A chemical peel is a kind of dermatological procedure that is performed in order to resurface the skin, shedding damaged outer layers to reveal the brighter and more youthful layers underneath. There are many kinds of chemical peels, but glycolic acid peels are particularly possible due to their effectiveness and low level of required maintenance.

You might be wondering: What is glycolic acid? This ingredient is found naturally in a variety of plants, including sugar cane. It’s an extremely powerful exfoliant that effectively refreshes your skin by clearing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Glycolic acid can also help to boost skin’s collagen production, helping your skin to renew itself. These benefits of glycolic acid make it a great addition to any face peel.

Benefits of a glycolic acid peel

Glycolic acid peels can yield positive results for several different skin types. They’re great for aging, damaged, and dry skin because they effectively reset the surface of the skin. A peel won’t take away deep wrinkles, but it can dramatically improve the appearance of fine lines. By clearing away the outer layer of the skin–the layer on which most damage is accumulated–a peel reveals the more youthful, healthier-looking layer underneath.

If you suffer from acne, you might also consider a glycolic acid peel for clear skin. The exfoliating effect of glycolic acid helps to remove debris from your pores, reducing breakouts. It’ll also help to reduce the appearance of acne scars from previous breakouts.

How to get a glycolic acid peel

You can choose to either purchase a glycolic acid peel product for home use, or visit a professional dermatologist to inquire about a treatment. At-home treatments generally contain a lower concentration of glycolic acid, so they’re more suitable for regular use. However, this low concentration of acid also means that their effects won’t be as dramatic as the effects of a professional peel.

If you choose to get a skin peel from a professional dermatologist, the procedure will probably be short and sweet. Glycolic acid skin peels normally involve applying a solution to the skin for about five minutes, and then removing it. You may experience some tingling during the procedure, but this kind of peel is very gentle and low-maintenance compared to other dermatological procedures.

If you’d rather buy a glycolic acid peel product, make sure to read the instructions carefully and test a small amount on your wrist before applying it to your face. And whether you opt for a dermatologist-administered peel or an at-home one, you should make sure to protect your skin from the sun in the days after your peel.

Best glycolic acid peels

One of our favorite glycolic acid peel products is Murad’s Rapid Resurfacing Peel ($44). This product uses a 10% concentration of glycolic acid, and also features vitamin C and licorice root extract to brighten the skin. This product has great reviews from buyers, including a reviewer who says the formula helped to restore her skin from the side-effects of chemotherapy.

We also love Skyn ICELAND’s Nordic Skin Peel ($45), which pairs glycolic acid with exfoliating lactic acid, calming willow bark extract and other beneficial ingredients.

Another option that packs a punch is Yeouth’s Glycolic Acid, 30% Gel Peel ($24.95). This product is less pricey than many at-home glycolic acid peels and contains 30% glycolic acid to powerfully resurface skin. It also features calming cucumber extract and other leaf extracts.

A glycolic acid peel can be a great solution for skin that needs a boost–and there are plenty of options for incorporating glycolic acid into your skincare regimen! It’s even possible to make a DIY skin peel with glycolic acid using recipes like this one from Livestrong, or these ones from Zwivel.