11 Best Face Peels to Score Glowing Skin in Seconds

Even if you have sensitive skin.

bliss face peel
Photo: Courtesy

Once upon a time, not so long ago, face peels were associated with lobster-red skin and unsightly flaking, and well, peeling—remember the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha gets a chemical peel? But the truth of the matter is that face peels are nothing to be scared of. Yes, there are in-office options that can be rather intense, but there's also a whole host of at-home face peels that can quickly and efficiently leave your skin smoother, more even, and gorgeously radiant, sans any irksome irritation. The even better news: These days, there are formulas tailored to every particular complexion concern and skin type, even sensitive. Point being, pretty much anyone and everyone can reap the benefits of a face peel. Here, 11 of our favorites.

01 of 11

Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

face-peel-Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

This aptly named pick does in fact rely on a combination of different berries, all loaded with antioxidants that help brighten skin. Per the peel part, it touts alpha-hydroxy acid, alongside fruit enzymes, that gently yet effectively break down dead skin cells that can leave your complexion dull and lackluster. The end result is a formula that unclogs pores, smooths uneven texture, fades dark marks, and generally leaves your skin softer and more radiant, even after just one use. (And it's safe for all skin types too.) But the best part, in our opinion? It smells—and looks—exactly like raspberry jam, making the application experience truly enjoyable.

02 of 11

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Texture Renewal Peel

face-peel- dr dennis gross skincare advanced retinol and ferulic overnight texture renewal peel

Both this formula and the delivery system–all you have to do is swipe one of the single-use peel pads across your skin—are major winners. While the idea of retinol-containing peel may sound like a recipe for irritation, even our sensitive skin can tolerate this formula. Credit the fact that the retinol is paired with soothing bakuchiol and hydrating squalane and hyaluronic acid; meanwhile, the ferulic acid offers a boost of antioxidant protection. Used two to three times per week this peel is ideal for minimizing the look of wrinkles and prominent pores, as well as combating dark spots and rough or bumpy skin texture.

03 of 11

Bliss Jelly Glow Peel

face-peel-Bliss Jelly Glow Peel

This fun-to-use formula touts pineapple and papaya enzymes for gentle chemical exfoliation, breaking down dead skin cells. It also contains cellulose fibers, which essentially act almost like a lint roller for your skin, attaching to those dead skin cells. Apply this peel then gently massage it into your skin in a circular motion and it will ball up, grabbing all those dead skin cells with it. And the hydrating, jelly-like base, filled with niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate, ensures it's never too drying.

04 of 11

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

face-peel-Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

A mask-peel hybrid, there's a good reason why this product has a cult-like following. A combination of alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, tartaric, glycolic, and lactic) brighten and smooth skin, while salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) helps dissolve pore-clogging oil. It sounds intense, but keep in mind that it's specially formulated at 3.5 pH to help minimize redness and sensitivity.

05 of 11

Versed The Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel

face-peel-Versed The Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel

Swap your standard night cream for this peel one to three times per week. Lactic and glycolic acids work synergistically to take care of the exfoliating duties, while a laundry list of skin-soothing ingredients (allantoin, rosehip, and vitamin E) keep unwanted irritation and redness at bay. Best of all, it absorbs into your skin just like a lotion would, so there's no need to worry about it gunking up your pillowcase. Just wash it off in the morning and prepare to be amazed at how your skin looks and feels. Plus, can we talk about the price?!

06 of 11

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

face-peel-First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

This brand is well-known for making products that are safe and effective even for the most sensitive of skin types, and these peel pads are no exception. A perfect option for those with extremely sensitive skin, and/or those who are looking for a more gentle type of peel, these can be used daily or even twice per day. Still, thanks to a blend of glycolic and lactic acids, they're effective enough to brighten and smooth skin. Top tip: Try using them on your back and chest too.

07 of 11

BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Triple Action Daily Peel

face-peel-BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Triple Action Daily Peel

When a cosmetic chemist creates a skincare line, you know it's going to be full of the good stuff. Case in point: this newbie. The one-step peel pad is loaded with exfoliating alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, alongside ingredients that help to firm skin and reduce wrinkles, such as glucosamine and niacinamide. If your skin is super-sensitive, start by using these every other day, gradually working up to daily use as your skin acclimates. Also nice: The pads themselves are biodegradable.

08 of 11

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peel Solution

face-peel-The Ordinary AHA BHA Exfoliating Peel Solution

A laundry list of acids—glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric, salicylic—make this peel extra potent for combating irregular texture, clogged pores, and dullness. It's admittedly intense, so make sure to follow the directions for use, namely applying it on dry skin and leaving it on for no more than 10 minutes before washing off. Still, if you're looking for a heavy-hitting treatment—at an unbelievably affordable price point—this can't be beat.

09 of 11

Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel

face-peel-Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel

If dark spots and hyperpigmentation are your primary complexion complaint, try this pick. L-ascorbic acid (AKA the most potent version of vitamin C), derived from blue algae, works to effectively fade discoloration. A patented triple acid complex—a mix of alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids—further helps up the tone-evening ante, and there are also tons of antioxidants in the mix to ward off future spots. The pretty blue color is just an added bonus.

10 of 11

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

face-peel-Kiehls Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

This boasts phytic acid and quinoa husk extract for a gentle-yet-effective combo of chemical and physical exfoliation; it's so gentle that it can be used nightly, no matter your skin type. Layer it under a serum or moisturizer and let it do its thing, evening out texture and tone with each continued use. We also appreciate that it's both paraben- and fragrance-free.

11 of 11

L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Peel Pads

face-peel-LOreal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Peel Pads

Pick up these peel pads the next time you're at the drugstore. The star of the show is glycolic acid, which, as mentioned, is an alpha-hydroxy acid that's ideal for revealing smoother, glowier skin. But the ingredient also does double duty, helping to stimulate collagen production to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Multi-tasking for the win. Not to mention that these are gentle enough that they can be used nightly and are super-easy to work into your routine post-cleansing, pre-moisturizing.

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  1. Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applicationsJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):14-17.

  2. Narda M, Trullas C, Brown A, et al. Glycolic acid adjusted to pH 4 stimulates collagen production and epidermal renewal without affecting levels of proinflammatory TNF-alpha in human skin explantsJ Cosmet Dermatol. 2021;20(2):513-521. doi:10.1111/jocd.13570

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