overpowering sensitive complexions.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
The high-octane ingredients found in peels mean that many versions also come with steep price tags. Not this bottle, which offers 30% AHAs and 2% BHA for maximum exfoliation on a shoestring budget.
30% Glycolic Acid Peel Concentrate
If you’re ready to take on skincare like a pro, look no further than this 30% glycolic acid peel that will clear away dullness-inducing dead skin cells, help unblock pores, and boost your natural radiance in just two minutes.
Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel
When you’re ready to get serious about smoothing and brightening, this potent two-step peel offers dark spot eliminating power as well as redness-fighting soothers. Step one features lactic and glycolic acid and the pineapple-derived enzyme bromelian and can be customized depending on the amount that you apply. After just two minutes of exfoliation, apply step two which deactivates the peeling action with soothing oatmeal and green tea.
Best for Anti-Aging
Rapid Reveal Peel
These individually portioned tubes of high-potency lactic acid and caviar lime help resurface skin and give your natural collagen production a little nudge to make skin look firmer.
Best for Acne Scars
Rejuvenating Mini Peel Gel
With a 10.8 glycolic acid value, this straightforward gel peel (it has just 7 ingredients) is perfect for those who aren’t kidding around with their exfoliation routine. With regular use, it can also help smooth the appearance of uneven texture.
Best Natural Peel
Famed for its farm-sourced ingredients, this best-selling mask uses BHA from willow bark and exfoliating pomegranate enzymes to wake up tired-looking skin.
Best for Fine Lines
Caviar Lime Acid Peel
Australian caviar lime lends its peeling power to AHA glycolic acid, as well as brightening phytic acid and wrinkle fighting retinol for a do-it-all weekly peel.
Best for Travel
Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
Travel can be tough on skin, but these convenient packets of pre-soaked peel wipes with glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids make sure that you can maintain your glow on-the-go.
Glyco Extreme Peel
Washington, D.C.-based dermatologist Dr. Noëlle Sherber recommends this luxe, ultra-effective peel for a home glow. “It has a nice blend of 5 AHAs (glycolic, lactic, malic, tartaric, and citric acids) plus a BHA,” she says. “It also contains an enzyme that is more active at higher temperatures, so a pro tip is to use this on warm skin in the bath or shower for a more intense treatment. It also includes glycerin which is an excellent small molecule hydrator to prevent skin getting dehydrated and flaky.”
AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads
Dermatologists love SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads due to their unique formulation. “They are a great combination of retinoid with alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids,” says Dr. Honet. “They are effective yet gentle enough to use at home 2-3 times a week and are well-suited for nearly every skincare regimen.”
Best for Acne
Max Complexion Correction Pads
Though formulated to tackle acne—chiefly with 2% salicylic acid—these powerful pads are also super effective at whisking away the dryness that can cause fine lines, minimizing pores, and regulating oil production.
Best for Brighter Skin
1 oz. Gold Profection22 Mask
This super-potent rinse-off treatment mask incorporates a blend of 22% AHAs, plus adaptogenic reishi mushroom and comforting CBD, to polish skin and boost glow in only 10-15 minutes.
Micro Peel Peptide Pads
These anti-aging peel pads from Dr. Loretta incorporate plant peptides in the formulation, so that skin is receiving a hit of hydration and nourishment while also being treated with low pH medical grade 10% glycolic acid.
Best Overnight Option
KateCeuticals Resurfacing Overnight Peel
Wake up with a visibly brighter complexion after using an overnight treatment, such as this multi-tasker from Kate Somerville, which tackles dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and pores with glycolic acid, ceramide-encapsulated retinol, and niacinamide.
Best for Pores
Skin Perfecting 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel
In just 10 minutes, a combination of 25% AHAs and 2% BHA do just the trick to visibly brighten skin, refine texture, smooth any fine line and wrinkles, and unclog pores. Also, shoutout to the butterfly pea flower, which calms redness and soothes skin.
TCA Lactic & Glycolic Face Peel
This multi-tasking, at-home peel has a lightweight, liquid texture that’s packed with five acids—including lactic and glycolic—that gently minimize dullness and dark spots, prevent acne, promote radiance, and soften fine lines. Even better? No rinsing required.
