11 Best Chemical Peels For Acne Scars (2024) + Buying Guide

Get the two-in-one action of eliminating your acne scars and exfoliating your skin.

Reviewed by Annētta McBain, Esthetician Annētta McBain Annētta McBainEsthetician facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Kirtana Divakar MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) Experience: 3 years
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Chemical peels are prepared with acids like salicylic, glycolic, and other AHAs and BHA to unclog the pores. They help remove the acne-causing agents from the skin and exfoliate the dead skin cells. “Acne scarring, fine lines, enlarged pores and dull skin are very common skin issues. By incorporating these chemical peels in your weekly routine, you will be on your way to youthful, radiant skin faster than you think,” says Annētta McBain, an Esthetician.

Since they are a convenient product to use at home, many prefer this over other methods to fade acne scars. However, you should know which peel is best suited for your skin. Do not worry! We can help you choose the best peel solutions for acne scars on your skin. Scroll down to check out the list of the best 11 chemical peels that can do wonders for your skin and fade away the stubborn scars.

Top Picks
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Best Cruelty-Free:Divine Pro Skincare Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Rejuvenation Therapy Glycolic Acid Peel
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Best Paraben-Free:Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel
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Best For Excess Sebum Control:QrxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel
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Best Anti-Aging:Voibella Beauty Advanced Anti-Aging Glycolic Acid Peel
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Best Exfoliating:ASDM Beverly Hills 10% Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel
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Best For Dark Spots:Organys Glycolic Peel 20% Glycolic Acid
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Best Pore-Minimizing:Skin Beauty Solutions Lactic Acid Skin Peel
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Best Cruelty-Free:OZNaturals Glycolic Acid 30% Medium Strength Mirco Peel
Price on Amazon
Best Alcohol-Free:Instaderm Anti-Aging Exfoliating Peel Pads
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Best Brightening:Open Formula Glycolic Acid Peel
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11 Best Chemical Peels For Acne Scars – Our Top Picks

1. Best Cruelty-Free:Divine Pro Skincare Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Rejuvenation Therapy Glycolic Acid Peel

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Glycolic Acid 40% (Professional Chemical Peel) Pro Strength Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Peel Image: Divine Derriere

The Divine at home OTC chemical peel for acne scars is the holy grail you need for skin that acts up every chance it gets. It contains 40% glycolic acid, which effectively rids the skin of acne scars, reduces fine line, pore size, and tightens the skin to restore its youth. You simply need to carve out 5 minutes of your busy schedule if you don’t have the time and energy for beauty treatments. It is suitable for all skin types, saving you the hassle of finding a product that doesn’t make your face feel too dry or too greasy.

Skin Type: Oily, glycolic acid, Combination, glycolic acid skin chemical peel anti aging, facial pore anti wrinkle antiaging See more

Pros
  • Improves skin tone
  • Stimulates collagen production
  • Reduces pore size and fine lines
  • Repairs skin damage from UV rays
  • Not animal-tested

Cons
  • May take time to deliver results
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Almost 4,736 happy users have mentioned the value and quality of this product.

2. Best Paraben-Free:Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel

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YEOUTH Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel Image: Yeouth

The Yeouth glycolic acid gel peel is a blend of 30% glycolic acid, green tea, and retinol. These potent ingredients work their magic to boost skin collagen production to save you from early aging signs. This acne scars chemical peel pulls away blackheads and whiteheads with regular use, revealing cleaner skin. If you have complaints of hyperpigmentation and sun damage, count on this gel peel to fade them away with time. Check out this YouTube video of a tester’s experience for more information on the Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.92 x 1.92 x 4.51 inches | Weight: 0.01 Ounces

Pros
  • Fights blackheads and whiteheads
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Fades hyperpigmentation
  • Nourishing
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan

Cons
  • Contains alcohol
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

A whopping 4,021 reviews on Amazon make it obvious that users genuinely love this product.

