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17 At-Home Chemical Peels That Deliver Professional Results

Real deal peels.

beautiful woman standing against blue wall
Klaus VedfeltGetty Images

Do you miss your derm? Me too. Not just for the life-saving skin checks dermatologists provide, but for the instant glow of their in-office products and treatments that can be tough to capture at home in my bathroom. One of the most popular of these transformative treatments: the chemical peel. Chemical peels vary in strength and ingredients, but most aim to deeply exfoliate the skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve brightness, and lift away unwanted discoloration and brown spots. They're strong, so these game-changers are only available from the pros—but there are at-home chemical peels that capture the same effects on a smaller, safer scale. These formulas have lower concentrations of the same acids, making them ideal for slathering them on yourself.

"In-office peels have stronger concentrations of acids, meaning greater immediate results," says NYC-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman. "These need to be administered by a licensed practitioner, because of the potential to burn or irritate the skin," she says.

Though at-home chemical peels are safer, it's still important not to overdo it: "The biggest challenge is to not overwork the skin. Excessive exfoliation will expose skin, weaken skin-barrier function and trigger inflammation," says Engelman. If the barrier function is damaged, skin becomes vulnerable to infection from microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungus, and leads to sensitivity and irritation." And when choosing a DIY peel, it's smart to consider your skin type, Engelman suggests. "Look at the acids in the peel, and make sure they target the issue you are trying to remedy." Ahead, our favorite at-home chemical peels to choose from.

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1
For Acne
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Courtesy
The Ordinary ulta.com
$7.20

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."

2
The Cult Favorite
That’s Incredi-peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads
Bliss amazon.com
$21.94

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.  

3
For Fine Lines
Liquid ExfoliKate
Kate Somerville katesomerville.com
$58.00

This 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. 

4
For Brighter Skin
Brightening Peel Pads
Sanitas Skincare dermstore.com
$59.20

A one-two-three punch of glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid provides exfoliation, brightening, and cell turnover for a fresh and renewed complexion. Simply swipe along your face and décolletage and allow to dry fully before layering on your nightly products. The triple-acid blend is gentle enough to linger on your skin and keep working overnight.  

5
For Sensitive Skin
Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel
Murad sephora.com
$65.00

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.  

6
The Heavy Hitter
Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare sephora.com
$17.00

The latest from exfoliating mega-star Dr. Dennis Gross contains a whopping seven acids—the original contains only five—in a two-step peel pack. The first pad contains all the heavy-hitters. Just allow it to dry for two minutes, then follow with the second, which is full of anti-aging treatments like retinol, vitamin E and antioxidant resveratrol. 

7
Most Organic
Overnight Sensation Gentle Resurfacing Peel
Thrive Causemetics thrivecausemetics.com
$62.00

The big news here is twofold: First, a vegan formulation of  lactic acid, glycolic acid, phytic acid and salicylic acid may appeal to animal lovers, while the plant-derived retinol alternative, bakuchiol, works to provide long-term, environmentally sustainable benefits, too. So you can have your face and planet, too.

8
For First-Timers
Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel
Perfect Image amazon.com
$29.95

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.

9
Best Smelling
Glow Baby Brightening Peel Pads
Pacifica ulta.com
$14.00

If liking a peel because it smells good is wrong, I don't want to be right. Here, you're getting a ten percent alpha and beta hydroxy acid blend, to clear pores and retexturize, plus the soothing (and pleasantly scented) benefit of apple extract.

10
For Mature Skin
Glyco Extreme Peel
Natura Bisse dermstore.com
$228.00

Supercharged with five different AHAs to target signs of aging on the surface and at deeper levels of the skin, this is strong enough to visibly brighten skin without irritating it. According to Dr. Engelman, AHAs like glycolic acid are ideal for anti-aging: "It's the smallest acid in particle size, meaning it is the most effective in breaking down cellular bonds to reveal new cells."

11
For Textured Skin
Olay Masks Vitamin C + AHA Resurfacing Peel Vitamin C
Courtesy
Olay target.com
$19.99

This power couple is affordable and super effective: dissolve dead skin cells with the resurfacing mask, then apply the activator on top to create a crystal-filled foam to buff away dull skin. 

12
For All Skin Types
Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant
Glo Skin Beauty gloskinbeauty.com
$56.00

Sometimes, a total complexion overhaul feels necessary. Glo's liquid exfoliator contains a brightening complex including mandelic, lactic, gluconic malic, and tartaric acid to target concerns like acne, dullness, and fine lines. 

13
For Dark Spots
Juice Beauty Peel
Courtesy
Juice Beauty ulta.com
$48.00

It might smell like an orchard, but don't underestimate this alpha and beta hydroxy acid formula. It'll help lift dark spots and discoloration cultivated from years of sun damage. 

14
For Wrinkles
TCA Lactic & Glycolic Face Peel
StackedSkincare stackedskincare.com
$49.00

While this potent liquid would be well suited for stubborn lines, twenty-somethings can still achieve radiance and a healthy glow from its lactic and glycolic acids. 

15
For Sensitive Skin
Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Peel
Courtesy
Cleansers naturopathica.com
$58.00

This pretty blue jar has more pumpkin enzymes than a Halloween gourd, and functions as a retinol-substitute if your'e looking for a more natural exfoliation. And added lactic acid helps to clear congested pores for a smoother visage. 

16
For Acne
M-61 PowerGlow Peel
M-61 amazon.com
$30.00

Salicylic and glycolic targets acne breakouts in one measly minute, and it's got calming effects built right in. Chamomile works to stifle the standard redness most peels bring on. 

17
For Brightening
Caviar Lime Acid Peel
Courtesy
Lancer Skincare sephora.com
$71.00

Caviar lime is naturally rich in AHAs, and when combined with retinol, makes for an ultra-brightening treatment that gives an airbrushed look to pores.  

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