Homemade Face Peel For Dead Skin
A lactic acid peel for dry, dull skin
Lactic acid is one of the milder alpha hydroxy acids and is derived from milk. It is known for its hydrating properties, which is what your parched skin is looking for. It is both exfoliating and moisturising. “The acid helps bind water into the skin to reveal a hydrated glow. The substitute for this at home can be buttermilk which is a great source of lactic acid and helps get rid of dead and dull skin,” says Sethi. Start by taking two tablespoons of buttermilk. Make sure it isn’t too dilute as it won’t sit on the skin. Apply a generous amount on the face, avoiding the eye area. Leave it for ten minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
A glycolic acid peel to fight fine lines
Glycolic acid is one of the stronger AHAs on the market, and is usually derived from sugarcane. Known for its anti-ageing properties, it helps fight fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. “Glycolic acid is also known for its antimicrobial properties and we have always raved about sugar being a natural exfoliant. This is where they come together. A sugar peel is highly effective for a plump looking and firm skin,” says Sethi. Take two tablespoons of sugar and honey. Add two to three tablespoons of water to it. Mix them all together and make a paste. Apply this mixture on the face evenly. Keep it for five minutes and rinse.
A salicylic acid peel for clogged pores and acne-prone oily skin
Salicylic acid is a powerful BHA that is known for working on acne, breakouts, inflammation and clogged pores. It is derived from willow bark and is common in all anti-acne products. “Willow bark extract is not commonly found or easily available but you can always use mint leaves as it also contains a high content of salicylic acid,” says Dr Sethi. As for the technique? “Wash mint leaves with water, crush them, and put them in a glass jar. Add grapeseed oil to the mix and let it sit for 48 hours. Mix soaked cabbage and buttermilk to create a thick paste, and then apply to the face,” she says. Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, and buttermilk will soothe the skin, essentially making this an AHA-BHA peel. “Focus on the nose and T-zone, which is most prone to clogged pores,” says Dr Sethi.
Strong Homemade Chemical Peel
You can go very mild with this recipe or go for a deeper peel with stronger acids. The variations are listed after the recipe.
- 1 small cucumber, seeded and pureed (about 1 cup)
- 1 package or 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
- a few drops natural liquid meat tenderizer OR ¼ tsp. powdered meat tenderizer
- a dash of ground cinnamon (adding too much may irritate skin)
- water if necessary
- Place the cucumber inside a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Add a little water if it doesn’t start to dissolve.
- Sprinkle the meat tenderizer and cinnamon over the cucumber mixture and stir well to combine. The gelatin will dissolve and become pasty. Add water if you need to make it spreadable.
- Spread this over your face and allow it to dry, 15-20 minutes.
- When completely dry, start at the jaw line and slowly peel from your face. Rinse off any residue and follow with moisturizer if you wish.
Note: You can do this once a month, but no more often as it may irritate skin.
Cucumber is the most mild, but you can substitute other ingredients for this.
- Papaya and pineapple contain papain and bromelain, both of which are used in tenderizing meats. This is why I add a small amount of meat tenderizer to the recipe. You can omit the meat tenderizer and use pureed fruit instead.
- Pumpkin has a great deal of fruit acids. You can steam some fresh pumpkin or use it from the can. (Be sure it’s plain pumpkin and not pie mix.)
- Avocados are high in acid too, and have added moisturizers.
- Tomatoes are another good choice. The newer hybrid tomatoes are lower in acid, but are still great for this type of application. Use fresh puree or juice.
- Sugar can work well too. Sugar cane is high in acid and makes a great chemical peel. Use the same amount as you would puree or juice.
Want to go even milder? Used a pureed apple. They are mildly acidic.
Want to go deeper? Try lemon or lime juice. The possibilities are endless as long as there is some acid to the fruit or vegetable you use.
Do you have a problem with acne? Crush an aspirin or two and add this to the mixture. The salicylic acid is one of the only things that dissolves blackheads. The cinnamon in the recipe should help to keep new blackheads from forming.