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Today I wanted to do another post featuring a product at four different price points. This time we're talking about acid peels costing from £5 to almost £90. These are designed to give your skin a major dose of chemical exfoliation and different types of acids work better for different skin types. Just ensure you follow with sunscreen and avoid mixing them with retinol or Vitamin C. Let's dive in...
Primark x Alex Steinherr Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads | £5 | These are more like pads soaked in an acid toning solution than a full-on peel, however there's a more expensive product we'll get into later that these are a pretty good dupe for, so I thought I'd include them anyway. These pads are infused with Lactic Acid and PHAs, to break up dead skin cells. Lactic Acid is an AHA, so can really make your skin glow, alongside having humectant properties making it great for dry skin because it can hydrate whilst exfoliating. PHAs are also acid exfoliators but have a larger molecule size, so work more on a surface level, I also find them a bit gentler than AHAs and BHAs. These pads are really effective for me as a daily or every-other-day step in my routine. They can sometimes be a tad drying and I definitely get a bit of tingling with them, but I really don't mind. They help even out my skin tone and give an immediate glow boost for £5!
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution | £6.30 | This is one of my all-time favourite skincare products! It's a blood-red gel-liquid, so is definitely a little bit scary-looking, and not for beginners (it gets tingly even for me), however well worth picking up if you use an acid toner but want to switch something stronger for a once weekly treatment. This mask should be left on for a maximum of 10 minutes, because (as you can see) it contains a really high percentage of glycolic acid (a skin-brightening AHA). There's also a nice dose of salicylic acid (a BHA) in the mix to penetrate into the pores and help active breakouts and blemish scarring. I find this to be an amazing all-rounder for softer, smoother skin, with fewer dry patches. It's also great for when I'm breaking out; if I use it in the evening then by the following morning any blemishes are significantly reduced in size and redness.
The Inkey List Apple Cider Vinegar Peel | £14.99 | This is another mask treatment product (with a gel-like consistency), this time formulated with 2% apple cider vinegar, 10% glycolic acid and a 5% multi-fruit blend. You leave it on for 10 minutes at most before rinsing. I definitely get some intense tingling with this product, so I wouldn't recommend it unless acids are already a staple in your routine. However it's really helped clarify my skin in terms of breakouts and also preventing scarring once they heal and smoothing my skin. It's not for the faint-hearted or the sensitive-skinned, though!
Fourth Ray Beauty Reveal 10% AHA Serum | $16 | This is an overnight serum formulated with a pretty big hit of AHA in the form of both lactic and glycolic acids. I find this not only effective at giving me smoother, more radiant skin, but it's also actually quite moisturising. It has lots of oils in the formula to counteract the more drying exfoliation process, though be warned, this does also include fragrant essential oils which can be sensitising. However it works well for me as something to use around three times per week.
- UNDER £30 -Versed the Shortcut Overnight Peel | £18 | This overnight treatment should be used on freshly cleansed skin with no other products applied to it. It comes out as cream and not only does it contain lactic and glycolic acids but it also has moisturising and hydrating ingredients like shea butter and glycerin. I couldn't actually find out what percentage of AHA this product contains, however it's one of the most gentle options in this post. The texture of it is actually quite moisturising and it doesn't tingle or irritate my skin at all. Whilst the results aren't as dramatic, my skin is definitely very smooth by morning, and over time it's helped keep its tone even.
Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel* | £21 | This gel-consistency mask should be left on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. It combines the power of both glycolic acid and pomegranate enzymes. Fruit enzymes are great at eating away at dead skin cells to reveal newer, healthier-looking skin. This mask is another pretty gentle option that still does the job for me. Whilst it may not give that 'brand new skin' feeling to the extent of some of the stronger peels featured in this post, it still keeps my skin looking healthy and radiant.
Pixi Peel & Polish* | £26 | This is a really nice, gentle option to use a couple of times a week. It contains very gentle organic exfoliation particles as well as lactic acid and papaya enzymes. Again, they're nothing over-the-top and very gently eat away at the dead skin cells when left on for a few minutes. As you rinse it off, you can gently massage the skin so those cells come totally loose and reveal smooth, healthy skin. Again, it isn't anything totally transformative, but it's nice to use every so often and you still see a noticeable difference.
- UNDER £50 -Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum | £55 | This overnight serum is definitely on the more intense side! This formula contains lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, so is a real cocktail of everything. It actually doesn't dry out my skin at all, but I find it works really well with a nourishing face cream used after it, because the smooth-skin feeling is on another level! It not only helps clear my skin and improve the appearance of scarring and uneven skin tone, but it makes my skin glow and feel so soft. It really does give those immediate, dramatic results, so it's one I will definitely reach for the night before a big event to have my best skin day possible.
- OVER £50 -Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum* | £76 | Again, we have a bit of a cocktail of intense acids, with this one containing both glycolic and salicylic. This is a lightweight gel-serum, so I use a face oil afterwards, as it is a pretty full-on exfoliator and doesn't have as much of a moisturising texture as something like the Farmacy. However it's really incredible at evening out the skin's tone or if you're suffering from texture. It does also give that immediate result of brighter skin.
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel in Universal* & Extra Strength | £89 for 30 | This peel is pricey (especially given it's designed for daily use!) however has given me some pretty incredible results. The first step is a little cloth soaked in glycolic acid, salicylic acid, copper and zinc to exfoliate the skin, reduce redness and have an anti-ageing effect. You then follow it with the second step, which is a serum containing a little bit of retinol and soothing ingredients. It gives me zero irritation and the smoothest skin of my life, with the overall clarity of my skin much improved. The Universal is great, but if you're a seasoned pro then the Extra Strength formula is my personal go-to.
Have you ever tried an acid peel ? Do you find a cheaper formula works just as well?