Nonsurgical, yet highly effective treatments like chemical peels are quite effective in treating acne and acne scars. They remove brown spots, blemishes, wrinkles, fine lines as well as other common signs of aging. Moreover, they are effective in treating sun-damaged skin, spider veins, facial flushing in rosacea patients, and can also minimize large skin pores. The best part is that the effect lasts for a long time (provided you take care while stepping out in the sun), and also do not get new acne breakouts. These days, light and medium chemical peels may even be done at home.
In this guide, we will review some of the best at-home chemical peel kits for hyperpigmentation and acne scars. You can also view some of the chemical peel at home before and after photos.
Before moving on to the reviews, here are some facts you should know about chemical peels.
What are chemical peels? How do they work?
Chemical peels are of three types or ‘levels’: light, medium, and deep. Light peels are also called lunch peels as many women get the treatment done in their lunch-breaks and can continue working afterward. Many ready-to-use at-home chemical peel kits are light peels.
All three types of peels use different kinds and strengths of acidic chemicals that work by peeling the skin’s layers through safe exfoliation. The process helps remove the dead skin layers on the top to stimulate the growth of baby-soft, younger skin. The peeling is completely safe and you won’t experience any pain as the skin peels. The only downside is that the skin looks rather dry and flaky a few days after the treatment.
Over the weeks you might continue to experience dryness and peeling as fresh, clear, and radiant skin starts to reveal itself. The results of chemical peels are so good that most people are willing to tolerate the dryness as a minor side effect.
Types and costs of chemical peels
- Light peels – these remove minor sun damage, light acne blemishes, age spots. Chemical peel kits for home use are in this category. The cost can lie in the range of $20 to $500 depending on the brand. Light peels are usually AHA, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid peels.
- Medium peels – These reduce large pores and acne scars and also soften wrinkles. They can also reduce the appearance of very deep sun-damage. Costs of medium peels are in the range of $1500 to $3000 depending on the professional, your area, and the extent of scarring. Medium peels can be glycolic, salicylic acid or BHA type peels.
- Deep peels – These are best for removing very deep wrinkles, years of photo-damage, and deep acne scars or pits. The results are long-lasting but there may be some downtime of a few weeks. The cost of deep peels can go up to $5000 depending on the cosmetologist, the area you live in, and also the extent of acne scarring or sun damage.
How to use home chemical peels
Most home-chemical peel kits use a three-step process
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleanse the skin and use a mild scrub or exfoliating agent to remove the dead skin cells, oil, and makeup. This step also is very important to prepare the skin for the peel. Failure to cleanse properly can cause the oils and grime on the skin to neutralize the acids in the peel.
Step 2: Refine
In this step, you apply the chemical enzymes (glycolic acid or salicylic acid) which help remove dead skin cells and leaves the skin refreshed. Avoid the area around the eyes and the mouth. Do not apply the enzymes on damaged skin. You can apply the enzymes on active acne but avoid areas with open acne cysts. For at-home chemical peel kits, read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before using the peel. Some peels should not be left for longer than 5 minutes while some peels are left on for 6-7 hours. The manufacturer’s instructions will let you know the exact time to leave the peel on for.
Step 3: Protect
Apply a moisturizer with at least SPF 15++ to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. This will prevent further damage caused by the sun’s rays.
Contraindications of chemical peels
- Medium and deep peels should not be done if one is in poor health as it could interfere with wound healing.
- If you have taken isotretinoin therapy in the last 6 months of the chemical peel, you could have an increased risk of scarring.
- Postpone the treatment if you have open wounds, herpes simplex lesions, or open acne cysts.
- Mention to your doctor if you have a history of keloid formation.
Best at-home chemical peel kits for acne scars and hyperpigmentation
Olay Vitamin C Face Mask Kit with Silica and Exfoliating AHA Peel
Olay’s Face mask kit contains a scrub and serum which removes dead skin cells and exfoliates gently to reveal younger-looking skin. Vitamin C serum removes blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and moderate acne scarring. Get a spa-like experience at home along with beautiful and radiant skin.
- Easy to use
- Moisturizes dry skin
- It does not cause too much peeling and is gentle enough for sensitive skin.
- Has a great scent
- Thousands of positive reviews
- Few people experienced an allergic reaction after using this produce: burning, blisters, red-lines, etc.
- For some users, there was no effect at all; acne, dark spots, and wrinkles all persisted
- Overpriced product.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Salicylic acid Exfoliant for Acne, Blackheads, Wrinkles
Paula’s Choice at-home exfoliating chemical peel set contains BHA and Green tea extracts. BHA helps minimize pores, blackheads, and acne scars while green tea soothes the skin and removes sun-damage. This chemical peel set is gentle enough for regular use and is suitable for all skin types.
- Made in the USA.
- Free from parabens
- This is a cruelty-free product that hasn’t been tested on animals.
- Has no harsh fragrance or dyes and is gentle for all skin types
- Thousands of happy customers and 4+ star reviews
- Leaves skin oily. One cannot apply makeup over the product as it tends to ball up.
- Did nothing for some users.
- It can exacerbate fungal acne owing to ingredients like Polysorbate 20.
Glycolic Acid 30% gel peel with Retinol and Green tea extracts by Perfect Image
Perfect Image’s glycolic acid peel gives you 15-20 full facial peels using a single bottle. The retinol in the product removes dead skin cells, scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. With regular use, your skin tone becomes evener. The green tea and chamomile in the gel soothes the skin, reduces redness, and provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-acnegenic action. It also contains cucumber extracts that brighten the skin. Do follow the directions given on the product; this is necessary to prevent allergies. Wash and cleanse your face properly to remove oil and grime, if any. Do not leave the product on for longer than necessary. Make sure you neutralize the acid using baking soda to wash the face afterward.
- Professionally formulated peel.
- Reduces hyperpigmentation, cystic acne, dark spots, and other skin problems.
- Safe enough for sensitive skin.
- Caused serious chemical burns in some people. Some have even had to use laser treatment and micro-needling to reduce the damage done by this product.
QRxLabs Glycolic acid 50% peel with green tea and chamomile extract – AHA peel
Get smoother, brighter, and radiant skin with this 50% glycolic acid peel. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles and minimizes pores and blackheads. It is beneficial for people with active acne and acne marks, reduces wrinkles, deep cleans pores, fades hyperpigmentation, and evens out dark spots and blemishes.
- Being a gel, the product stays on the skin and does not drip down into the eyes and mouth.
- Green tea and chamomile extracts are effective in promoting clear, healthy skin. They also reduce the irritation and redness caused by glycolic acid and help soothe the pain and burning.
- Easy to use
- Value for money
- Hundreds of happy customers
- Caused serious burns in some people.
There are many top-rated glycolic peel at-home kits which can minimize acne scars and dark spots. Most give great results but, as with any skincare product, they could also cause severe allergic reactions in some people. So always follow the instructions given on the product and, if needed, test a small patch of the skin first. Discontinue use if you experience severe burning or itching.
Make sure you prep your skin before applying the peel and also remember to neutralize the acids with baking soda after using the peel. We hope that these reviews of chemical peel for acne scars help you make an informed decision in buying the best at-home chemical peel kit.