Facial Peel Buying Guide

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Facial Peel Buying Guide

Facial peels are a popular treatment that refreshes and renews the skin through the use of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), and enzymes. These substances remove old skin cells and encourage new cells to come to the surface, thus creating a smoother, brighter appearance. While aggressive chemical peels administered by licensed dermatologists are on the decline, gentler versions of facial peels are available as salon treatments or at-home products. The advantage of at-home products, in addition to being more affordable, is that they allow for regular application of a low dose, which some specialists consider a very effective approach.

The right at-home facial peel can rejuvenate the skin, while the wrong kind can irritate or even cause chemical burns. Before choosing an at-home facial peel, buyers should first learn about the different choices available, and take into consideration their own skin's characteristics and needs. Researching various products, reading reviews, and consulting a dermatologist for recommendations are advisable steps for finding a facial peel that is an ideal component in their skincare regime.

Understanding How Facial Peels Work

The skin is composed of water, proteins, lipids or fats, minerals, and chemicals. When skin comes into contact with the acid contained in a facial peel, the skin's protein breaks down. This encourages the growth of new tissues. This process can be used to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, acne, acne scars, dark spots, and pores. It results in skin that looks younger, brighter, and smoother.

A product's pH level indicates its acidity or alkalinity. A pH level under seven is acidic, and the lower the pH level, the more acidic the solution. Facial peels with a lower pH break down the skin's proteins more quickly, while those with a higher pH create a milder reaction with the skin, for more gradual growth of new skin cells. Those with more sensitive skin may want to try a product with a higher pH level.

There are several different kinds of alpha-hydroxy acids used in at-home facial peels. Choosing one depends on individual needs.

Lactic Acid Facial Peels

Lactic acid is a compound derived from milk products and is naturally occurring in the body. It has larger molecules than most other alpha-hydroxy acids, which causes it to penetrate the skin more slowly, making it an excellent choice for sensitive skin. Lactic acid facial peels are also a good choice for those with acne-prone skin, mature skin (over 35 years old), dry skin, and for first-time facial peel users. They moisturise the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for firm, plump, youthful skin.

Lactic acid facial peels are available in varying concentration levels, from 20-percent to 70-percent or higher. It is advisable to begin with a lower strength, such as 30-percent. Over time, the strength can be increased to 40-percent. Users are strongly cautioned against using a higher concentration in the hopes of faster or more dramatic results.

Glycolic Acid Facial Peels

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from sugar cane. Like lactic acid peels, glycolic acid facial peels are mild, making them a good choice for first-time users. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules of the alpha-hydroxy acids, which means that it quickly penetrates deep into the skin's top layer. It can be effective in treating hyperpigmentation, melasma, acne, oily skin, and melasma. With repeated use, the skin gradually develops a smoother texture.

Glycolic acid peels are available at varying strengths, beginning with 10-percent. As with other home peels, it is advisable to begin with a lower strength when using one for the first time.

Salicylic Acid Facial Peels

Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) derived from willow bark, is commonly used as a topical treatment for acne. This is because it is oil-soluble and lipophilic, meaning that it combines with or dissolves fats. It penetrates the outermost layer of skin, which is protected by a layer of oil. However, since it binds with the oil, it does not further penetrate into the dermis just underneath, which is mostly comprised of water. Since salicylic acid works on the oily outer layer only, it is safe to use at low doses multiple times per week. Furthermore, it can exfoliate in the pores more effectively than glycolic acid.

Salicylic acid works to unclog pores, remove blackheads, and create a smoother skin tone. It has other benefits, as well. It absorbs ultraviolet rays, helping to protect skin from sun damage. It has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and puffiness. It is also anti-bacterial, which can help prevent the formation of new blemishes. And, as with other facial peels, its exfoliating power helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Sometimes salicylic acid is combined with alpha-hydroxy acids, since its action on the skin's surface helps other acids to work more effectively.

Salicylic acid facial peels tend to be effective in lower strengths. Peels come in concentrations typically ranging from 3-percent to 15-percent. They are a good choice for someone whose skin does not tolerate glycolic acid well.

Common Additional Ingredients in Facial Peels

In addition to lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, there are many other active ingredients commonly found in at-home facial peels. Most of them are either additional acids or enzymes. Enzymes encourage new skin to appear by breaking down and metabolising the proteins that hold dead skin cells together. The following chart outlines these common ingredients.



Tartaric Acid

Occurs in unripe grapes; protects skin from enzymes that break down collagen and elastin

Citric Acid

Occurs in citrus fruits, particularly lemon and oranges; valued for its antioxidant content, which helps fight free radicals that lead to skin damage

Malic Acid

Occurs in highest concentrations in apples and cherries, but also present in other fruits; helps to increase oxygen supply; has a humectant action that draws moisture from dermis and delivers to epidermis; contains damage-fighting anti-oxidants

Mandelic Acid

Derived from bitter almonds; anti-bacterial and anti-aging


Enzyme derived from papaya


Considered to be among the most effective enzymes; derived from pineapple

Curcubita Pepo

Enzyme derived from pumpkin

The addition of these or other ingredients can enhance a facial peel's performance, whether it be nourishing, softening, or exfoliating.

Important Steps When Using a Facial Peel

At-home facial peels can produce excellent results, but users should note that visible improvements are gradually achieved. Use lower-strength peels for at-home treatments, especially when trying a product for the first time. It may take a few weeks before changes are seen.

Users may want to consult a dermatologist for professional advice about which peel is right for them. Always follow the product instructions carefully; misuse could result in irritation or chemical burns. A small amount of tingling or redness is common when using peels; however, these side effects should go away within a few hours. Many peels recommend following up with a moisturiser, and since alpha-hydroxy acids increase skin's sensitivity to sunlight, avoid sun exposure after treatments and wear SPF if going outdoors.

How to Buy Facial Peels on eBay

If you'd like to find an at-home facial peel online, you'll find a range of choices available as part of eBay's wide selection of skin care products. Start your search on eBay's home page: enter keywords, such as "glycolic acid facial peel", into the search bar. You can then refine your search results by price, seller location, and more. eBay Shops is another great resource for online shopping.

Always read the item description closely, checking for details like strength, ingredients, and quantity. Look for lower-strength products, especially if buying a facial peel for the first time. You can contact the seller through eBay should you have any questions.

When it comes to facial peels, it is especially important to verify that the seller is reliable and experienced, to ensure you're getting a safe product. Look at their feedback score, and read comments left by previous customers who purchased the same peel. Once you've received and used the product, you can leave your own feedback for the seller.


Facial peels employ alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acid, and enzymes to break down the proteins holding dead skin cells together. This process improves the skin's appearance by encouraging new cells to surface. While stronger peels are administered by professionals, lower-strength products are available for at-home use. Using a facial peel at home can produce positive results gradually, usually after multiple applications. Because misuse can result in irritation and chemical burns, it is highly important to follow product instructions and choose lower-strength solutions when starting out. It is also advisable to consult with a dermatologist about the best kind of facial peel for one's skin issues, be they acne, scarring, fine lines, sun damage, or others.

The most common compounds in facial peels are lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from milk; its large molecules penetrate the skin slowly, making it a good choice for sensitive skin or first-time peel users. Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, has the smallest molecules of the AHAs, allowing it to penetrate quickly. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid derived from willow bark; it is particularly recommended for acne, since it breaks down the sebum in pores. Other ingredients may be added to enhance a facial peel's performance, such as additional acids or enzymes. Researching ingredients, consulting skincare professionals, and reading customer reviews are a good ways to choose a safe, effective facial peel.

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