The 21 Best Lactic Acid Peels for Smoother & Softer Skin (2021 ✅)

3 min readwritten by Tom Qiao

In this post, I review the best lactic acid peels (my top pick is Perfect Image).

But first, let’s discuss what a lactic acid peel is and how you can benefit from one.

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What Is A Lactic Acid Peel?

Lactic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that does not penetrate very deep due to its large molecule size (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018).

This makes it an excellent choice if you have more sensitive skin.

In addition, lactic acid is perfect for dry skin as it’s a natural humectant that pulls moisture in and works particularly well in lactic acid lotions like AmLactin.

Do Lactic Acid Peels Work?

Lactic acid is actually very similar to glycolic acid, so you can expect to see comparable results for fading dark spots and uneven skin tone, treating discoloration issues like hyperpigmentation & melasma, and reducing the visibility of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018).

In fact, Cleopatra and the ancient Egyptians used lactic acid in the form of sour milk baths to keep their skin in tip-top shape – is that where the term “Egyptian glow” comes from? (source: Cleopatra and Sour Milk: The Ancient Practice of Chemical Peeling, 2017).

Now, let’s find the best lactic acid peel for your skin condition and budget!

The 21 Best Lactic Acid Peels

Here are our top recommendations:

  1. Editor’s Choice: Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel
  2. Runner-Up Pick: Platinum Skin Care Lactic Acid 50 Peel
  3. Best Budget Pick: ASDM Beverly Hills Lactic Acid Peel
  4. Most Popular Pick: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA
  5. Best Value for Money: Planet Eden 20% Gly-Lactic Exfoliating Pads
  6. Best Professional Treatment: Obagi Clinical Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel
  7. Best Chemical Peel Kit: Planet Eden 88% Lactic Acid Chemical Peel Kit
  8. Best Combination Peel: QRxLabs Glycolic/Lactic Acid 30/20 Gel Peel
  9. Best for Beginners: Perfect Image Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 30%
  10. Best for Sensitive Skin: Perfect Image Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 10%
  11. Best for Blemishes & Breakouts: Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel
  12. Best for Dark Spots & Uneven Tone: Perfect Image Hydro-Glo Peel Pads 40%
  13. Best for Wrinkles & Fine Lines: Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel
  14. Best for Smoother Skin: ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads
  15. Best for Brighter Skin: philosophy the microdelivery vitamin c resurfacing peel
  16. Best for Enlarged Pores: Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Lactic Pore Treatment
  17. Best Daily Peel: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
  18. Best Overnight Peel: DERMA E Overnight Peel
  19. Best Luxury Peel: ELEMIS Peptide Overnight Radiance Peel
  20. Best Body Peel: Makeup Artists Choice 5 Acid Body Peel
  21. Best Foot Peel: Baby Foot Original Exfoliation Foot Peel
Editor's Choice

Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel

$29.95

Perfect Image is my top pick for an effective & affordable lactic peel with brightening boosters like kojic acid, bearberry, and licorice root extract to fade dark spots and help you glow!

With over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel is the most popular lactic peel as well.

Available in 10%, 30%, and 50%.

Perfect Image is giving my readers an extra 20% off with promo code DERM20 (only at Perfect Image). Free shipping in the USA with any $20+ order. 🤗

Shop @ Perfect Image Shop @ Amazon
Runner-Up Pick

Platinum Skin Care Lactic Acid 50 Peel

$25.00

For a quality chemical peel, you really can't go wrong with Platinum Skin Care (an A+ business for 19 years with BBB).

This is a buffered 50% lactic acid peel that increases the pH and slows down the acid to make it safer for beginners.

Looking for chemical peel tutorials? Platinum Skin Care has an entire library of instructional videos on YouTube.

Shop Now Shop Now
Best Budget Pick

ASDM Beverly Hills Lactic Acid Peel 25/40/60/90%

$10.00

Would you like a chemical peel for $10?

No, you're not dreaming! You can buy a simple 25% lactic acid peel for only $10 at ASDM Beverly Hills (40% for only $11) and up to 90% for under $20.

Plus save 10% with promo code LIFE10!

Shop Now Shop Now
Most Popular Pick

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

$6.80

While it's more like a lactic acid serum, The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA is a gentle option for sensitive skin that can be used daily to brighten dark spots and promote more even skin tone.

Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid and Tasmanian pepperberry help hydrate and reduce inflammation.

Over 3,000 reviews on Amazon now (but the price is lower at Ulta Beauty!).

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best Professional Treatment

Obagi Clinical Blue Brilliance™ Triple Acid Peel (4-Set)

$145.00

While you can't see your dermatologist or esthetician this year, you can get the same professional brand that they use for in-office treatments.

Obagi Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel combines salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid to refine skin texture while witch hazel clears pores and licorice root reduces uneven skin tone.

Shop @ Sephora Shop @ Amazon
Best Combination Peel

QRxLabs Glycolic/Lactic Acid 30/20 Gel Peel

$19.95

Choosing between glycolic and lactic? Why not get both with QRxLabs' unique Glycolic 30 / Lactic 20 Gel Peel.

You get the benefits of glycolic acid's powerful exfoliation with lactic acid's brightening & hydration properties.

Calendula, chamomile, and green tea restore balance and soothe irritation.

A popular & effective chemical peel with a 4.3 star rating on Amazon.

Shop @ QRxLabs Shop @ Amazon
Best for Beginners

Perfect Image Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 30%

$29.95

For your first chemical peel, I'd go for Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 30% with gentle acids like glycolic & lactic plus natural fruit enzymes from pineapple, pumpkin, and papaya. 🍍

This product helps brighten skin tone, correct blemishes, and smooth texture without the irritation or downtime of stronger chemical peels.

