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At-Home Chemical Peels: Best Ingredients, Safety & How to Use

At-Home Chemical Peels: Best Ingredients, Safety & How to Use

Chemical peels are potent treatments that thoroughly remove dead skin layers and any impurities they hold. While highly effective, if you have sensitive skin, both professional and DIY facial peels can lead to burns, irritation, and damage—especially when done without a dermatologist's guidance.

Before you dive into the trendy realm of at-home chemical peels, take a moment to explore this step-by-step guide. It'll help you choose the safest and most suitable ingredients for your skin type. You'll also get expert tips on how to perform effective at-home facial peels. Plus, see real-life examples of acid peel results from fellow skincare enthusiasts just like you.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Chemical Peel?
  • What’s the Difference Between Professional and At-Home Chemical Peels?
  • Types of Chemical Peels
  • What Are Chemical Peels Made Out Of?
  • Choosing the Right Chemical Peel Ingredient for Your Skin Type
  • How to Use a Chemical Peel At-Home

Up close shot of models cheek with Beekman 1802's Potato Peel Rapid Resurfacing Milk Facial smeared on their face, while looking off to the side

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a rejuvenating skin treatment that involves applying a solution to your face. This solution gently removes dead skin cells, unveiling the smoother and more radiant skin beneath. You can opt for a session at a dermatologist's clinic or try it at home using either DIY mixtures or store-bought treatments.

What’s the Difference Between Professional and At-Home Chemical Peels?

Professional Chemical Peels

When you go to a dermatology clinic for a facial peel, a skilled dermatologist will assess your skin type, choose the right ingredients, test for any adverse reactions, and perform the treatment, followed by proper aftercare.

Pros of Professional Chemical Peels

  • Performed by trained dermatology experts, reducing the risk of skin damage or adverse reactions.
  • Access to stronger ingredients for deeper peels.
  • Customized treatments based on individual skin needs.

Cons of Professional Chemical Peels

  • May still cause burns and skin damage, especially for sensitive or mature skin.
  • Harsh chemicals can disrupt the skin's natural microbiome.
  • Expensive, especially for superficial peels that can be done at home.


At-Home Chemical Peels

At-home chemical peels offer convenience and the opportunity for more frequent

 treatments, promoting gradual improvements in skin texture and appearance.

Pros of At-Home Chemical Peels

  • Convenient and can be done on your schedule.
  • Milder formulations suitable for regular use.
  • Cost-effective compared to professional treatments.

Cons of At-Home Chemical Peels

  • Some trendy DIY recipes may not be suitable for all skin types and can cause chemical burns. 
  • As some treatments can lead to irritation, it’s important to opt for a gentle chemical peel. 

Image of a half peeled potato on a yellow background with the title, "Finally, a peel with no irritation" on top and two lines pointing to the potato that say "from dull and even skin" and "to bright and youthful skin."

Types of Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be categorized into different levels based on how deeply they penetrate the skin and the intensity of the exfoliation.

A. Superficial Chemical Peels

Superficial peels are mild and target the outermost layer of the skin, making them ideal for maintaining skin health and addressing minor imperfections.

B. Medium Chemical Peels

Medium peels penetrate deeper into the skin and can effectively address moderate skin concerns like scarring and wrinkles.

C. Deep Chemical Peels

Deep peels are the strongest and reach the deeper layers of the skin, typically used for treating more severe skin conditions.


What Are Chemical Peels Made Out Of?

A. Enzyme Peel

Enzyme peels contain natural fruit enzymes that gently exfoliate the skin. They are suitable for sensitive skin and provide mild exfoliation.

B. Mandelic Acid Peel

Mandelic acid peels are milder than other chemical peels, making them suitable for sensitive and darker skin tones.

C. Lactic Acid Peel

Lactic acid peels are derived from milk and are ideal for dry and sensitive skin, as they provide hydration while exfoliating.

D. Salicylic Acid Peel

Salicylic acid peels are excellent for breakout-prone skin, as they penetrate the pores and dissolve impurities.

E. Glycolic Acid Peel

Glycolic acid peels are versatile and effective for various skin types, promoting collagen production and skin renewal.

F. Jessner's Peel

Jessner's peel is a combination of resorcinol, lactic acid, and salicylic acid, making it effective for skin rejuvenation.

G. TCA Peel

TCA peels are medium-depth peels used for treating more severe skin conditions like deep wrinkles and scars.

Choosing the Right Chemical Peel Ingredient for Your Skin Type

Consult our ingredient guide for each skin type (encompassing the best ingredients, peel intensity, frequency, and watchful points) to determine the best chemical peel ingredient for your skin type.

Best Chemical Peels for Sensitive Skin

  • Enzyme Peel
  • Mandelic Acid Peel

Sensitive skin craves gentle care. Opt for enzyme peels and mandelic acid peels. Begin with low-strength peels and perform them no more than once a week. Look for any signs of redness or discomfort during and after the peel.

Best Chemical Peels for Combination Skin

  • Lactic Acid Peel
  • Glycolic Acid Peel

Combination skin yearns for balance. Lactic and glycolic acid peels can do wonders. Start with mild to moderate strength peels every 1-2 weeks. Monitor your skin's response for even-toned results. 

Best Chemical Peels for Dry Skin

  • Lactic Acid Peel
  • Mandelic Acid Peel

Dry skin craves hydration and exfoliation. Lactic and mandelic acid peels work wonders. Begin with low to moderate strength peels, spaced around 2 weeks apart. Keep an eye on moisture levels post-peel. 

Best Chemical Peels for Oily Skin

  • Salicylic Acid Peel
  • Glycolic Acid Peel

Oily skin thrives on thorough cleansing. Embrace salicylic and glycolic acid peels. Start with moderate strength peels, repeating every 1-2 weeks. Observe how your skin's oiliness responds post-peel.

Best Chemical Peels for Breakout-Prone Skin

  • Salicylic Acid Peel
  • Jessner's Peel

Breakout-prone skin seeks effective solutions. Opt for salicylic acid and Jessner's peels. Begin with moderate strength peels every 2-3 weeks. Pay attention to any outbreaks and any post-peel changes. 

Best Chemical Peels for Wrinkles & Aging Skin

  • Glycolic Acid Peel
  • TCA Peel

Aging skin desires revitalization. Embrace glycolic and TCA peels. Start with moderate strength peels spaced around 2-4 weeks apart. Monitor the fine lines and overall skin texture improvement.

How to Use a Chemical Peel At-Home

To get started with an at-home chemical peel, gather these essential items:

  • Chemical peel product
  • Neutralizing agent (e.g., baking soda, Vaseline, or non-petroleum jelly)
  • Timer
  • Application tool

Step 1: Preparing Your Skin

Cleanse thoroughly and avoid exfoliants or retinoids in the days prior to the treatment. 

Step 2: Testing the Peel

Test the peel on a small area of your skin for any reactions or sensitivity.

 Step 3: Applying the Peel

Prior to application, protect any sensitive areas with the neutralizing agent. Spread a thin layer onto clean skin and leave on for 5-20 minutes. First-time users or those with sensitive skin, start with 5 minutes. Advanced users do not exceed 20 minutes. Rinse with water.  

Step 4: After-Care

Soothe your skin by applying a gentle, hydrating moisturizer. Use sunscreens, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure for at least a week afterwards.

Watch our step-by-step tutorial on how to enhance your at-home chemical peel process with our Potato Peel Rapid Resurfacing Milk Facial.

GIF image of a girl holding a potato up to her head and looking at it, and then the potato peel is replaced with Beekman 1802's Potato peel bottle and model has surprised look on her face.


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