Chemical peels have become power players in the skin care industry. Thanks to their ability to dissolve dead skin cells, they deliver a host of youth-boosting benefits that you would normally only receive through an appointment with your dermatologist.
The high-performance at-home versions typically use a low-dose combination of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to uncover radiance, reduce wrinkle depth, even tone and refine pores — without the searing side-effects of clinical-strength peels.
Discover our favorite over-the-counter power peelers below.
Bronze: BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Peel Maximum Performance Exfoliating Gel ($175)
This resurfacing gel is ideal for improving skin tone. It uses a super-charged combo of alpha hydroxy acids — glycolic, malic, lactic and citric —to slough off skin that is damaged or dead. Kojic acid, licorice root and bearberry extract have been shown to reduce discoloration and brighten skin, while peptides stimulate the production of healthy new collagen. Dark spots and dullness don’t stand a chance!
Silver: Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel ($88 in the shop)
The anti-aging allstar firms, smooths and re-densifies skin in one step. It uses lactic acid (one of the AHAs mentioned above) to dissolve dead cells and a heavy dose of retinol to speed up collagen renewal. The thoughtful addition of ferulic acid makes the retinol more tolerable by negating the effects of irritation and inflammation. The pre-soaked peel pads are convenient and can be used daily for long-term benefits.
Gold: Dr. Dennis Gross Original Alpha Beta Peel ($88 in the shop)
Our champ is choice for all skin types and concerns. The two-step system targets fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, enlarged pores and uneven texture with five alpha hydroxyl acids. It’s also packed with antioxidants, like ubiquinone and resveratrol, to nourish the skin underneath for a more radiant appearance when it surfaces. First-time users need not worry, because this peel is gentle enough for the inexperienced; however, those who regularly receive peels will also see significant improvements.