3. Best For Excess Sebum Control: QrxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel

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QrxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel Image: Qrx Labs

The QrxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel can be the best choice for you if you want to obtain glowing skin. There is no need to shell out cash for pricey spa treatments when you may receive nourishing skin from the comfort of your home with this peel. The 20% concentration of medical-grade salicylic acid in the gel peel works wonderfully for any difficult skin treatment. You can expect to achieve healthy skin from the goodness of green tea extracts and tea tree essential oil, both of which are crucial for battling acne and thus reducing skin irritation. It is advised that you properly wash your skin before using the treatment, and then use an applicator pad to gently apply the gel peel. Thoroughly rinse your face after letting the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 4 inches | Weight: 2.8 Ounces

Pros
  • Treats acne
  • Controls sebum production
  • Silicone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Dye-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

None

protip_icon Pro Tip
Avoid using masks, exfoliating agents, scrubs, self-tanners, retinol serums and creams, or any other product that may irritate your skin for at least 48 hours before or after using the peel.

Divine Pro Skincare Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Rejuvenation Therapy Glycolic Acid Peel
Best Cruelty-Free
Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel
Best Paraben-Free
QrxLabs Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel
Best For Excess Sebum Control
Skin Type Oily, glycolic acid, Combination, glycolic acid skin chemical peel anti aging, facial pore anti wrinkle antiaging See more All All
Dimensions- 1.92 x 1.92 x 4.51 inches 1 x 1 x 4 inches
Weight- 0.01 Ounces 2.8 Ounces
Rating
Reviews4,7364,021-
Price$16.99$9.99$19.95

4. Best Anti-Aging:Voibella Beauty Advanced Anti-Aging Glycolic Acid Peel

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Glycolic Acid Peel - Chemical Peel For Face - Skin Resurfacing Exfoliant with Lactic Acid & Pyruvic Fruit Acid (AHA) Image: Voibella Beauty

The Voibella Beauty chemical peel packs the goodness of anti-aging perks on top of its acne scar-clearing properties. This triple action peel is a concoction of glycolic acid, pyruvic acid, and lactic acid, which are among the most remarkable AHAs for the skin. This peel comes off in the form of small particles to prevent pulling of the skin and irritation as a result. It provides gentle chemical exfoliation for acne while also acting on aging signs like wrinkles, and dull skin from the accumulation of dead cells. This is the best chemical peel for acne scars if your requisite is a paraben and sulfate-free peeling gel.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.3 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches Weight : 2.4 Ounces

Pros
  • Eliminates dead skin cells
  • Brightens skin
  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles
  • Boost collagen production
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Not animal-tested

Cons
  • May not be suitable for severe acne

5. Best Exfoliating:ASDM Beverly Hills 10% Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel

Hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, or dead skin cells— put your finger on any of the skin issues and this deep chemical peel for acne scars will solve it for you. It contains 10% glycolic acid that helps loosen the bond between dead cells to peel them off easily. With a low pH level and a pure unbuffered formula, you can count on this peel if you have sensitive skin. If you’re switching to natural skincare, this one is worth considering as the ingredients in this at-home chemical peel for acne scars are naturally sourced from sugar cane. Leave this peel on for 5 minutes and follow it up with a moisturizer for best results.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.63 x 1.63 x 3.88 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces

Pros
  • Smoothen skin
  • Evens the skin tone
  • Exfoliates
  • Low pH level

Cons
  • Some may find the consistency runny.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Avoid stepping out in direct sunlight for the next 48 hours after using a chemical peel.

6. Best For Dark Spots:Organys Glycolic Peel 20% Glycolic Acid

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Glycolic Acid 20% Peel Serum Image: Organys

If you’re losing hope because of the stubborn acne scars that just won’t fade, you need this 20% glycolic acid-based acne scar chemical peel from Organys. It goes deep into the pores and cleans them of acne-causing agents while ridding the skin of visible scars. It is formulated with sodium hydroxide to make it suitable for sensitive skin. If you have an uneven skin tone due to exposure to UV rays, this peel will also work to brighten your complexion while clearing away excess dirt and pigmentation. When you’re using a chemical peel primarily for deep exfoliation, this is the best chemical peel for acne scars that you can invest in.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Item Weight: 2 Ounces.

