3 Dermatologist-Recommended Body Peels For Acne, Dark Spots & More

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I experience a lot of unwelcome changes to my skin with every new season, but fall is somehow the worst. Once the temperatures start to drop and I have to switch out my tanks for sweaters, my skin starts to do a lot of wild and weird things. I get itchy, my skin turns red and bumpy, and, most annoying of all, my back and chest break out thanks to all the sweat constantly building up underneath the new layers of clothing. To be honest, I always thought there was nothing I could do about my issues — until one day I stumbled upon a body peel to treat acne, dark spots, and more: Stacked Skincare TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel changed everything for me.

I had my doubts about this product at first. I overheard someone raving about it and read some glowing reviews online, but after spending years trying to solve all my cold-weather skin woes, I didn’t have much faith in anything. But, wow. After ordering the product (it's $125 for 2 fl. oz.) and reading the instructions, I applied the peel to my arms, back, and chest using the “chic fan brush” and the serum dish it came with. I started to feel a mild burn — which, according to the directions on the bottle, is supposed to happen — that subsided in about an hour. I didn’t notice any difference in my skin that night other than a lot of redness, but when I woke up the next morning, things had changed big time.

All of a sudden, the pimples on my chest and back were smaller and the red bumps covering my upper arms had shrunk. Within a week of using the product my arms were completely smooth and almost all of my body acne was gone. I always thought that body scrubs were supposed to be the solution to any bumps and dullness, but not a single one ever had a significant impact on my skin. So, why is using a body peel so different than a traditional exfoliator?

According to Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, chemical peels are unlike traditional exfoliators in that the ingredients are what cause the effects, rather than the way the product is applied. “Chemical peels use ingredients that break the bonds between dead skin cells, and cause them to slough off without the use of any physical force,” she tells me. “Traditional exfoliators are essentially using manual or physical force to rub off surface dead skin cells. This mechanism is generally too irritating for most people.”

In terms of what body peels can be used for, she says there is a range of common issues the product may help with, including dry skin, slow skin cell regulation, and acne.

Below, Dr. Nazarian breaks down her favorite body peels to treat each concern and help you achieve your smoothest skin yet.

For those experiencing acne on their body, Dr. Nazarian recommends this peel if you're looking to smooth out those bumps. "The active ingredient, trichloroacetic acid, is a commonly used one in dermatology offices," she says. "It’s combined with lactic acid and salicylic acid to resurface dead skin cells and help clear acne and smooth rough skin."

If you're dealing with rough bumps or uneven texture, Dr. Nazarian says the glycolic acid in this peel is ideal for smoothing out the skin on your body. "Although this body chemical peel was designed to treat rough bumps on the arms and legs, it works very well to exfoliate your body and improve texture."

According to Dr. Nazarian, these peels contain two different types of chemical peel ingredients — salicylic acid and glycolic acid — which help "decrease stains and discoloration from previous acne while preventing new breakouts."

All three are great options ... but you know which one I'd choose.