The 10 Best Chemical Peels

Updated December 04, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10  Best Chemical Peels
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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Many women use chemical peels to simply give them a more youthful glow and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, the formulations in our selection are also great at helping with a number of skin issues, such as warts, scarring, acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma and more, and can even fade tattoos over time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best chemical peel on Amazon.

10. Splendora 100% TCA

Splendora 100% TCA can reduce the size and appearance of the peskiest skin problems, like moles and skin tags, which can help you avoid scary surgical removals. It can also fade tattoos over time, so be careful if you are putting it over one you want to keep.
  • includes q-tips and gloves
  • leaves your skin feeling firmer
  • not suitable for dark skin tones
Brand Splendora
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Planet Eden Kit

The Planet Eden Kit includes an antioxidant recovery cream that pumps your skin with healing botanical extracts and peptides, minimizing redness and tingling. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you'll love how effective it is in lightening the appearance of freckles.
  • comes with a fan brush
  • can burn if left on too long
  • leaves skin very dry
Brand Planet Eden
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Skin Beauty Solutions Beta Hydroxy

Skin Beauty Solutions Beta Hydroxy uses a salicylic acid that loosens the bonds that hold old skin cells together and dislodges debris attached to the surface of your skin. It also thoroughly cleans your pores, but it will leave you blotchy for a few days.
  • can minimize warts
  • good for reducing lip creases
  • not effective for hyperpigmentation
Brand Skin Beauty Solutions
Model NA
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Skin Obsession GA40

Skin Obsession GA40 smooths out your skin while causing minimal visible peeling, so you can leave the house immediately after applying it. It also helps boost collagen production, leaving your skin looking plumper, and it comes with helpful post-application instructions.
  • good choice for beginners
  • gentler burn than most peels
  • not great at reducing pore size
Brand Skin Obsession
Model GA40
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Refresh Skin Therapy Fruit

Refresh Skin Therapy Fruit contains kojic acid, an ingredient that Japanese people have been using for centuries due to its skin lightening properties and its ability to prevent future skin discoloration. Plus, it provides extreme hydration to even the driest skin.
  • helps shrink your pores
  • great at fighting melasma
  • glass dropper breaks easily
Brand Refresh Skin Therapy
Weight 1.4 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Perfect Image Gel

Perfect Image Gel contains green tea and chamomile extracts that offer anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits, as well as provide sun protection to your skin. It also boasts cucumber extract, which works as a natural skin tightener.
  • one bottle provides 15 to 20 peels
  • made from sustainable raw materials
  • doesn't contain parabens or sulfates
Model GLY30GP
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. ASDM Beverly Hills Glycolic

If you want the in-office experience but cannot afford to visit a professional, grab ASDM Beverly Hills Glycolic. This medical strength peel is amazing at removing pimples and whiteheads within one day, and will leave your skin feeling extra soft.
  • reduces the appearance of scars
  • prevents new acne from forming
  • helps with hyperpigmentation
Brand ASDM Beverly Hills
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Olay Regenerist

Olay Regenerist will help steadily diminish white heads that grow in stubborn areas, like under your skin and on your nose. It instantly makes your skin look brighter and healthier by combining microdermabrasion and a peel treatment.
  • helps makeup go on smoother
  • feels lightweight on your face
  • has a pleasant smell
Brand Olay
Model NA
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Cosmedica Skincare Hyaluronic

Cosmedica Skincare Hyaluronic is an all-natural serum that can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, even out skin tones, and eliminate dark bags under the eyes. It can used on sensitive and oily skin.
  • improves skin elasticity
  • ingredients are sourced in the usa
  • not tested on animals
Brand Cosmedica Skincare
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Philosophy Microdelivery

Philosophy Microdelivery is a gentle one-minute peel that contains a unique combination of natural enzymes and a fruit acid complex that boost the rate of cell turnover. It also includes a scrub that works wonders when it comes to removing dead skin cells.
  • can reduce acne breakouts
  • effective on women of all ages
  • gives you a youthful glow
Brand Philosophy
Model 604079018548
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

What Conditions Can A Chemical Peel Treat?

