Skin Exfoliators

I cannot imagine a good skin care routine without exfoliation. Removing dead skin cells is a great way to help the skin absorb other products more efficiently. There are two ways to exfoliate the skin: The mechanical way, by using a scrub or microdermabrasion, or the chemical way, using substances that melt the top layer of the skin. I use both methods, but the latter is my favorite.

My preferred chemical peel substance is Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), mainly Glycolic  Acid - made from cane sugar, and the more gentle Lactic Acid - made from milk. AHA products  include masks, toners, creams, lotions, pads, and serums, and they differ in concentrations: they can be as low as 4% or up to 70%.

Using AHA can help with many skin problems: dryness and fine lines - by improving skin ability to absorb moisturizers, acne - by clearing bacteria that clogs pores, and dark spot - by removing the top dark layer of skin. AHA up to 10% is also safe for pregnant women, unlike Retin-A or some vitamin A products.

When using AHA, the use of sun screen is a must. By removing the top layer of skin, the skin is more exposed to sun damage. After many years of experimenting with different AHA products I have a nice list of products that I can recommend.


Reviva Labs – 10% Glycolic Acid Night Cream

Reviva labs offers a big variety of natural skin care at a reasonable price. On their website they claim to be the first to introduce exfoliation to America. I find the 10% Glycolic Acid Night Cream to be very gentle on the skin. The company also offers this cream with 5% Glycolic Acid for beginners. My youngest sister Sapir used this cream in both concentrations and liked it very much. Despite my sensitive skin, I had no skin irritation with this product. 
Skin Biology – Lactic Power 10

Lactic Acid is more gentle than glycolic acid, it is a better choice for very sensitive skin. Skin Biology is a cosmetic company established by the chemist Dr. Loren Pickard who was the first to isolate copper peptide from human plasma in 1973, and now has a whole skin care line based on copper peptide. I love his Skin Biology line and all the scientific explanations behind his products, which he shares on his website. His lab is in Bellevue, WA, just outside Seattle. 

Sharon Marie Skin Care – Glycolic Lotion  

Sharon Marie is a licensed esthetician in New York who developed a natural skin care line to answer different skin issues. I came upon her website while searching for a natural glycolic acid cream for the body (though you can use this lotion on the face). I love the fact that she offers this lotion with 5%, 10%, or 15% concentration of glycolic acid, so customers can pick the strength they want.  This lotion saved my sister Sapir from scars during a time when her whole skin suffered from a breakout. Sharon Marie Skin Care also offers glycolic acid toner, body wash, medical grade glycolic peel, and lactic acid peel for sensitive skin.

Mychelle  - Fruit Fiesta Peel

I read in different resources that AHA should be at least 10% in order to be effective. I don't quiet agree with it, since I've tried this 7% AHA mask and it's very powerful. This product used to be 7% glycolic acid, but seems like Mychelle changed it to Lactic Acid to better suit sensitive skin. 

Ilike – Yogurt Power Peel

I usually ignore products that do not state the exact percentage of the active material, but for Ilike's products I make an exception to my rule, since I know how well they work. Despite the fact that the acid concentration is a mystery, it does make my skin feel tingly. Yogurt Power Peel is a great option for sensitive skin. It brightened my dark spots and evened out my skin complexion.  

I get it online from skincarerx, when they have one their  20% off sales. Register by email to be notified.


Peter Thomas Roth – Max Complexion Correction Pads

Peter Thomas Roth pads contain 10% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid, which is from the Beta Hydroxy Acid family (BHA) known to treat acne. The formula also contains soothing ingredients, like Chamomile Extract and Aloe Vera, to make this whole exfoliating experience very gentle. I can use these pads almost every day, and they helped a lot in clearing my dark spots and even out  my complexion. Because of the alcohol content they tend to dry the skin, so make sure you use a good and rich moisturizer after you treat your skin with these pads. Max Complexion Correction Pads are wonderful for traveling - just put few in a small Ziplock. Salicylic acid is not recommended for pregnant women.


The following products are for advanced AHA users. These peels are not for daily treatment and  I do not recommend using them before first trying one of the products mentioned above, so the skin gets used to the acid. I came across these products looking on Amazon for different peelers. For many years, the treatment with high percentage AHA products was limited to doctor or licensed esthetician offices, but now they are available to all and they are really cheap if you compare it to the price of one office visit. There are many labs around the country that offer a big variety of professional grade skin care products, all listed in the companies website. The products I mention here are the products I personally tried.
Cellbone – Glycolic-Lactic acid 35% Peel Serum

35% acid is a good introductory level for a heavy duty peel. Cellbone Glycolic-Lactic Acid combination makes this experience gentle enough.

SkinLaboratory – Glycolic/35 Gel Peel

This was my first high potency peel product to try at home and I love it to this day. I love to use it in the morning, because it makes my skin glow all day.

Perfect Image – Lactic 50% Gel Peel

Despite the fact that it is 50% acid, it is a gentle Lactic acid. It has a thick consistency, a mild smell of mint, and some kind of a cooling agent.

Skin Beauty Solutions – Glycolic Acid Skin Peel 70%

This one is serious.  I don't use any other AHA product for a few days before using it, otherwise it's too much peel for my skin.  


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