Your Ultimate Guide to At-Home Facial Peels

Anya Mer

Photo: Imaxtree


Summertime is all about that dewy, glowing complexion, so we’re happily tossing our full coverage foundations aside and stepping up our skincare game to embrace the au-naturale look. And the ultimate secret to ensure glowing skin? Peels, of course.

That’s right. No longer the exclusive domain of dermatologists, at-home facial peels are our secret weapons for those times when our complexion needs a little pick-me-up. Peels are a great way to boost luminosity, diminish imperfections and keep our skin looking plump and glowing (who doesn’t want that right?!). If you’ve been wondering how to work these magical products into your life, we’ve got you covered: here’s literally everything you need to know about at-home peels.

At-Home Peels: What To Do.

– Before applying the peel, make sure your face is thoroughly cleansed. Use a makeup remover to remove any stubborn eye and face makeup and then follow up with a gentle cleanser. Remember that peels tend to be a little harsh on the skin, so make sure you sure skip any exfoliators or toners that might normally be a part of your beauty routine. These products can be slightly irritating, and piling irritation on top of irritation is a recipe for skin-disasters.
– Avoid applying the peel to sensitive areas like under the eyes and around your nose and mouth. The skin in these areas is thinner than on the rest of your face, and harsh exfoliation can be cause hyperpigmentation and dryness. Um, no thank you.
– After-peel care is just as important as the peel itself. Apply a serum packed with vitamin C and peptides to help replenish the skin and restore its natural protective barrier. Follow up with a luxurious, fast-absorbing moisturizer to re-hydrate your complexion.

And What Not To Do:

– Although at-home peels tend to be less potent than professional peels, don’t leave the peel on for longer than suggested. This won’t boost your results; it’ll just dry out or damage your skin. Nobody wants a red, peely, or chemical burned face!
– Try to limit sun exposure directly after a peel and make sure to wear a heavy duty sunscreen when out and about. New layers of skin don’t take well to sun exposure and overexposure can result in pigmentation and severe sunburn (ouch!).
– Don’t exfoliate skin for at least a week after your peel. A peel is basically an intensive chemical exfoliation, so give your skin time to rest and renew.
– While peels are great for reducing the appearance of hyperpigmenation, acne scarring and fine lines, they aren’t necessarily the best course of treatment for active acne. Avoid using a peel if you’re breaking out, especially if you have any popped or open spots, as this can cause more harm than good.

The Products We Love:


REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.
Formulated with a blend of glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids, this peel instantly brightens complexion, shrinks pores and evens out skin tone. The acidic blends helps lift dead skin cells, while papain (an enzyme present in papaya) aids in the gentle exfoliation of the skin. Omega 3 and 7 then replenish the skin by supporting natural cell turnover and diminishing any remaining redness. Apply once or twice a week for 10 minutes for a visibly replenished and brightened complexion.

(REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, $55,


Kiehl’s Over-Night Biological Peel.
This peel is great for those of us with sensitive skin – it’s gentle enough for overnight use, but still leaves skin glowing and renewed. Formulated with pH balancing and hydrating acids, it mildly exfoliates skin while continuing to retain its natural moisture. It’s mild enough to be used up to three times a week; just make sure to follow up with a replenishing moisturizer in the morning to help combat any dryness.

(Kiehl’s Over-Night Biological Peel, $46,


Philosophy Resurface: The Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel.
A cult favorite, the Microdelivery peel is a two step exfoliating system containing vitamin C/peptide resurfacing crystals and a lactic/salicylic activating gel. The crystals aid in surface exfoliation while the activating gel works in conjunction with the crystals to diminish the appearance of fine lines and dullness for a deeper, chemical exfoliation. While caution is advised if you have extremely sensitive skin, we have to say, this stuff is the real deal.

(Philosophy Resurface: The Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel, $72,

ptr e1434660232523 Your Ultimate Guide to At Home Facial PeelsPeter Thomas Roth 40% Triple Acid Peel
This professional-strength glycolic and salicylic acid peel works wonders to restore luminosity and eliminate the look of enlarged pores and wrinkles. It works by dispensing the acids onto an exfoliating pad for both a surface and chemical exfoliation treatment. Work into skin in light, circular motions and leave for 2 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and follow up with a hydrating serum or moisturizer.

(Peter Thomas Roth 40% Triple Acid Peel, $15 – $88,