Find the best glycolic acid peel for your skin type, skin condition, and budget!
Overall, my top recommendation is Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Peel.
Glycolic acid is the most popular type of chemical peel on the market today. It's the smallest type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and is considered a light or superficial peel.
It works by helping remove the dead skin cells and excess oils on your skin surface and increasing cell turnover to promote clearer, smoother, and younger-looking skin.
With regular use, a glycolic peel can help smooth skin texture, clear up acne-prone skin and acne scars, fade dark spots & melasma, and stimulate collagen production to reduce wrinkles & fine lines (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018).
It's one of the most cost-effective skincare treatments that you can safely do at home, when compared to microneedling ($100-$300 a session), laser therapy ($1,000+ a session), and microdermabrasion ($100-$200 a session), to name a few examples.
Now, let's find the best glycolic acid peel for your skin condition and budget!
Here are my top recommendations:
Looking for an affordable yet effective chemical peel?
Glycolix Elite is one of the best deals on the market: a 20% glycolic acid peel with 60 peel pads for under $30!
(previously known as Glycolix Elite Treatment Pads)
With over 1,300 reviews on Amazon, Glycolix Elite is a popular product for fading dark spots and acne marks, while helping you fight blackheads, whiteheads, and clogged pores as well (perfect for acne-prone skin).
This chemical peel features 20% crystalline glycolic acid, which is the highest purity and medical grade form, plus witch hazel to refine pores, green tea to soothe skin, and vitamin A, C, E and CoQ10 for antioxidant protection.
Overall, it's an excellent ingredient list that rivals even premium chemical peels like CANE+AUSTIN Miracle Pad+.
Glycolix Elite recommends using this product 1-2x daily, but that's a bit too much for a 20% glycolic peel.
Instead, I recommend starting with 2-3 times a week and working your way up to every day or every other day.
In terms of results, hundreds of customers claim Glycolix Elite helped clear up their breakouts, promote smooth skin, and fade dark spots and acne marks.
However, I noticed that most of the top reviews on Amazon are a bit outdated (2016-2018).
Regardless, Glycolix Elite provides unbeatable value for under $30 and should last you at least 4-6 months (if you use them 3x a week) which works out to only $0.50 per treatment. 👏
Finally, as one helpful reviewer points out: make sure to neutralize this chemical peel after 1-5 minutes and rinse with cold water as it does not include a neutralization pad.
My Verdict: Whether you're a beginner to chemical peels or a seasoned veteran, Glycolix Elite is the obvious choice for an affordable yet effective glycolic acid peel for under $30!Shop Now
Another fantastic option for your first glycolic acid peel is Perfect Image, particularly the Glycolic 30% Gel Peel.
(P.S. Perfect Image is giving my readers 20% off when you buy directly at Perfect Image using code DERM20)
30% is suitable for beginners as a weekly or twice weekly treatment, before moving on to a higher concentration like 50-70% or a stronger peeling agent like TCA.
Perfect Image enhanced their popular peel with retinol (vitamin A) to increase skin penetration, stimulate collagen production, and improve elasticity and firmness.
Meanwhile, botanical extracts like green tea and chamomile extract help soothe any skin irritation and redness, common side effects during the process.
With almost 1,500 reviews (and another 1,200 reviews for the 50% version), Perfect Image is undoubtedly one of the most popular glycolic peels to help transform your skin, no matter what skin condition you're targeting. 👏
Perfect Image Coupon: My readers get an extra 20% off with promo code DERM20 and shipping is free on any order over $20! 👍
My Verdict: Incorporating a weekly glycolic acid peel was one of the best (and most effective) treatments that I've ever done for my skin. Get started with Perfect Image Glycolic 30% Gel Peel or get a personalized consultation with a licenced professional with Perfect Image Trial Plan.Shop Now
With over 8,000 reviews (yes, you read that right! 😮), QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads has basically won the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys combined. 🏆
Editor's Note: I've connected with the founder before and he's always busy handling all those orders!
Overall, this chemical peel is very similar to Glycolix Elite:
Once again, glycolic acid helps transform your skin by removing dead skin cells, increasing collagen production, shrinking enlarged pores, and evening out skin tone.
Meanwhile, allantoin (comfrey extract) and panthenol (vitamin B5) provide much-needed hydration and stimulate tissue regeneration while vitamin C and E form an antioxidant network to fight free radical damage.
Finally, calendula flower and green tea extract soothe stinging and reduce skin irritation during the peel.
Each pad is made from highly durable rayon/polypropylene material with a waffle pattern textured surface for easy application and convenient finger notches as well.
In terms of results, there's literally thousands of reviews that you can read on Amazon.com (a new entertainment source in case you've exhausted Netflix, YouTube, and Tik-Tok 🤣).
