The 12 Best Salicylic Acid Peels for Clear & Acne-Free Skin (2021 ✅)

Written by Tom Qiao 2 min read

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

But first, let’s discuss what a salicylic acid peel is and which one is right for you.

What Is A Salicylic Acid Peel?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s oil-soluble and can penetrate oily skin to clean out excess oils and dead skin cells, thereby unclogging blocked pores.

This makes it your new best friend for fighting acne, breakouts, and blemishes, as well as helping reduce dark spots, post-acne marks, uneven tone, and imperfections.

Which Salicylic Acid Peel Is Right For You?

If you’re looking to do a salicylic acid peel at home, I recommend starting with 15% or 20% and working your way up depending on your tolerance and skin’s response.

For sensitive skin types, start with a lower 10% concentration to minimize side effects.

If you want a professional in-office treatment, the “gold standard” for acne treatment is a 30% salicylic acid peel (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018).

In contrast, the highest level of salicylic acid permitted in over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products is only 2% (such as popular acne treatment pads like Stridex).

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

What Is The Best Salicylic Acid Peel?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor’s Choice: Perfect Image Salicylic 20% Gel Peel
  2. Runner-Up Pick: Platinum Skin Care Salicylic Acid Peel 3/15/25%
  3. Best Budget Pick: ASDM Beverly Hills Salicylic Acid Peel 10/20%
  4. Most Popular Pick: Skin Beauty Solutions Salicylic Acid Skin Peel 30%
  5. Best for Blemishes & Breakouts: Perfect Image Tri-Clarity Peel Pads 25%
  6. Best for Wrinkles & Fine Lines: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Peel Pads
  7. Best for Sensitive Skin: QRxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel
  8. Best for Oily Skin: First Aid Beauty FAB Pharma White Clay Acne Treatment Pads
  9. Best Professional Treatment: Obagi Clinical Blue Brilliance Triple Acid Peel
  10. Best Daily Peel: Nip+Fab Salicylic Fix Day Pads
  11. Best Nightly Peel: Nip+Fab Salicylic Fix Night Pads
  12. Best Combination Peel: Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic/Salicylic Peel
Editor's Choice

Perfect Image Salicylic 20% Gel Peel


Perfect Image is my top pick for an effective & affordable salicylic peel to help fight breakouts and blemishes.

20% salicylic acid penetrates oily skin to open clogged pores and tea tree oil kills the bacteria that causes acne.

Meanwhile, plant extracts of green tea, cucumber, chamomile, and comfrey help soothe inflammation & redness.

Coupon: my readers save 15% off with promo code DERM15 at Perfect Image and shipping is free after $20. 🤗

Shop @ Perfect Image Shop @ Amazon
Runner-Up Pick

Platinum Skin Care Salicylic Acid Peel 3/15/25%


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

Their salicylic acid peel uses cooling menthol to reduce burning & stinging and is buffered to slow down the acid to make it safer for home usage.

Platinum Skin Care also has a ton of chemical peel tutorials on YouTube.

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Best Budget Pick

ASDM Beverly Hills Salicylic Acid Peel 10/20%


Looking for affordable chemical peels?

Get a 10% salicylic acid peel for only $14 at ASDM Beverly Hills (20% for $16).

Quality formulas at crazy low prices!

This is an unbuffered chemical peel derived from salicin which is found in the leaves of willow & poplar trees.

Coupon: save 10% off with LIFE10.

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Most Popular Pick

Skin Beauty Solutions Salicylic Acid Skin Peel 30%


With 1,200+ reviews, this chemical peel is the most popular pick for customers with sizes from 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 oz, plus travel-friendly 0.5 oz roll-on sticks.

However, this product contains alcohol which may contribute to skin dryness.

Available in 10% and 20% as well.

Shop @ Skin Beauty Solutions Shop @ Amazon
Best for Blemishes & Breakouts

Perfect Image Tri-Clarity™ Peel Pads 25%


Clear up blemishes and breakouts with a trio of salicylic acid, mandelic acid, and azelaic acid, while tea tree oil kills the bacteria responsible for acne.

Azelaic acid, in particular, breaks up dark spots to fade acne marks faster.

Meanwhile, green tea, cucumber, and chamomile help soothe inflammation and redness associated with acne.

Available in 10% and 25%.

Coupon: save 15% off your order using DERM15 (exclusively at Perfect Image).

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

Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21® Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads


Turn back the clock on signs of aging using PTR's Peptide 21 Peel Pads with 15 amino acids to rebuild youthful skin while 20% phytic / salicylic / lactic acid helps smooth wrinkles & fine lines.

Meanwhile, vitamin A & E, chamomile, and green tea extract soothe skin for a refreshed and revitalized look.

Peptide 21 is the successor to PTR's bestselling Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads.

Shop Now @ Sephora Shop Now @ Amazon
Best for Sensitive Skin

QRxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel


This professional grade chemical peel features a time release formula for effective results with fewer side effects and no alcohol to prevent irritation.

Tea tree oil & green tea extract help reduce breakouts and inflammation.

The result is a gentle 20% salicylic peel that's suitable for sensitive skin. 🤗

Save more when you buy at QRxLabs with COMBO3 (10% off 3-item orders) and COMBO4 (15% off 4-item orders).

Shop @ QRxLabs Shop @ Amazon
Best for Oily Skin

First Aid Beauty FAB Pharma White Clay Acne Treatment Pads


Keep oily skin under control with these daily treatment pads that clear up blemishes with 2% salicylic acid while kaolin clay draws out impurities.

Evermat (Enantia Chlorantha extract) reduces sebum and shine, tea tree oil eliminates acne, willow bark refines, while FAB antioxidant boosters feverfew and licorice root evens tone.

All FAB products are alcohol-free and suitable for sensitive skin. 👍

Shop @ Ulta Beauty Shop @ Amazon
Best Professional Treatment

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


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 Daily Peel

Nip+Fab Salicylic Fix Day Pads


Start your day off with salicylic acid to clear blemishes and control oily skin, while Egyptian and Asian lotus flower extracts unclog pores and reduce oils, and aloe vera hydrates and refreshes.

A very affordable daily peel ($10 for 60) that's a good alternative to Stridex.

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04/12/2021 05:01 pm GMT
Best Combination Peel

Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic/Salicylic Peel


For a double dose of AHAs & BHAs, this combination peel has you covered with 15% mandelic / 15% salicylic acid to penetrate oily skin, open up pores, and remove dead skin cells & excess oils.

Excellent for acne, post-acne marks, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.

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Hi there! I've had skin problems all my life (from acne to scars to KP). That's why I created to help readers like you SOLVE YOUR SKIN MYSTERY with science-based investigations! 🕵️‍♂️

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