Taking The Newest At-Home Peels For A Test-Drive

When it comes to making your skin look amazing and solving what ails you — from breakouts to dullness — you can't beat chemical peels. They work by dissolving pore-clogging buildup, initiating a healing response in your skin cells.
Because of their hardcore nature, partaking in the complexion refreshers used to require a dermatologist visit. But, thanks to new technology and ingredients, there's been a recent influx of peels that get the job done at home (safely!).
And, while in-office treatments tend to be more intense — causing redness that could last a few days — the at-home products are gentler due to their lower concentrations of active ingredients (which makes sense, considering you don't need to be a pro to apply them). But, do they work as well?
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To find out, three members of our beauty team generously volunteered their faces. Ahead, we share their experiences and recommendations — so that we can all peel smarter, not harder.
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
Who: Phillip Picardi, senior beauty editor

"I've gotten peels before, but nothing derm-grade. I do a regular glycolic peel every two weeks — or whenever I remember or my skin begins to look crepe-like. I love RéVive's at-home glycolic and Suki's resurfacing peel."
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Photo: Via Skin Inc.
The Contender: Skin Inc's Pure Revival Peel

"This contains AC-11, which, according to the label, helps with DNA repair, and fullerene, which (also according to the label) is a powerful antioxidant. The good thing about this guy is you don't need to leave it on for 10 minutes. It's actually less of an actual peel than it is a peeling gel, which is a pretty popular Japanese technology that's been replicated a few times here in the States (most notably by Peter Thomas Roth). I've used one before, by Koh Gen Do, but it was a lot milder. This product immediately imparts a slight stinging sensation — nothing bad, but just enough to let you know it's working. (If you use P50 by Biologique Recherche, you know what I'm talking about.) Essentially, you smooth it on, work it in in circles, and rinse with water."

Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel, $55, available at Skin Inc.
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Result: "My skin texture was noticeably smoother after, but, surprisingly, not pink from the active ingredients. The instant results were pretty compelling, so if you're looking for a solid at-home peel option, I say go for this."
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
Who: Maria Del Russo, beauty writer

"I've never gotten a stand-alone chemical peel before, but I've gotten them done professionally as part of a facial. There was even a time last year that I started incorporating an at-home peel into my skin regimen twice a week. I didn't see much of a difference, though, so I quit it."
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Photo: Via Dr. Dennis Gross.
The Contender: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel

"That said, I was stoked to try Dr. Dennis Gross's peel. It has two powerhouse ingredients in it: glycolic acid and retinol. These are both known for their anti-aging properties, as both reduce the visible signs of aging. There's also plant-based rehmannia glutinosa root extract, which plumps and firms.

"There are two steps — a multi-acid concentrate pad which you sweep on and let sit for five minutes, and a firming peptide milk. When I swiped the pad on, I felt a little tingly, but nothing uncomfortable. There was a slight residue, but I was sure it would dissolve. After the five minutes were up, I rubbed on the peptide milk."
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Result: "I definitely saw an improvement in my skin. There was a rosiness that wasn't there before, and, a few hours after the fact, my face looked totally contoured. That said, there was a definite residue that stuck around. I'd totally use this product again, but I'd do it at night. Ain't nobody got time to be running around with a greasy-feeling face."
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
Who: Taylor Bryant, beauty production assistant

"I've never gotten a peel — neither professionally nor applied one by myself at home. When I think of peels, I think of a lot of chemicals working strange, but intense wonders on your skin. I'm mostly basing this on that episode of Sex and the City when Samantha gets a peel and is left looking like a straight-up tomato."
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Photo: Via StriVectin.
The Contender: StriVectin's 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel

"The peel I used was the StriVectin 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel. It has high levels of glycolic acid, and other AHAs that help to reduce the appearance of lines and shrink pores. You apply it in two steps: First, apply a uniform layer of the Detoxifying Primer over a bare, cleansed face. After leaving this on for a minute, you apply a similar amount of the Activator, which you leave on for three to five minutes. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the sticky, gel-like consistency of the Activator, I could feel a tingling sensation that led me to believe something was happening."
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Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Result: "I absolutely noticed a difference in my skin: It felt overall cleaner and left me with a glow that I always hear about, but have never been able to attain with any of my other skin-care products."
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