Pros
  • Minimizes acne scars
  • Exfoliates dead skin
  • Reduces appearance of dark spots
  • Improves texture of the skin

Cons
  • May peel only a little

7. Best Pore-Minimizing:Skin Beauty Solutions Lactic Acid Skin Peel

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LACTIC Acid Peel 90% Skin Chemical Peel- At Home Peel-Alpha Hydroxy (AHA) Image: Skin Beauty Solutions

If you’re up for change from glycolic acid, set your hands on this lactic acid chemical peel from Skin Beauty Solutions. It brushes away excess oil and dirt and adds a burst of refreshment to your dull skin. We love this chemical peel for hyperpigmentation and acne scars because it blesses aging skin with its wrinkle and fine-line fading properties. This acne scarring chemical peel can be your go-to skincare solution for uneven skin tone, sun spots, blackheads and whiteheads.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal | Product Type Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.13 x 6.57 x 1.69 inches | Weight : 1 Ounces

Pros
  • Slows the aging process
  • Fades acne scars
  • Removes blackheads and whiteheads
  • Reduces pore size

Cons
  • Some may find it strong.

8. Best Cruelty-Free:OZNaturals Glycolic Acid 30% Medium Strength Mirco Peel

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OZNaturals 30% AHA Glycolic Acid Facial Peel & Pore Minimizer Face Wash Image: Oz Naturals

Flawless complexion and brighter skin are no more a dream too far-fetched if you’re using the OZNaturals micro peel. The key ingredient in this chemical peel is 30% glycolic acid that helps clear and smooth skin while lightening dark spots. It hyper exfoliates without irritating the skin— all you need is 4 minutes out of your busy day to witness the benefits of this chemical peel. Add it to your skincare regime and the results will be worth the investment and wait.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 1.4 x 4.3 inches | Weight: 1 Ounces

Pros
  • Adds glow to the skin
  • Non-GMO formula
  • Higher potency
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Slightly expensive

9. Best Alcohol-Free:Instaderm Anti-Aging Exfoliating Peel Pads

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These anti-aging exfoliating peel pads are all you need for a no-mess, hassle-free peeling experience if that’s your style. Formulated specifically to address aging skin issues, this peel is enriched with salicylic acid and glycolic acid— a potent combination for reducing fine lines, dark spots, acne scars, textured scars or indented scars, and wrinkles for enhanced skin texture. It is an alcohol, paraben, and sulfate-free formula so your skin stays safe from harsh chemicals. It is dermatologist-recommended so you can rest easy when using these effective pads for chemical peeling at home.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.09 x 2.68 x 2.4 inches | Weight : 4.66 Ounces

Pros
  • Reverses signs of aging
  • Dermatologist-recommended
  • Offers gentle exfoliation
  • Free of alcohol
  • Paraben
  • Sulfate-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • May have a tingling sensation

10. Best Brightening:Open Formula Glycolic Acid Peel

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Open Formula Glycolic Acid 20% Peel Serum Image: Open Formula

This 3-ingredient acne scars chemical peel instantly brightens the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells to reveal healthy, glowing skin. It contains water, 20% glycolic acid, and sodium hydroxide, which makes it suitable for sensitive skin. It reduces the appearance of acne scars and dark spots within several days of use. It is also nut-free, which takes care of those who have nut allergies. If you make it a point to shop cruelty-free skincare products, you’d totally want to use this chemical peel as it is leaping bunny certified. If you want to know more about the Open Formula Glycolic Acid Peel, click on this video.

Skin Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.2 x 4 inches | Weight: 1 Ounces.

