At-home chemical peels commonly contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs, like glycolic acid), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs, like salicylic acid), or both, and work to exfoliate the outer layers of dead skin.
While great for improving skin tone, texture and firmness, if used too often, or by certain sensitive skin types, it can bring about the effects of skin redness, dry patches or tight, dehydrated skin.
Luckily for the more sensitive among us, more gentle peels are making their way into the market. These products come with additional skin soothing and nourishing ingredients, like reparative oils, that help to minimise irritation.
If you have sensitive skin, here are two gentle at-home peels that may work for you:
#1 Philosophy The Microdelivery Overnight Anti-aging Peel
$129, available at Philosophy boutiques and Sephora stores
Similar its cult classic dual-phase peel, Philosophy’s new The Microdelivery Overnight Anti-aging Peel is applied in two steps. The first is a solution that contains glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid. Philosophy recommends dabbing the solution, instead of wiping it onto sensitive skin with a cotton pad. Wait about two minutes – or less if you’re just starting out – then apply the youth-extending night-gel, which contains antioxidants, oat kernel extract and peptides which help with skin regeneration. The idea is to immediately restore the underlying skin cells after the peel, when it is the most receptive, so the effects you see in the morning are like that of a sleeping mask.
#2 Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-aging Bi-Phase Peel
$118, available at Sephora stores
If you’re just as much of a fan of skincare oils as I am, try the Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-aging Bi-Phase Peel. It is a two-part solution of peeling acids and oils in which you have to mix before use. Swipe the mixture of brightening glycolic acid, microalgae oil – an antioxidant rich, nourishing oil, says the brand – and anti-ageing alguronic acid onto clean skin and leave it on for three minutes. Rinse off with warm water and continue with your regular skincare routine.
This has found a permanent place in my skincare routine and I use it once every two weeks. The oil and peel mixture has helped to clarify my sensitive skin without any uncomfortable feeling of tightness that usually happens when I do a peel.
One final piece of advice: The use of AHAs can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so take extra precaution in remembering to use sunscreen and, if need be, wear protective clothing for a good week or two to protect your skin.
Looking to get a professional peel done instead? Check out our review of these four chemical peels that help to minimise pores and brighten the skin.