What's the best way to do an at-home skin peel?

Here’s what you need to know about doing your own peels at home, and how to get the best results for skin that glows.

Ease up your skin routine. If you use products containing any form of retinol or alpha hydroxy acids (think glycolic, lactic and citric acids), discontinue use the night before, day of, and if dry or sensitive, day after your peel, so that skin doesn’t turn parched and irritated. It’s also redundant to exfoliate the following morning. “Scrubs are mechanical exfoliators and peels are chemical exfoliators,” New York dermatologist, Dennis Gross, MD, told us. “Doing both is too much for the skin.”

Plan to peel at night. “Peels are best done at night so you can avoid makeup or sun exposure immediately afterwards,” explains Maryland dermatologist, Noelle Sherber, MD. Applying a peel before bedtime also takes advantage of the body’s natural healing cycle, which amps up skin regeneration while you sleep.

Gently hydrate post-peel. A simple and soothing moisturizer that contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides is best applied after your treatment, to enhance the work of the peel without adding more cloying ingredients. “Avoid any additional exfoliators or retinol in your moisturizer,” advises Sherber.

Mind your sunscreen. Since peels remove the surface cell layers of skin, you’ll be more sensitive to sun rays. Wear a daily SPF of 30 for protection, and refrain from soaking up sun right after a peel, says Gross. Ignoring the sunscreen advice can significantly worsen the UV-exposure symptoms like spots, wrinkles and blotchy pigmentation that you’re likely trying to treat and improve with the peel in the first place.

Continue Learning about Daily Skin Care

Daily Skin Care

Daily Skin Care

Develop a daily skin care routine that cleanses, moisturizes and protects your skin. All skin types can benefit from a gentle, non-drying cleanser, an exfoliant and broad-spectrum protection from sun damage. Choose cleansers that ...

will remove dirt and bacteria while moisturizing the skin with emollients and humectants. Even if you’re not prone to breakouts, a topical exfoliant such as a lotion with alpha hydroxy acid will remove sun damage and keep skin supple as you age. Finally, using a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays daily will prevent wrinkles and skin cancer.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.