Pros
  • Exfoliates
  • Brightens
  • Improves uneven skin tone
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Silicone and paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • May not have a very thick consistency
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The overwhelming 1,054 positive reviews on Amazon show how popular this product is with happy users.

11. Best Moisturizing:Profounda Pineapple Peel Jo Collection Daily Chemical Peel

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The Pineapple Peel- Professional Daily Leave-On Glycolic Acid Peel- Gentle Anti-Aging Home Chemical Peel Exfoliator Image: Jo Collection

This chemical peel from Profounda’s Jo Collections transforms the skin to youthful, glowing, and flawless-looking by conveniently replacing expensive skin treatments. It is infused with AHA and BHA that reduce the size of pores and fade away stubborn acne scars while keeping your skin hydrated. Some of the key natural ingredients that make it potent are lactic acid, glycol acid, salicylic acid, and pineapple enzymes. Let the peel stay for 2 minutes before peeling it off and washing it away to reveal a fresh and dewy face.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 3.75 inches | Weight: 3.21 Ounces

Pros
  • Moisturizes
  • Nourishing formula
  • Reduces sun damage
  • Fades hyperpigmentation

Cons
  • Contains artificial fragrance

Infographic: Common Ingredients In Chemical Peels For Acne Scars

Chemical peels are popular home treatments that help you regulate your skin’s sebum production and smooth out its appearance. They are packed with potent elements that fade acne marks and boost skin firmness. The infographic below lists the common ingredients used to formulate these peels. Check it out.

Common Ingredients In Chemical Peels For Acne Scars (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Using chemical peels on your acne scars completely depends on the depth of your scarring. However, depending on the acne scar you have, the best chemical peels can be an ideal solution to eliminate those spots. Besides minimizing acne scars, these masks can also reduce wrinkles and fine lines and smooth your skin’s texture. Chemical peels are infused with AHAs and BHAs that help unclog pores and prevent acne-causing bacteria. In addition, they exfoliate dead skin cells and eliminate dark spots. Use the Divine Pro Skincare Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Rejuvenation Therapy Glycolic Acid Peel to reduce the appearance of fine lines and promote a smoother complexion. Or apply the Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel; it is paraben-free and improves overall skin health. You can also use the Voibella Beauty Advanced Anti-Aging Glycolic Acid Peel to promote skin exfoliation and collagen production. Consider your skin type and skin problem, and read the ingredients list while purchasing the best chemical peels for acne scars.

Types Of Chemical Peels For Acne Scars

  • Superficial peels

Superficial peels are at-home chemical peels generally formulated with milder acids like AHA that aid in gentle exfoliation. Since superficial chemical peels only penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, you can use them when your acne results from agents like excessively oily skin, dirt, and environmental aggressors that settle on your face.

  • Medium peels

Medium chemical peels reach both the outermost and middle layer of the skin. These medium-depth peels can cleanse your pores; thus, eliminating the oils and dirt trapped in the pores that might cause acne. Medium peels contain glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid in different concentrations such as 10%, 20%, and 30% based on how potent you would like your chemical peel for acne to be.

  • Deep peels

Deep peels are game changers for people who have dull, light or dark skin tones as they fully penetrate the middle layer and get rid of dead skin cells that may cause dullness, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. These professional chemical peels often contain trichloroacetic acid or phenol and the application procedure needs professional guidance.
When you set out to buy a chemical peel for your acne problem, you have to consider a few factors. Here’s a segment on how you should choose a chemical peel that does your skin right.

How To Choose The Best Chemical Peel For Acne Scars?

  • Skin type

If you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, make it a point to read the label and ensure that the chemical peel is crafted for your skin type. Some chemical peels may make the skin feel too dry. However, you can always follow it up with a moisturizer for moisture recovery. For those with sensitive skin, chemical peels with sodium hydroxide are best suited. Ensure that the label reads hypoallergenic and the acid percentage is fairly low.

