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Chemical Peel for Dry Skin: 7 Best Face Peels

chemical peels for face

Is looking for the best chemical peel for dry skin a good idea, is it something that would benefit your skin if you have dry sensitive skin?

Let me tell you right from the start that the answer is actually a booming yes.

When we’re thinking about a peel for dry skin, we’re actually referring to chemical peels, chemical exfoliation that can be done at home once a week or maybe a few times a week.

You probably already know how beneficial and recommended by all dermatologists is to exfoliate your skin, both the face and the body.

With that in mind, the focus today is going to be on discovering which are the best chemical peels for dry skin, which are the best ingredients to look for in a face peel for dry skin, and why it’s completely worth the money, time, and effort to exfoliate your face with a chemical peel, regardless of your skin type.

What Does a Chemical Peel for Dry Skin Do?

Does dry skin need exfoliation? It absolutely does. Just like any other skin care type needs to be exfoliated.

Without exfoliation, dry skin can become flaky and lose its vitality. That can happen because layers of dead skin cells will pile at the surface of the skin, which will prevent other skincare products (serums, moisturizers) from penetrating deep into the skin.

Chemical peels or chemical exfoliators for face (both names fit) remove dead skin cells. That’s their main job and why we primarily use them.

Their ingredients dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, loosening them up and the broken dead skin cells are sloughed off.

What Are Chemical Peels?

The name chemical shouldn’t scare you at all. They simply get the chemical part of their name because they contain:

  • alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) – glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid
  • beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) – salicylic acid
  • or enzymes – from fruits (papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, and citrus)

They work for all skin types, absolutely all, including dry skin.

These chemical ones are the ones the give those with acne-prone or sensitive skin the possibility to enjoy the many benefits of exfoliation.

There are other benefits to be gained from a face peel, it’s not solely about removing dead skin cells.

A facial scrub also removes dead skin cells but, besides being harsher on the skin, it also doesn’t carry the extra benefits that chemical exfoliators for face do. That’s why chemical trumps physical when it comes to exfoliation.

Does exfoliation dry skin out? Not if you exfoliate as a peel recommends, each will come with its own instructions. The skin can become flaky and irritated if you over-exfoliate.

Facial Chemical Peels Benefits

chemical face exfoliators

These are the major benefits of chemical peels (all skin types):

  • peels penetrate very deep into the skin
  • removal of dead skin cells to allow the smooth refreshed skin below to shine
  • dead skin cells also clog pores, which leads to acne – chemical exfoliation is definitely great for preventing and lessening the frequency of breakouts (acne won’t be cured entirely just from exfoliation)
  • prevention of blackheads or at least a reduction in their numbers
  • more even skin tone
  • hydration effect – this is one major benefit that peels can have for dry skin
  • brighter complexion
  • prevention of fine lines and diminished deeper wrinkles – an overall smoother skin surface
  • anti-inflammatory benefits, which can calm and sooth irritated skin – it’s a very nice benefit for those suffering from sensitive skin or from acne
  • skincare products can penetrate deeper into the dermis after a peel, which makes them more effective

My Picks for the 7 Best Face Peels for Dry Skin

I had so much fun researching the best face peels for dry skin because there are so many impressive products worthy of our attention.

I tried to pick for all budgets so that everyone with dry skin, no matter their budget, can enjoy the benefits or a regular peel.

1. Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel, 3.4 oz – Peel for Dry Flaky Skin

I’m not going to start off my recommendations for the best face peel for dry skin with a cheap product but this is an awesome peel for dry skin. It’s definitely a top choice, in my opinion.

On the tube it says that it will visibly exfoliate by rolling, lifting and sweeping away the dead skin cells and it will help uncover a smoother fresher newer-looking complexion.

Well, they perfectly described their product so, I’m guessing my work here is done.

I love that this is an enzyme peel for dry skin, it contains pineapple fruit extract, pomegranate enzyme, and citric acid. Even more, it also contains keratinase, which is another enzyme with exfoliating properties, one encountered not very often.

It also contains cellulose and hyaluronic acid.

It works perfectly for all skin types, even the most sensitive ones.

If you want to enjoy the full benefits of this peeling gel, leave it on for 1 to 5 minutes before rinsing and use it 1-3 times a week.