Various ingredients might be used in a chemical peel to enhance its moisturizing properties, odors, and other elements, but the basis for every peel is usually a combination of alpha hydroxy acids, phenol (which has many health benefits, including reducing the damage of free radicals), and trichloroacetic acid. While the exact formula of chemical peels may vary, they all work to remove old and damaged skin cells through the use of an acid solution. The skin that is then exposed is usually smoother and softer than that which was removed.

Chemical peels can be used to treat uneven skin pigmentation, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. There are various causes of this condition, including sun damage, and even exposure to certain dyes and air contaminants, but they all result in skin that is darker in some areas than others. A chemical peel can remove the layer of skin that has uneven pigment, and reveal a new layer that has yet to be exposed to the atmosphere which still has an even color.

Chemical peels can also be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Dark skin in the lines of stretch marks makes them appear much more severe than they are. Because chemical peels remove dead cells, they reveal a new layer of skin that is usually brighter than the old one. This evens out skin tone and helps blend stretch marks in with the surrounding skin. Chemical peels do not need to be applied to just the face; they can go anywhere on the body. They can also be used for spot treatments, evening out the tone and texture of skin in targeted areas.

Surprising Things A Chemical Peel Can Do

Those who do not want to undergo invasive skin tag removal surgery, which can often result in scarring, can try a chemical peel instead. Chemical peels have also been shown to be effective in fading tattoos and reducing the appearance of some scars. Some evidence even suggests that they can also prevent the forming scars, too. Dermatology research has shown that whiteheads and blackheads can result in scars. Some chemical peels can also effectively clean pores, and prevent white and black heads.

One of the common complications one experiences after a chemical peel is a strong tingling or burning sensation. This is typically harmless and goes away within a few days, but it can be very uncomfortable. Many chemical peels include a healing kit that covers one's skin in antioxidants and botanical extracts. These can be very calming on your inflamed skin and can help make it stronger, quicker. Freckles are additional skin ailments that people often turn to chemical peels for. Some contain a formula that lightens the appearance of freckles and is especially effective for anyone with sun damage.

Many chemical peels produce visible peeling, which makes users hesitant to go outside until the process is complete. Some manufacturers have created formulas that do not produce visible peeling, so the wearer can go outside immediately after applying their peel. People who are at an age when their skin stops producing as much natural collagen can look for a peel that boosts collagen production, helping them fight the effects of aging.

A History Of Chemical Peels

The Ancient Egyptians, who were pioneers in many beauty services and products still seen today, like tattoos and wigs, were some of the first to use chemical peels. Ancient Egyptian women discovered that the lactic acid in sour milk rejuvenated their skin, and so they would put it on their faces. Ancient Romans turned to grape skins, which contain tartaric acid. In the 1800s, a dermatologist named Ferdinand Hebra began lightening freckles with a combination of nitric acids, hydrochloric, croton oil and a few other ingredients. This mixture would cause the skin to blister, at which point Hebra would puncture them, cover them with starch and remove the dead cells.

In 1871, another dermatologist noted that using a mixture that contained 20 percent phenol could lighten skin, and in 1882, a German dermatologist named P.G. Unna discovered the benefits of adding salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid to peels. Unna made a paste of zinc oxide, petrolatum, resorcinol and ichthammol that allegedly rejuvenated skin, and reduced the appearance of wrinkles. Unna's work inspired much of the research done in the 1990s on salicylic acid, which is still often found in peels today.

Glycolic acid is another ingredient that took the chemical peel industry by storm in the 1990s. A derivative of sugar cane, glycolic acid has tiny molecules capable of deeply penetrating the skin. A 10 percent concentration of the acid is found in may moisturizers, and a 50 percent concentration goes into chemical peels.

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Last updated on December 04, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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