Best Facial Peel

Do you want to know which one is the Best Facial Peel? This is your address of choice. In this article we are going to compare selected exfoliator products. We will answer many questions to their usage and effects.

First we will summarise the best three Facial Peels, later we will focus on details and particular information about how they work and are applied.


Top 3 Facial Peeling Products

Our Winner: Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Facial Peel

  • “A full-fledged Fruit Acid Facial Peel”
  • This AHA-exfoliant is an 8% Alpha Hydroxy Acid Gel. It is put on the cleansed facial skin and is spread over the whole face.
  • You should ideally use the gel every second day in your first week of usage, else you could irritate your skin. If your skin gets used to it or reacts well you can use it on a daily basis.
  • This product contains 8% Glycolic Acid which gives your skin glow and smoothness.
  • With a pH-value of 3.5 it enables optimal skin peel and is completed with a skin-compatible formula.
  • You should use a good moisturizer on this AHA-Gel to hydrate and regenerate your skin.
Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #1: Paula's Choice AHA Gel Our Tip #1: Paula's Choice AHA Gel 173 Reviews $29.00


Our No. 2: Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Treatment with 5% AHA

Paula's Choice Facial AHA Peel

  • “Light and well compatible Facial Exfoliant”
  • It is a light and hydrating Facial Peel which is gentle but still effective.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Treatment has a mild formula with 5% Glycolic acid and 0.5% Salicylic Acid. That is why it is perfect for AHA-beginners and scaredy cats, who want to try the Fruit Acid Exfoliants.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist has an unbelievably tender and smooth texture, like a serum. It is easy to spread, really rich and smells fresh. The scent is given by the odor of some ingredients, there are no fragrances added.
  • Our tip: Even sensitive skin which can’t use stronger exfoliants with 8-10% agent concentration can try out this facial peel.
Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #2: Paula's Choice Resist Treatment Our Tip #2: Paula's Choice Resist Treatment 30 Reviews Currently not available


Our No. 3: Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Lotion

Facial Peel Lotion by Alpha Hydrox

  • “Intensive Fruit Acid Peel experience”
  • The Alpha Hydrox Peel is a double-concentrated substance, compared to the Resist AHA Treatment.
  • This product is most suitable for experienced users and has an even more intensive effect than the other two products in our comparative test.
  • Because of its higher acidity (10%) the Alpha Hydrox Fruit Acid Peel should first be tested on a small part of your skin. After applying it on your skin you should use a good moisturizer.
  • Please do not forget to use an adequate UV-blocker. Fruit acid treatments make the skin more sensitive to light.
Preview Product Rating Price
Our Tip #3: Alpha Hydrox AHA Lotion Our Tip #3: Alpha Hydrox AHA Lotion 949 Reviews Currently not available


Frequently asked questions to the usage of Facial Peel products

How does a Facial Peel work?

Facial Peel Application

Skin exfoliants remove the first layer of skin – either in a mechanical or chemical way, depending on the type of peeling.

Dead skin particles, which are like a burden to our skin, are being removed by this type of profound facial cleansing. This old and unnecessary skin affects the skin’s breathing capacity, blood circulation and regeneration.



Which types of peels exist?

There are two ways to peel the upper skin layer – mechanical or chemical.

Mechanical scrubs contain small grounding particles. These particles help clear your skin of old, dead cells. The particles’ granulation varies depending on the product, so these mechanical peels can be sometimes more and sometimes less aggressive.

Besides electrical devices you can also buy dermabrasion creams which work mechanically on your skin (e.g. this cream).


Nowadays the chemical facial peels are much more popular, they normally contain fruit acids. The first dermal layer is removed by these acids – the intensity depends on the acidic concentration.

There are aggressive chemical facial exfoliants, which work with phenol instead of fruit acid, but we won’t concern ourselves with those in this article. Phenol has many side effects and should only be used under medical advice and guidance (source).

We will fully concern ourselves only with peeling products that contain fruit acids. Actual cosmetic and scientific findings say that these exfoliants are a gentle but yet effective method against blemishes and early skin aging.

Some of the most popular ingredients for fruit acid facial peels are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) – among these are glycolic acid, tartaric acid and lactic acid. They are called fruit acids, because they exist in nature and are won out of fruit or other plants.



What effects are obtained from fruit acid peels?

Fruit Acid Peels

Fruit acids gently remove the first dermal layer. Because of their small molecule size they can invade deeper skin structures and there they remove dead particles of your skin. Left are fresh and active skin cells which can reproduce intensively and renew your skin’s structure from the inside.

With the removal of dead hard skin cells not only your complexion will be refreshed, but also the skin’s capacity to absorb skin care products will be increased.

Hard skin is a sort of natural barrier which prevents our skin to optimally absorb active care components. Applied care products have less impact on your skin, because they can’t enter deeper skin layers. They will mostly stay on the first dermal layer and evaporate after some time without any effect.

Fruit acid facial peels are not only used against pale and dry facial skin, they are also used to reduce wrinkles and damage due to sunlight. It is even used to cure enlarged pores and acne – everything that affects our skin’s appearance in the long term.

skin care routine


How often should a fruit acid exfoliant be used?

For starters the skin should be peeled about once or twice a week. A low-concentrated facial toner should be used to get the skin accustomed to the treatment. It is recommended to begin with a Glycolic Acid Peel with 5% concentration (e.g. our No. 2 product recommendation).

If your skin has no problem with the exfoliant, the intensity can be adjusted – the frequency (3-4 times per week) as well as agent concentration (up to 10% acidity).

You should know that you can see the first effects of an AHA Facial Peel only after 5-6 weeks. You need to be patient enough for this sort of treatment. Your skin shouldn’t be strained with wrong handling at the beginning. The treatment should be started slowly and consequently be intensified – listen to your own body’s and skin’s well-being.