2. Olay Vitamin C Face Mask Kit & Exfoliating AHA Peel, 4.2 oz – Cheap Price for a Fantastic Kit

This is a quite cheap kit consisting of a vitamin C mask and an AHA peel. It’s definitely a unique combination but one that works for revealing a smoother brighter complexion.

It only has to be used 1 or 2 times a week. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a peel for dry skin, the Olay kit is one to pay attention to.

The vitamin C mask is actually massaged on dry skin for about 1 minute. That’s easy and very fast.

Then, a generous amount of AHA peel is applied over the mask, which should be again massaged for up to a minute or until the resurfacing crystals dissolve. Rinse with lukewarm water and in 2 minutes you’re done and you can get on with your evening routine.

Resurfacing crystals indicate that this is also acting as a gentle scrub. The fact that they dissolve means that this is a gentle scrubbing that your face will definitely enjoy and the dead skin cells are sloughed off.

The mask has some great ingredients: ascorbic acid, niacinamide, vitamin E – nice powerful antioxidants that’s why it brightens up the complexion.

The peel contains lactic acid as the AHA so it’s also gentle.

3. Honest Beauty Sleep Resurfacing Serum, 1 oz – The Peel for Dry Skin Alternative

I’m going to take a detour and instead of a chemical peel for dry skin, I’m going to recommend this serum full of AHAs and one of my favorite humectants for hydrating the skin – hyaluronic acid in its two forms.

It’s a serum definitely meant to hydrate the skin, which is exactly what you should be looking for.

I think it’s a fantastic alternative for those who are still reluctant to try a peel, although there are no reasons for that.

But this serum is an exfoliator that is left on the skin overnight to remove the dead skin cells and deeply hydrate the skin at the same time. Very easy to use and you just need a few seconds to massage it into the skin.

You should still apply a moisturizer on top of it, it’s still just a serum and serums are locked in with moisturizers.

Plus, the price is really affordable. And the ingredients are the best, the most notable being sugar maple sap (similar to honey), glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, aloe vera, 2 forms of hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.

4. ELEMIS Papaya Enzyme Peel, 1.6 oz – Expensive but Gentle

This gentle papaya enzyme peel for dry skin is tiny and expensive. Those are the two strikes against it.

Other than that, it’s quite perfect and it suits all skin types thanks to its gentleness.

It can be used 1-2 a week, applied for 10-15 minutes, and then rinsed off.

Another peel that it’s very easy to use and given the price, I’m guessing most prefer to use it just once a week. That way it will last a very long time. Buying it just once a year doesn’t seem too bad.

Papaya enzymes can also decrease inflammation, which makes them a candidate for reducing breakouts.

Which is why this peel states that it purifies, revitalizes, and smooths the skin.

It’s a cream peel. The texture is very pleasant. Besides papaya, it also contains pineapple enzymes, and bladderwrack, a seaweed with powerful moisturizing properties.

5. boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel, 5 oz – the Natural Peel for Dry Skin

This has a lot of natural ingredients, many oils from fruits, flowers and seeds, aloe vera, and a lot of fruits and leaves extracts.

The exfoliating ingredients are also extracted from fruits – they are multi-fruit AHAs and pomegranate enzymes.

It’s definitely for those who prefer natural products and this exfoliating peel from boscia hits the mark.

It’s definitely gentle and hydrating at the same time.

The quantity is quite big and the price quite nice. It’s really good, that would sum it up.

It’s gentle enough to use daily and it should be applied on dry skin and massaged on the face. But they don’t specify the time so, I would suggest massage it on dry skin until you get tired of it. After about a minute no one wants to massage anymore.

6. CANE + AUSTIN Glycolic Acid 10% Peel Pads, 60 pads – Anti-Aging Peel Pads

You get 60 very effective glycolic peel pads but the price is pretty high. These are not for those on a budget.

They’re really good if you can afford them.

They have pads with a higher concentration, too but these are just perfect for beginners and work for all skin types.

They’re definitely targeting those who are actively trying to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re one of those, check them out.

People also use these pads for their acne-prone skin.

They’re gentle enough that they can be used even daily but, given the price, maybe 2-3 times a week will sound better for some.

Beside glycolic acid, there are other surprising ingredients: retinyl palmitate (vitamin A derivative), vitamin E, and ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C derivative), CoQ10, urea (used for dry/rough skin).