You can get 20% off with promo code DERM20 (exclusively at Perfect Image) and shipping is free on orders over $20.

Shop @ Perfect Image Shop @ Amazon
Best for Sensitive Skin

Perfect Image Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel 10%

$24.95

If you have sensitive skin, the same Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel comes in a 10% concentration that is very gentle and can be used daily.

Helps reduce visible signs of aging, blemishes & imperfections, and promotes a brighter complexion.

Get 20% off with promo code DERM20 (exclusively at Perfect Image) plus get free shipping on orders over $20.

Shop @ Perfect Image Shop @ Amazon
Best for Blemishes & Breakouts

Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel

$48.00

Clear up blemishes and imperfections with Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel, featuring willow bark (salicylic acid) and lactic acid to open clogged pores and remove dead skin cells, while witch hazel and Icelandic glacier water help hydrate and soothe stressed skin.

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best for Dark Spots & Uneven Tone

Perfect Image Hydro-Glo™ Peel Pads 40%

$29.99

If you have dark spots, uneven tone, hyperpigmentation, or sun damage, Perfect Image has the perfect peel for you with lactic acid & mandelic acid to buff away dullness while kojic acid & papaya fruit brighten and exfoliate.

Save 20% off your order with DERM20 (exclusively at Perfect Image).

Shop @ Perfect Image Shop @ Amazon
Best for Wrinkles & Fine Lines

Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel

$85.00

Get a professional chemical peel from Dermalogica to visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles & age spots with lactic acid and fermented plant enzymes, while promoting more even skin tone with pumpkin fruit, rice bran, and Australian caviar lime extract.

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best for Smoother Skin

ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads (60 Count)

$59.00

If you want brighter & smoother skin, get Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads from British luxury brand ELEMIS.

Patented tri-enzyme technology helps break up dead skin cells, lactic acid stimulates collagen production, and probiotic ferment complex promotes brighter-looking skin.

A classic bestseller with 1,000+ reviews on ELEMIS, Ulta Beauty, and Amazon.

Shop @ ELEMIS Shop @ Amazon
Best for Brighter Skin

philosophy the microdelivery vitamin c resurfacing peel

$72.00

Let your skin glow with a double dose of vitamin C + peptide resurfacing crystals and lactic + salicylic acid activating gel.

philosophy's award-winning product (allure best of beauty 2014) resurfaces and brightens dull skin with vitamin C, then reduces signs of aging with a blend of lactic and salicylic acid.

A unique 2-step weekly treatment to keep your skin looking its very best. 😉

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best for Enlarged Pores

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Lactic Pore Treatment

$88.00

PTR lovers, rejoice! The PRO Strength Lactic Pore Treatment helps minimize enlarged pores with 30% lactic acid while witch hazel purifies and refines, and 5% glycerin restores hydration.

In a survey of 29 women, 100% said their skin felt smoother and 96% said their skin was cleaner and fresher.

Part of PTR Pro Strength Collection.

Shop @ PTR Shop @ Sephora
Best Daily Peel

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

$34.00

For a cleansing wipe that doubles as a daily dose of glycolic and lactic acids, First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads are the perfect option to tone, exfoliate, and brighten your skin.

Cucumber & Indian gooseberry tones, glycolic & lactic acid exfoliates, while lemon peel & licorice root brightens.

Alcohol-free and safe for sensitive skin.

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best Overnight Peel

Derma E Overnight Peel

$18.99

Wake up to smooth & glowing skin with DERMA E Overnight Peel, courtesy of a 5% AHA blend (glycolic & lactic), jojoba seed oil, green tea, and vitamin C.

DERMA E is a clean beauty brand that's 100% vegan and cruelty-free with no parabens, SLS, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy, or GMOs.

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best Luxury Peel

ELEMIS Peptide⁴ Overnight Radiance Peel

$78.00

For silky smooth & luminescent skin, British luxury brand ELEMIS can help with a milky overnight peel that will leave your skin feeling soft and supple.

Gentle lactic acid & hibiscus flower exfoliate and hydrate, while Peptide4 improves cell turnover and British night scented stock oil deeply nourishes (contains up to 10x more vitamin E than other commercial skincare oils).

Part of ELEMIS Peptide4 Collection.

Shop @ ELEMIS Shop @ Amazon
Best Body Peel

Makeup Artists Choice 5 Acid Body Peel

$14.40

For a cheap and effective body peel, MUAC 5 Acid Body Peel is my top pick with 20% lactic, 5% glycolic / mandelic, 2% citric, and 1% salicylic acid, to help deep clean your pores, fight blemishes like bacne and keratosis pilaris, and brighten skin tone with licorice root.

Shop Now Shop Now
Best Foot Peel

Baby Foot Original Foot Peel

$25.00

Last but not least, don't forget about your hardworking feet! Whether you're walking, running, or sitting, your feet can quickly develop tough calluses.

Get yourself a pair of Baby Foot's original foot peel to dissolve calluses, hardened skin, and cracked heels.

Each plastic bootie is coated with over 16 natural extracts and fruit acids, including glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, plus salicylic acid for good measure.

See softer, smoother, and heathier feet within days of your first foot peel.

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon

3 Alternatives to Lactic Acid

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Here are some popular alternatives to lactic 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 amazing lactic peel that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Editor & Chief Detective at TheDermDetective.com

Hi there! I've had skin problems almost all my life, from acne to scars to KP and more. That's why I created TheDermDetective.com to help you SOLVE YOUR SKIN MYSTERY with science and in-depth investigations! 🕵️‍♂️

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