DIY: Chemical Peels at Home! You CAN do it yourself!

Want a chemical peel without the hefty price tag?

I’m going to teach you how to do them at home!

First, let’s talk a little Chemical Peel 411.

What the hell is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel removes excess accumulations of dead skin cells. Without removing these cells, the skin will become congested and may produce an acne flare up.

The most common types of chemical peel acids are –

  • Glycolic Acid – An alphahydroxy-acid derived from sugar cane.
  • Lactic Acid – An acid derived from milk & fruit.
  • Enzyme Peels – Natural occurring enzymes found in fruits like Papaya & Pineapple. Great for those with sensitive skin; such as those with rosacea or acne.
  • Jessner’s Solution – A superficial peel of lactic acid, salicylic acid and resorcinol in an ethanol solvent.


How often should I get a chemical peel?

One peel per week for four to eight weeks is ideal. More than eight weeks isn’t recommended. A series should be done every three or four months. It’s best to do peels in the cooler months of the year as the sun is very harsh on skin after a chemical peel.

What are the benefits of a chemical peel?

  • Improved skin texture
  • Reduced fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increased CRF (Cell Renewal Factor or Cell Turnover Rate)
  • Reduced pigmentation
  • Can help control clogged pores, acne, hyperpigmentation, eczema & dry skin.
  • Increased hydration, elastin and collagen production

What are the risks of a chemical peel?

  • As with many skincare products, you may have an allergic reaction.
  • Scarring (this may happen if you burn the skin; such as keeping the acid on too long)
  • Redness of the skin (very common)
  • Scabbing (this should only happen using physician grade acids)

How do I know if I should not get a chemical peel?

Do not apply a chemical peel if  you have-

  • had recent chemical peels, laser resurfacing, or cosmetic surgeries; especially with open wounds
  • are currently pregnant
  • have the herpes simplex
  • extreme skin sensitivities
  • tendency to hyperpigmentation
  • inflamed rosacea or acne
  • use Accutane or Retin-A
  • have an infectious disease
  • have a sunburn or irritated skin

Now it’s time to show you how to do it!

Step 1: Pick Your Poison

It’s very important to pick the acid that’s right for you. Use the guidelines above to select. If you are new to chemical peels, have very sensitive skin, acne or rosacea, it’s best to start out with an Enzyme Masque. These are just as effective but are a bit more soothing to the skin. Remember folks, this is not child’s play. You can seriously damage your skin if you are not careful. Interested in a Glycolic Acid? Click here to see the one I’m using.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Tools

I start by laying everything out. Once you start, you can’t be running around for things you forgot (acid stings people), so make sure you set everything out. I like to put mine on a SMA (Sanitary Maintenance Area). I buy these little paper towels at Sallys.

What you need:

  • 2 Fan Brushes (one for the acid, another for to apply a cooling masque)
  • Baking Soda & a Dish (for the solution that stops the acid from working when you need it to)
  • A Gentle Facial Cleanser
  • Your Acid (Glycolic, Lactic, Enzyme, etc)
  • Esthetic Wipes (or paper towels)
  • A Cooling Masque (click here for an example)

Step 3: Mix Your Solution

By mixing ice cold water & baking soda you will create a solution that will stop the acid from working upon contact. Focus on equal parts of each, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, just eyeball it. It should look a bit like miso soup after it’s mixed.

Step 4: Apply Acid to Brush, Brush to Face

Wash your face with your cleanser. You will want to start with a clean face. Next, I use the dropper to place the acid onto the fan brush. Make sure you are very careful; acid is very dangerous! Avoid the eyes at all costs! Then apply the brush onto the skin in circular motions all over the skin (again, avoiding the eyes and lips). The general rule is to do this for about 10 minutes. It should itch a bit but shouldn’t hurt. If it starts to hurt, wash off immediately with the solution we made earlier. DO NOT TRY TO BE A TOUGH GUY! This will only damage your skin and you will not get the results you want. Some days, I can only handle it for a minute or two.

Step 5: Rinse With Solution

After a maximum of 10 minutes, rinse the acid off your face by dipping esthetic wipes or paper towels into the solution we made earlier. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a “sizzle” like sound; this is totally normal. Be sure to get around the mouth.

Step 5: Soothe Skin With Cooling Masque

Skin looking a bit red? This is completely normal. Soothe that skin by applying a nice Cooling Masque. You can use the one I listed above or what I’m using. I’m using Dermalogica’s Colloidal Masque Base. I typically leave this on for about 15 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse & Finish With Moisturizer

Rinse the cooling masque off with cold water. This will feel extra nice against the skin! Follow with a moisturizer. I use Purpose.

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have at – info at

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