You just have to swipe the pad over the face until it dries and that’s it. No rinsing off.

7. Glycolix Glycolic Acid Pads, 60 count – Very Affordable Very Good

If you like the idea of pads with glycolic acid but you want a cheaper price, these are very nice indeed.

You can start off with the 10% glycolic concentration and gradually move up to the 20% option.

The ingredients are incredibly similar to the above more expensive pads: glycolic acid, retinyl palmitate, vitamin E, ascorbyl palmitate, CoQ10, and urea.

People praise them for a number of reasons and that’s why I truly wanted to include them as an option for the best face peels: filling in fine lines, hyperpigmentation, clear pores, even skin tone, brighter skin tone, reduction in breakouts.

They can be used daily, no rinsing off after wiping the pad over the face. Just get on with the rest of your routine.

Peel for Dry Skin: Best Ingredients

The focus of all chemical peels for face is on AHAs or BHA or a combination of the two.

Enzymes can also be added to the mix.

Enzymes are a lot more gentle on the skin so, those with very sensitive skin care choose to exfoliate by using an exfoliator that mainly focuses on incorporating enzymes.

Glycolic Acid

The most famous of them all because it’s highly effective. It brings all the major benefits to the table.

Why is glycolic acid so good? By the way, it’s naturally found in sugar cane.

Because it’s the smallest of AHAs so it penetrates into the dermis.

As a beginner, it’s best to start off with a 10% glycolic acid concentration and then you can move up to 20% if you notice that the benefits are not so evident for the 10%.

It can come in the form of pads (very popular for glycolic acid), peeling solutions, and serums.

It’s used for obtaining a smooth brightened complexion and it’s favored for preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Lactic acid

The second most popular is lactic acid. It has a slightly bigger molecule but it’s very effective.

And a bit more gentle so, it’s great for those with sensitive skin.

Great for fighting hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Salicylic Acid

This is a BHA and it’s mostly used for those suffering from acne because it’s oil-soluble. But it works for all skin types. It doesn’t irritate even those with sensitive skin.

It deeply cleanses the pores. Preventing pores from getting clogged is one very important step in lessening the intensity of breakouts.

I don’t believe that it will solve the issue of blackheads and whiteheads on its own, it’s not that powerful, as far as I can tell you from my own experience.


Enzymes are fantastic and amazing ingredients for a peel for dry skin. Why are they so good?

Because they have the same effects as AHAs but are gentle on the skin so they’re perfect for all skin types, including for those with sensitive dry skin.

Peels with enzymes are also a good first choice for those who are just now getting into chemical exfoliation. It’s best to take it slowly and enzymes are the ingredients that can provide that with satisfactory results.

What exactly are enzymes?

They’re obtained from fruits. Some of the most popular are papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, and citrus enzymes. Some products contain a mix of them not just one enzyme.

They also remove dead skin cells and they can be effective against breakouts & clogged pores, dull skin, and hyperpigmentation. Their effectiveness against dull skin is what should interest those looking for a best peel for dry skin.

How to Use a Chemical Peel for Dry Skin

The most important thing that you need to do before using a peel for dry skin or any other skin type is reading the instructions that come with the exfoliator you’ve chosen.

The instructions will tell you about everything you need to know because each product can have different methods of usage.

Another important aspect of using a face peel is that you need to wash your face first. Cleansing your face is crucial because you need to use it on clean skin.

Those with dry skin can also consider using a milk cleanser, which are famous for soothing and nourishing the skin. Check out my post on the best milk cleanser for face if you’re curious about them.

Before applying a face peel, the skin needs to be completely absolutely dry. Irritation might occur otherwise.


Keep it away from the eye area.

All peels should be used in the evening because their active ingredients can cause sun sensitivity, just like retinol does.

Then, depending on the product you’re using:

  • you’re either going to use the peel as a mask and leave it on for a certain number of minutes and then rinse off and continue with your evening routine
  • or you’re going to apply the peel and leave it on until morning – in this case, if you’re using a toner first apply the toner, then the peel, then a serum/moisturizer

A peel for dry skin can be used daily, 2-3 times a week or just once a week, it really depends, that’s why you need to read everything written on the box.