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with how this chemical peel has maintained a very high rating even after 8,000+ reviews (over 83% of customers gave it 4- or 5-stars ⭐).
My Verdict: If your skin needs some T.L.C. work, get the bestselling QRxLabs glycolic acid pads and see for yourself why this product has garnered over 8,000 reviews!Shop Now
Are you tired of overpriced skincare products where you're paying for 80% hype and 20% ingredients? 🤔
If so, you'll love this amazingly affordable brand that sells chemical peels starting at $10: ASDM Beverly Hills.
Now, when a price is "too good to be true", it usually is...
That's why I ordered a batch of their chemical peels (40/60% glycolic acid, 20% salicylic acid, 60% lactic acid) and after testing them, I'm very happy with the quality!
ASDM has a full selection of glycolic peels from 10-70% available in 1 oz and 2 oz sizes (the 2 oz is the best deal).
A single bottle will definitely last many months, especially if you use peel pads to avoid wasting any product.
Finally, this is an unbuffered lactic peel, which means you're getting the natural pH of glycolic acid (it's stronger than buffered, which raises the pH to increase safety).
If you love to save money (who doesn't?) or do chemical peels at home on a regular basis, ASDM Beverly Hills is a fantastic place to stock up on low-cost peels.
ASDM Beverly Hills Coupon: save an extra 10% with LIFE10 and get free shipping after $60.
My Verdict: Don't pay for the hype and expensive marketing of mainstream brands. Get chemical peels starting at $10 from ASDM Beverly Hills and keep more of your money! 🤗Shop Now
Need a "spa day off" but don't have the time for it?
Don't worry, you can always peel away your problems with this luxurious daily peel from Peter Thomas Roth.
With over 800 reviews, Max Complexion Correction Pads features 10% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid for a one-two punch against acne, blemishes, and clogged pores.
But what really makes this product stand out is the extensive list of comfort ingredients (like comfort food, but better!) that help your skin relax and unwind after a long stressful day.
Arginine, an essential amino acid, helps calm your skin while allantoin and aloe vera restores skin hydration.
Meanwhile, chamomile and green tea extracts fend off free radical damage and prevent signs of aging.
And, to top it all off, a fresh peach bellini scent will elevate your senses to whole 'nother level. 🍹
My Verdict: Give your skin a spa day, every day, with Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads featuring 10% glycolic acid, 2% salicylic acid, and a fresh peach bellini scent.Shop Now
For a convenient and effective anti-aging chemical peel, Perfect Image’s Revitaboost Peel Pads are easy to use and come in 30 pre-soaked cotton towelettes.
(btw, that works out to $1 per peel! 😍 Plus, Perfect Image is giving my readers 20% off with promo code DERM20)
The Revitaboost Peel Pads target common signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, and uneven tone.
The key ingredients include a 35% AHA blend of TCA, glycolic, mandelic, malic, and citric acids to remove problematic skin and restore elasticity & suppleness.
Meanwhile, willow bark extract (natural salicylic acid) fights acne and opens pores (perfect for oily skin type).
In addition, botanical extracts help reduce skin irritation while providing antioxidant and brightening benefits.
Perfect Image Coupon: My readers save an extra 20% off with promo code DERM20 and you get free shipping with any $20+ order! 👍
My Verdict: For an effective anti-aging chemical peel, Perfect Image Revitaboost Peel Pads are the “perfect” option with 35% AHAs and botanical extracts.Shop Now
This Set Contains:
For the ultimate convenience, this complete kit by Planet Eden has everything you need to get started!
This is the 70% version but Planet Eden offers the same combo for 30%, 40%, and 50% as well.
I've personally bought and tried all these items in the past and I especially loved the Glycolic Pre-Peel Cleanser, which contains low levels of glycolic acid and natural fruit acids plus an amazing fruity scent (you'll fall in love with it!).
Regularly using this glycolic cleanser will help keep your skin smooth and exfoliated as well.
Next, the antioxidant recovery cream features 100% natural ingredients, including cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil, all infused with a rich vanilla aroma.
However, I found this cream can cause mild stinging under the eyes and cheeks if you use it after a chemical peel.
My Verdict: For a convenient, all-in-one package, I recommend Planet Eden's chemical peel kits with an amazing pre-peel cleanser, full 1 oz glycolic acid peel, antioxidant recovery cream, and fan brush, all for the same price as a chemical peel alone at many competitors.Shop Now
Didn't find what you're looking for? Here are some popular alternatives to glycolic acid:
Not sure which chemical peel is right for you? Take our 3-step quiz to find the perfect one - it will take into consideration your skin type, skin concerns, and level of experience.
Have you used an awesome glycolic peel that we missed? Let us know in the comments!