Suggested application of Fruit Acid Facial Peels:

  • First you should thoroughly clean your skin. If you tend to sensitive skin you can use a gentle facial cleanser. There are cleansers with fruit acid nowadays, but they are not equal to a fruit acid peel toner, because they are washed off after a short period of time.
  • Apply a toner that contains fruit acid and let it be absorbed for about 10-15 minutes, if needed you can repeat it once again. The AHA-toner can also be used on your neck and décolleté area. You can choose freely. The toner won’t be washed off or neutralised. Neutralisation is only necessary for high-concentrated substances.
  • The further skin care should be, first of all, a good Moisturizer. A combination of AHA-peel and Retinol Cream (Vitamin A) as well as a Vitamin C Serum has an even better anti-aging effect.
  • If your skin is exposed to sunlight after the usage of fruit acid peels you should definitely use a high UV-blocker. The skin gets even more sensitive to light after peeling it.



What do I need to consider when buying an AHA Facial Peel?

AHA Facial Peel

The most important thing you need to know when buying an exfoliant is its acidic concentration. Like mentioned earlier you should start with 5% acidity and adjust up to 10% if your skin got used to it. The exfoliant with glycolic acid will come to effect at its best with 5-10% concentration.

A Facial Peel with less than 2% acidity can be accepted at the beginning of your treatment, but can be too little for further process. On the other hand you can have negative effects on your skin if the concentration of your peeling is too high.

To prevent damage to the skin, it is necessary to do a basic neutralisation with highly concentrated, aggressive skin peels. That is why such treatments should only be performed under professional supervision.

The pH-value of fruit acid is also important. If the peel’s value is similar to our skin’s value (approx. 5.5), there won’t really be a peeling effect. The AHA-peel should have a pH-value in the range between 3-4, this is where it works best.



Does a fruit acid peel help with pigmentation marks?

Pigmentation marks are normally in the deeper skin regions that can be reached by chemical peels. But this depends on the exfoliants that are used.

We are talking about facial peels for home usage, not the professional and medical products. That’s why fruit acid peels are suitable for smoothening and refreshing your skin’s appearance, but not really for a permanent skin brightening or removal of pigmentation marks.

Pigmentation marks can be brightened by regular usage of retinol creams. You can find out more about that in this review:



Can I use facial peels on acne?

If you use a correct dose, then chemical facial peelings are gentler and more compatible than mechanical scrubs. That’s why they are basically applicable for blemishes. We experienced that Salicylic Acid Peels (BHA) are suitable for acne.

BHA-peels remove excess fat from the pores and take away the acne’s basic nourishment. Salicylic acid has antibacterial qualities. Therefore BHA Facial Peels should be preferred for acne, blackheads and oily skin.


Both acidic types can also be combined with each other, whereby the facial peel effect can even be increased with the right dose. You should start with 1% BHA-concentration und if needed be increased to a maximum of 2% acidity. This should only be used for obstinate blemishes. For BHA-exfoliants we recommend the Skin Perfecting Gel by Paula’s Choice (*CLICK*).

If you tend to have really heavy acne you should consult your dermatologist.



Can I use AHA Facial Peels on dry skin?

Basically these fruit acid exfoliants have hygroscopic characteristics. They don’t dry out your skin but rather act as a natural protection layer against dehydration.

If you have dry and strained skin it is recommended to use lactic acid. It has larger molecules than other AHA-acids and hence does not invade deeper skin layer. This makes it a gentler and a more compatible alternative to glycolic acid.

For dry skin you should for example use this gentle Lactic Gel Exfoliant (*CLICK*) which should be washed off with water after a short time. Don’t forget to use a good moisturizer afterwards.



Can fruit acid damage your skin?

The success of fruit acids lies in the proper dose and use. If you do it properly there should be no problems. If you have really heavy skin problems you should consult your dermatologist before using facial peels as treatment.

Nevertheless you should start the first treatments with care. The skin’s sensitivity is individual and can vary, so you should wait for your skin’s first reaction to the peeling product. Moreover the interval between your treatments should be long enough, so your skin can get enough time to regenerate. This is most important at the beginning of your treatment.

If your skin shows incompatibility or irritations, then the exfoliant’s exposure time on your skin should be reduced. If this does not work you should choose a gentler product with less acidity.

Another important part is that chemical peels make your skin light-sensitive. Therefore a sufficient UV-blocker is needed, because UV-rays contribute to skin-aging, in fact to every season!

Redness and dander can appear in the beginning of your treatment. These aren’t signs of incompatibility against the Fruit Acid Peel, but rather the skin’s common first reactions to the treatment.



Our conclusion to the comparison of Facial Peels

  • Chemical peels are basically gentler and better tolerated by the skin than mechanical scrubs, given that dose and usage are right.
  • If used consequently, the collagen production and moisture supply will improve. The skin will smoothen and its appearance is freshened. Excess danders will be removed from the pores. This reduces acne and blemishes as well as enlarged pores.
  • Because of the peeling the facial skin will improve its absorbing power for the following care products. Whereas BHA-peels take effect on the first dermal layer and remove excess fat from pores, AHA-exfoliants work in deeper dermal layers. In combination with Vitamins A and C, AHA-/BHA Facial Peels are the perfect weapons against aging.
  • If used properly the side effects of Fruit Acid Facial Peels will be limited. Following the application, a good cream care is recommended – if possible with UV-blocker. Facial peels used on a regular basis rejuvenate the skin’s structure from the inside and grant a lasting glow effect to your skin. Just try it! 😉

Our product recommendations:

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