Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Beta Hydroxy Acid. Ferulic Acid. Lactic Acid. Salicyclic Acid. Lots and lots of acid, and acid sounds like a scary proposition to use on your face, doesn’t it? The reality is that these acids are the essential, miracle working ingredients in the best facial peel treatments. Chemical peels aren’t something to be afraid of – they’re actually something to wholeheartedly embrace. If you have combination skin or oily skin, you’ll love these peels for the power they have to slough away dead skin and reveal a brighter, clearer, more luminous complexion.
You can expect to spend big money on facial peels at the spa or dermatologist’s office. A single glycolic or AHA peel can cost as little as $65 for one treatment, but many chemical peels cost upwards of $500, so they’re not something most people can afford to do regularly. If you’re looking, instead, for a way to achieve great results at home, get ready to do the happy dance.
There are so many amazing face peeling products to choose from, and their reasonable prices make them approachable for almost everyone. Even the most expensive peels reviewed here are under $80, with the majority under $50. All of them will provide many, many treatments for that investment.
I was delighted to find specialty facial peels for men, and even peels for women who are pregnant or trying. I always celebrate men taking better care of their skin, but didn’t realize that pregnant women would have special needs in this area, due to the side effects of Retinol in some facial peeling products.
Having success with the best skin peel at home depends on regular use. These home versions are not as strong as most professional treatments, but they’re easy to use, and they really do improve the appearance of your skin. When you regularly use a home facial peel product, your moisturizers, face creams, and serums are far more effective.
Once you’ve removed all those nasty old dead skin cells, your expensive products can deeply sink in and absorb, to improve your overall skin tone and elasticity. Many peels actually help your skin hold hydration longer, and because your skin is smoother, your foundation will glide on more evenly.
A good beauty regimen begins with a clean face. When you follow deep cleansing with a facial peel, your pores will appear minimized, and fine lines and wrinkles begin to diminish. Another beauty bonus of the best facial peel products is their ability to reduce dark spots, caused by aging and those annoying blemishes.
There are many easy to use peeling pads, and those are my personal favorite, mostly because I’m lazy. They are great because you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ve used too much, or too little, of the product to do the job. But there are also many peels that rely on your fingers doing digital duty, by literally rubbing and removing dead skin.
Whatever home facial peel you choose, you can count on skin that looks younger, firmer, brighter and better. Here are our choices for the 10 Best Facial Peels. Use at night, and you’ll wake up to a more beautiful you.
1. skyn ICELAND Nordic Skin Peel
You’ve got amazing, translucent, glowing skin. You just can’t see it because of the dull, flaky, broken-out, exhausted skin that’s currently covering it up. Nordic Skin Peel will make the dull, depleted skin you’ve earned with those late nights and coffee-fueled work binges, pull a disappearing act. This is a powerhouse peel you can use everyday, or, if you have sensitive skin, a few times weekly.
It’s both effective and very gentle, so you avoid the redness and irritation other peels can cause. The exfoliating pads do double duty, exfoliating to reveal fresh skin, and sweeping up dirt and oil to keep your pores squeaky clean. This face peel adds a dose of calming emollients and protecting antioxidants to improve your skin’s tone and texture, and diminish fine lines, leaving skin bright, clear and firm.
Lactic acid, a gentle AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) derived from corn sugar, helps exfoliate skin. Papaya fruit extract, a natural enzyme, helps dissolve the dead skin layer and works to brighten skin. White willow bark, a naturally occurring form of salicylic acid, soothes irritation and helps prevent breakouts and congestion. Witch hazel helps reduce pore size, and soothes and refreshes skin. Jojoba seed extract hydrates your skin while helping restore elasticity and smoothness.
Wash your makeup off first with skyn ICELAND Glacial Face Wash. Then, once you’ve used your peeling pad, be sure to moisturize for the night with Oxygen Infusion Night Cream for a glowing complexion in the morning. Icelandic Relief Eye Cream can help erase the evidence of those long party nights.
Price: $33.25 (25 percent off MSRP)
- Highly rated by users
- Feels great on your skin
- Visible results, fast
- Good for sensitive skin
- Pretty spendy
- Heavy scent is unpleasant to some
- Alcohol formula can be drying
- May not be effective for everyone
2. Amazon’s Choice: Perfect Image Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel
I’m sure lots of us think that a great exfoliation treatment or best facial peel takes too much time to mess with, but not with this easy to use 20 percent salicylic acid gel peel. This super affordable face peel at home features soothing tea tree oil and green tea extracts to help calm irritated skin.
This peel helps shed dead skin cells, clear up breakouts, reduce the size of pores, and helps diminish dark spots due to aging, sun damage and acne. Part of its restorative magic is that it encourages increased collagen production, the fountain of youth for skin.
Salicylic acid is less irritating to your skin than AHA, so this peel, while super effective, won’t be as harsh as some. And the natural botanicals in this formula are super antioxidants, meaning your skin will look healthier with regular use.