  • Skin problem

Are you trying to solve acne and scarring problems or do you need a chemical peel for other skin issues as well? Identify your skin issues to make the most out of your peel. Chemical peels can help fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, eliminate blackheads and whiteheads, and reduce pore size and fine lines. So, understand your skin problem and find a peel that helps improve your skin.

  • Ingredients

The most common ingredients you’ll find in a chemical peel are glycolic acid, AHA, salicylic acid, and phenol. The percentage of acids also varies from one peel to another. Glycolic acid in higher doses and phenol are suitable for severe acne. You can settle on a peel with salicylic acid if you have mild to moderate acne.

  • Potential irritants

It is best to keep away from potential irritants and harsh chemicals, especially when you’re trying to remediate acne, such as parabens, sulfates, alcohol, and silicones because you’re letting the peel sit on your face for a while. You can also avoid gluten and nuts if you have allergies.

If you are unsure of your skin type and issues and which product and ingredient works best for you, you should consult a dermatologist. You can also check out many video reviews of the products on Youtube to get a better idea of how the product might work for your skin type based on a firsthand tester-experience. There are some authentic dermatologists on Youtube who share valuable skincare information, however, you should meet with a dermatologist personally to get customized skincare recommendations.

How Do Chemical Peels Help With Acne Scars?

Chemical peels contain acids that either offer deep cleansing or penetrate the skin surface to get rid of dead cells and promote the growth of new skin cells. They also cleanse the pores and eliminate the clogged substances. This helps in preventing you from breaking out and also lessens the appearance of acne scars over time.

How Often Should You Use A Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels are not your regular exfoliators as they contain acids. While these acids are completely skin-friendly, you shouldn’t use chemical peels frequently. The ideal interval to leave between 2 chemical peel treatments is anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. If the chemical peel for acne scars is too mild, you can increase the frequency of use, but limit it to twice a month.

We hope that our list of the 11 best chemical peels for acne scars help you find what’s right for your skin type. While skin type is one factor to consider when picking the right peel, it would be useful to first identify what you expect your chemical peel to do for you. This will help you settle for either a superficial, deep, or medium peel. If you’re still confused, do refer to our buying guide to steer clear of any confusion and make the right decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do chemical peels work for acne scars?

Yes, when formulated with the right ingredients, chemical peels work for acne scars.

Can chemical peels make acne worse?

If there are certain ingredients in the peel that don’t suit your skin type or you’re allergic to, it may worsen the acne.

Do chemical peels brighten the skin?

If your skin looks dull or dark from hyperpigmentation, many chemical peels help fade the hyperpigmentation to reveal brighter skin.

Can chemical peels damage your skin?

If a chemical peel has an irritant or it’s formulated with an ingredient that you’re allergic to, it may damage your skin. If you have acne-prone skin, you may be susceptible to some severe acne problems caused by those irritants, so you need to follow proper aftercare to avoid damage. Sometimes, chemical peels can also damage sensitive skin if they’re not formulated for such a skin type.

Is a chemical peel or microdermabrasion better for acne scars?

Chemical peels are a better alternative for active acne as microdermabrasion can irritate the skin or cause other issues like reddening of the skin.

Do chemical peels remove dark spots?

Yes, most chemical peels that contain glycolic acid can remove dark spots. However, it depends on the concentration and potency of the formula to decide how much time it might take and how evident the outcomes would turn out to be.

Can a chemical peel burn your face?

Some people may experience a burning sensation from a chemical peel if they have sensitive skin or if the peel is too strong for their skin.

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Annētta McBain

Annētta McBainEsthetician

Annētta McBain is a multitalented entrepreneur and influencer who isn't afraid to share her faith and her family as integral facets of her brands. She has 7 years of experience in makeup and skin care. She started her empire by becoming an esthetician, and over the years, she has now become a celebrity makeup artist, couture gown designer, speaker, the...read full bio