Anti-Wrinkle Facial Peels

The One-Hour Procedure That Keeps Your Skin Young

Do you have an amazing daily anti-aging routine in place but just aren’t seeing the results that you’d like? It could be that your skin just isn’t absorbing it correctly.

Don’t worry, though – it’s fixable. You just need to get that outer layer of yuck off of your face so that your products can roll up their sleeves and get to work!

What’s the Difference Between a Facial and a Peel?

Have you heard these terms and wondered what in the world the difference was? Well we’re going to clear it up once and for all.

A regular facial is simply a good, deep cleanse and exfoliation accompanied by a massage to stimulate your blood flow.

A peel involves the use of chemicals, either natural or man-made, to treat wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, acne scarring or other blemishes. A peel actually removes the first, and sometimes the second, layer of skin on your face.

What Ingredients Should I Look For In a Facial Peel?

This is a tough question because it really depends upon what your skin tone is and what problems you’re wanting to correct. We’re going to review several of the most common ingredients and discuss exactly what they’re used for. There are peels that contain two or more of these ingredients if you need to treat more than one condition. We’ll review our top product picks at the end of this article.

  • Glycolic Acid

    Glycolic acid is one of the most common ingredients that you’ll find in an anti-aging facial peel and is an alpha hydroxy acid. It’s extremely powerful and is actually regulated by the government. It’s a favorite ingredient as an exfoliant because of its high acidity but excellent water solubility.

    When applied to your face as part of a peel, it goes underneath the first, and sometimes second, layer of your skin and dissolves the cells that hold all of those dead skin cells in place. The other ingredients in the peel wash away those dead layers and neutralize any remaining glycolic acid, leaving your skin smooth and younger looking.

    Because it’s so acidic, you may be sensitive to the sun and have a red appearance for a day or two after your peel, depending on the percentage of acid in the peel so for your first time, you may want to try something around 30%. Glycolic acid is a great ingredient for getting rid of fine lines, sun damage and age spots in concentrations higher than 10% but less than 70%.

  • Salicylic Acid

    Salicylic acid has been used for centuries to treat everything from pain to acne and is the main ingredient in plain old aspirin. Originally made from willow bark, it’s now usually synthetically created.

    The primary use for salicylic acid in a chemical peel is to exfoliate and to treat acne and psoriasis. It also opens up your pores so that your skin is ready to absorb your moisturizers or other treatments.

    Salicylic acid treatments are considered to be light, or superficial, because they only remove the outer most layers of skin.

  • Lactic Acid

    Lactic acid is produced by your body during exercise and is also found in milk products. It’s a great ingredient to look for in your peel if you have dry skin and want to treat fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth and under your eyes. Lactic Acid treatments are also great to use as a weekly moisturizing treatment.

  • Trichloracetic Acid (TCA)

    TCA is a non-toxic exfoliating acid that’s used to treat fixed fine lines, freckles, age spots, acne and sun damage. It’s not a good treatment for dynamic wrinkles or acne scars. After a treatment with TCA, your skin will be brighter and small blemishes will be reduced or eliminated. TCA peels will cause your skin to peel, so that’s something that you may wish to consider when scheduling your treatment.

  • Resorcinol

    Resorcinol is a chemically-created agent that is water-soluble and used to treat such skin conditions as acne, psoriasis and rosacea. Because it is a moderately aggressive acid, you may have a slightly red appearance that resembles a sunburn for a day or two after getting your peel, depending upon how strong the concentration is.

  • Baker’s Phenol

    Because this ingredient is typically used to treat deep wrinkles and is considered a deep chemical peel, you won’t find it in any at-home kits, or even at spas but we thought you might want to know about it.

    Baker’s phenol is so powerful that it carries a risk of heart and kidney problems as well as decreased skin coloration (hypopigmentation). Deep chemical peels are so dangerous that they must be conducted in an operating room and require weeks of preparation.

    You run the risk of infection, herpes simplex infections, bacterial infections, scarring and discoloration of your skin, so think carefully before you undergo this procedure and choose a seasoned professional.

If you’d like to do an at-home facial peel, check out the products that we’ve chosen below. We’ve broken them down into categories for you to make it easy to choose.

Our Top Picks


  1. Fine Lines, Discoloration, Uneven Complexion, Enlarged Pores, Clogged Pores (Keratosis Pilaris)

    DermaDoctor Physical Chemistry Microdermabrasion + Multiacid Chemical Peel: This powerhouse contains glycolic, lactic, azelaic and alpha hydroxy acids that work together to provide the ultimate at-home peel. It also contains several skin soothers such as green tea extract, algae extract and dimethicone to reduce irritation. To top it off, it has smooth-edged microdermabrasion beads that do an excellent job of exfoliating but break down when applied so that they don’t irritate your skin.

  2. Acne, Oily Skin, Clogged Pores, Fine Lines and Wrinkles, and Age Spots

    40% Glycolic Acid Peel by Skin Obsessions: This really says all that it needs to – it’s a high enough concentration to work, but not so high that first-time users will burn themselves. Be sure to follow the directions!

  3. Uneven Skin Tone, Acne, Psoriasis, Sun Damage – All Skin Tones

    50% Lactic Acid Gel Peel: Formulated for all skin tones and contains enough for 15 full facials.

  4. After-Peel Treatment

    Neutralizer Skin pH Balancer: Helps balance the pH of your skin after a peel for a safe, effective procedure.

If you’ve tried a facial peel, we’d love to hear how it worked out for you. Please fill us in in the comments section below.

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