This bottle contains enough peeling product for 15-20 uses. If you have super oily, or more damaged skin, you can also try the Perfect Image Salicylic Acid 30% Gel Peel, or the even more robust 50% Lactic Acid Peel.
- Amazon’s Choice
- Gentle, with skin calming botanicals
- Leaves skin smooth and feeling firm
- Effective for exfoliation
- Can sting and burn on application
- Could cause irritation/breakouts initially
- Not a peel for beginners
- Ingredients may cause sun sensitivy
3. bliss That’s Incredi-Peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads
Imagine a simple nightly routine that helps you say goodbye to wrinkles and dark spots. In a single step, these little treatment pads are engineered to release powerful levels of exfoliating glycolic acid for serious skin renewal, without the harsh irritation.
These pads retexturize and soothe skin in just one step, targeting fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and a myriad of other skin imperfections like those annoying marks left by blemishes. They gradually release exfoliating glycolic acid throughout the night when your skin is most capable of healing.
In return, you get beautiful, smooth and clearer skin. Plus, these awesome power pads are packed with soothing witch hazel and licorice extract, and hydrating glycerin for extra-gentle results.
- Rated 4.4 out of five stars by users
- Gives you brighter, clearer skin
- Pre-moistened pads are easy to use
- May help reduce acne scarring with consistent use
- Mildly irritating when first applied
- A bit on the spendy side
- Smell may be off-putting to some
- Not all users experienced great results
4. Best Selling Facial Peel: Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System
When it comes to an affordable way to test your skin and see how it reacts to a facial peel, Olay Regenerist combines the power of microdermabrasion with a mini-peel treatment in a package you can test without breaking the bank. This two-pronged approach promises to offer visibly more even-toned skin.
It helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while it activates surface cell regeneration for softer, smoother skin. And this treatment is gentle on your skin as well as your wallet. You only need to use it twice weekly to see visible results.
Because Olay’s skin care products are highly rated by users, so you might also want to try Olay Regenerist Lightweight Moisturizating Face Serum daily in addition to your face peeling treatments. And give your daytime face a boost with Olay Regenerist Miracle Boost Concentrate. These treatments, when used in unison, promise great anti-aging results, and based upon their popularity, consumers seem to agree wholeheartedly.
- #1 Amazon Best Seller
- Good for most skin types
- Helps to minimize pores
- Improves acne symptoms
- May irritate sensitive skin
- Not effective for every user
- Texture is unpleasant for some
- May cause breakouts initially
5. Real Chemistry Deluxe Luminous Three Minute Peel
This non-irritating home facial peel takes a completely different approach to clear skin. The protein based peel is more gentle on your skin than acid peels, which means it’s great for beginning peel users.
Rubbed on to the skin in thin layers, it binds to your skin’s dead cells, which harden. You then massage for two to three minutes until the peel has sloughed off those cells leaving your skin revived and looking more radiant and luminous.
Unlike a mask, or a pad, you create the results by massaging small sections of your face at a time. This popular peel has enough product for 20-25 applications, which should give you enough experience to know if it’s effective for your skin type.
Used just once a week, fans of this three minute peel swear it’s as effective, or more so, than acid based peels, while being gentle and effective on their skin.
- Very highly rated by users
- Non-irritating formula exfoliates well
- More treatments included than many other peels
- Only needs to be used once a week
- Takes a bit more time and finesse than masks and pads
- Pretty spendy
- Can be difficult to completely remove the stuff that’s been exfoliated
- Not strong enough for many serious peelers
6. CANE + AUSTIN Retexturizing Treatment Pads
Now facial peeling is an equal opportunity beauty regimen. If you’re a guy, or you happen to love one, and you want to see their skin look its best, these retexturizing pads are a great find. This one-step 10 percent glycolic treatment gently exfoliates and retextures skin.
These pads also help to rebuild collagen, which is what keeps skin looking firm and plump. This nightly ritual helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation. It firms skin, and improves its tone and texture. The formula infused pads will help reduce pore size, wrinkles and acne scarring.
Glycolic acid is clinically proven to correct hyper-pigmentation, skin discoloration, and is effective in reversing sun and free-radical damage. If you’re successful at getting your guy to use these peeling pads, (and sharing them with you,) I’m saying you can also convince him to moisturize afterward.
And as much as you love him to have that golden glow from the sun, one of the best things men can do to save their face is to slather it with good sunscreen. Cane + Austin makes a lightweight formula with 50 SPF.
