Today, I'm going to discuss the bestselling chemical peels from QRxLabs:
Do these products live up to their claims? Let’s find out. ⭐
If you want the best value for money, I recommend the QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads which are suitable for dark spots, acne marks, dull skin, uneven tone, and wrinkles & fine lines.
What's nice is that these peel pads come super saturated with a 20% glycolic acid solution so you'll get a lot of value out of them before the pads dry out. This product also features a texturized surface for physical exfoliation and a convenient finger notch to hold the pads.
In terms of ingredients, Glycolic Acid is the main (and only) chemical agent in this product to help your skin cells turnover faster and reveal new layers of brighter, more even-looking skin.
Meanwhile, Vitamins C & E provide antioxidant benefits and promote collagen deposition (an important step for repairing textural issues like scars and wrinkles).
Panthenol (Vitamin B5) and Allantoin help your skin retain moisture and accelerate the post-peel healing process while Green Tea and Calendula Flower Extracts reduce stinging and irritation.
Reviews so far have been very positive, although some reviewers made claims that sound too good to be true (e.g. "instant results", "1 week improvements", etc.). I would caution against forming your opinion based on the most positive reviews as these tend to overstate the actual results.
The most common complaints include: the product leaves behind a sticky residue and some people experienced breakouts or rashes after using this product.
My Verdict: Featuring 20% glycolic acid, the QRxLabs Resurfacing Pads strike a perfect balance between effectiveness and affordability. Add these peel pads to your daily routine for brighter, smoother, and healthier-looking skin.
For beginners, 30% glycolic acid is generally considered the best starting point as it provides a mild level of exfoliation but still delivers noticeable results for your skin (for more sensitive skin, a good alternative is 10% mandelic acid or 10% lactic acid).
Decades of clinical research has shown that "the most popular and time-tested superficial peeling agent is glycolic acid..." (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018)
30% glycolic acid is usually strong enough to significantly improve mild-to-moderate cases of hyperpigmentation, including dark spots, acne marks, and sun damage.
Glycolic acid also helps smooth out uneven skin texture such as wrinkles, fine lines, and acne scars.
There are hundreds of brands that offer glycolic acid peels. From my (many hours of) research, I've found that the following ones provide the highest quality:
Perfect Image has the most number of ratings for its Glycolic 30% Gel Peel but is more expensive than QRxLabs and the shipping is sometimes not included.
However, I really like that they've created a categorization system using Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 that helps beginners determine which peel is most suitable for them.
QRxLabs is my top recommendation right now as they offer excellent value for money.
The QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel is (as the name says) a gel, rather than a liquid, which makes the peel easier to work with and prevents it from dripping into your eyes or mouth. It also contains Green Tea and Chamomile Extracts to reduce skin irritation.
Planet Eden is another great choice and also includes a free fan brush. However, shipping may take a few days longer as they do it themselves instead of using Amazon's warehouses. I also highly recommend their starter kits which include an additional cleanser and recovery cream.
My Verdict: 30% glycolic acid is the best starting point for beginners and has been shown to be clinically effective for mild-to-moderate cases of hyperpigmentation. Perfect Image, QRxLabs, and Planet Eden all offer excellent versions of this popular peel for a fraction of the professional cost.
Once you're ready to step up your peel game, consider trying a 50% lactic acid peel.
This alpha hydroxy acid is structurally similar to its glycolic acid cousin but with fewer side effects and faster recovery times (source: A Practical Approach to Chemical Peels, 2018).
Lactic acid has demonstrated comparable results to glycolic acid in clinical studies for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles & fine lines, and sun damage. However, be prepared for up to 2 weeks of recovery time while your skin repairs itself after a 50% lactic acid peel.
The two brands that I currently recommend are:
Both are gel peels that reduce the risk of chemicals dripping into your eyes or mouth. Both also include skin lightening agents like Kojic Acid and Bearberry Extract to help fade your dark spots even faster by inhibiting melanin synthesis (QRxLabs also includes Licorice Root Extract).
Overall, both lactic acid peels have excellent customer reviews with comments of brighter skin tone, reduced signs of aging, and smoother skin texture.
My Verdict: If beginner peels aren't cutting it anymore for your skin, consider stepping up to an intermediate peel like the 50% Lactic Acid Peel to counter signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Perfect Image and QRxLabs both offer excellent products with bonus skin lightening ingredients.
⚠️ Important Note: As this is a professional grade and unbuffered chemical peel, please make sure you have successfully completed a beginner peel first (such as 30% glycolic acid). The high acid concentration can seriously damage your skin if you do not take adequate precautions.