- Popular for men and women
- Effectively helps diminish fine lines
- Fights blemishes and ingrown hairs
- Helps fade dark spots
- May cause sun sensitivity
- Among the more expensive options
- Slightly irritating upon application
- Could case sensitive skin to breakout
7. DERMADoctor Kakadu C Intensive Vitamin C Facial Peel
It’s hard to believe than an innocent little plum could pack such a powerful beauty punch, but that’s just what this intensive vitamin C peel uses. The Kakadu plum is naturally one of the richest sources of vitamin C, known to deliver brighter, smoother, firmer and more even skin.
This intensive formulation features seven sources of AHA and BHA, plus ferulic acid. It also contains antioxidant boosters, like Australian lime caviar, to help protect against free radical damage. It’s balanced with a calming complex that leaves your skin feeling hydrated and luminous.
These easy to use peeling pads are dermatologist tested and approved. They’re hypoallergenic, non-irritating, non-comedogenic, soap free, oil free, fragrance free, dye free, paraben free, gluten free, phthalate free, triclosan free, hormone free, gmo free, sulfate free, petro chemical free, silicone free, and cruelty free. All things good with none of the bad. Sadly, the peel isn’t free.
Use the peel at night, and then start your day beautifully with hardworking DERMADoctor Kakadu Vitamin C Serum, which improves skin’s elasticity and also reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Detoxify your skin, without removing natural oils, with the wildly popular DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask.
- Highly rated for its skin brightening properties
- Easy to use, pre-measured treatment pads
- Leaves skin smooth and dewy
- Helps reduce acne
- Super spendy
- Can be drying with too frequent use
- Can irritate eyes and lips
8. Best Pregnancy Facial Peel: Juice Beauty Green Apple Pregnancy Peel
During pregnancy, its’s important not to get too much preformed vitamin A (retinol,) which can cause birth defects and liver toxicity in high doses. That’s why this Green Apple Pregnancy Peel from Juice Beauty is the perfect way to exfoliate safely during pregnancy.
This patented, potent alpha hydroxy acid peel is specifically formulated without vitamin A, to allay the concerns of nursing mothers, pregnant women, or women trying to get pregnant. The pregnancy facial peel is designed for most skin types, except for those with rosacea or extremely sensitive skin.
Once you’re past pregnancy and nursing, Juice Beauty Full Strength Green Apple Peel features powerful ingredients for more beautiful skin. AHA and BHA add a one-two punch to Juice Beauty’s Green Apple products. Browse for more of them here.
- Rated 4.4 out of five stars by users
- Leaves skin smooth and soft
- Safe for use during pregnancy and nursing
- Kind of expensive for such a tiny tube
- Not suitable for those with rosacea or extremely sensitive skin
- Can cause sun sensitivity
9. Erno Laszlo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel
This skin clarifying two phase peeling system relies on the skin brightening power of vitamin C to deliver clearer, brighter and smoother skin. An even bigger bonus is its ability to diminish age spots and other skin discolorations from sun damage and acne.
Vitamin C brightens and helps to boost collagen production – a key to younger looking skin. A powerful antioxidant, carrot seed oil helps to hydrate and balance dry or chapped skin, while also diminishing dark spots. Lactic acid exfoliates, and preps your face to let the other botanicals do their work.
Step one is the exfoliating treatment which leaves your skin super smooth and bright, while step two hydrates, heals and repairs. This one-two-punch means you’re left with skin that’s visibly brighter and more luminous with a single treatment. While it’s made for your face, you can also use this peel to tackle stubborn dry skin on your elbows and knees.
- Exfoliates well to leave skin soft and smooth
- Skin brightening vitamin C has visible effects
- Can be used on your face and other body parts
- Great for dry, chapped skin
- Requires a serious cash outlay
- Inexpensive ingredients for the price
- Can be harsh to your skin’s moisture barrier
10. Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel
If you’re worried about trying a home facial peel, you can trust the peel pioneers at Philosophy. They created the microdelivery one-minute purifying enzyme peel for a gentle, yet effective way to keep your skin glowing and in optimal condition.
This unique formula contains both lactic and salicylic acids, combined with natural enzymes and a fruit acid complex to deeply exfoliate the skin. These ingredients inspire a faster rate of cell turnover, while multiple antioxidants help to protect your skin. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles are diffused.
Your skin’s overall tone, texture and firmness are improved, to reveal a brighter, smoother, more radiant complexion. If you’re hoping for a full facial solution, Hope in a Jar is a great moisturizer to add to your beauty line-up. If you’re a fan of peeling pads, Philosophy also offers Triple Acid Microdelivery Peel Pads.
Philosophy dedicates a portion of their profits to women’s mental health and well-being through various charitable endeavors. If you like to use the power of your wallet to support important causes, you’ll want to add their skin care products to your daily beauty routine.
Price: $52.21 (20 percent off MSRP)
- Rated 4.3 out of five stars by users
- Leaves skin soft
- Exfoliates well
- Helps to diminish acne issues
- Pretty spendy compared to some
- May be too harsh for sensitive skin
- Two step process isn’t simple enough for some
- Can be difficult to rinse off