At Home Chemical Exfoliator - Brighter, Softer, Healthier Skin

Recently, I've been hearing a lot about peels and chemical exfoliators. You may be familiar with glycolic acid in the form of a chemical peel. Glycolic acid is valued for its ability to penetrate the skin (which is not easy). There are currently many serums, peels, masks, and exfoliators on the market that claim to "brighten" and "renew" the skin and they do this with the use of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is an a-hydroxy acid (seen as AHA on many skincare products) that when applied to skin, it reacts with the epidermis (upper layer of our skin) to weaken the bonds of the lipids that hold dead skin cells together. To simplify, it loosens dead skin cells allowing the healthier skin underneath to be exposed. What does this mean for you? Brighter, softer, and healthier skin.

Now that we've covered the basic science of it, lets get to the DIY! Glycolic acid occurs naturally in sugarcane (also some fruits). To make your own glycolic mask at home, all you need is sugar and a lemon. (Note: I recommend doing this mask at night because lemon can bleach your skin when it is exposed to sunlight).

What do I need?
  • Sugar
  • Lemon
What do I do?
  • Take about 1 tablespoon of sugar and place it in a small glass bowl
  • Add the juice of half a lemon to form a paste. If the mixture is too thick, add more lemon juice, and if it is too thin, add more sugar.
  • Next, you want to place the mixture on your skin in small gentle circles. This is a manual exfoliator and a chemical exfoliator in one. Based on my understanding, the lemon helps isolate the glycolic acid in the sugar.
  • Once you have applied the mixture, allow it to sit on your skin for 10 minutes. Allow this time for the glycolic acid to work into your skin and break down the dead skin cells.
  • When 10 minutes is up, wet your hands in lukewarm water and in gentle circular motions, massage your skin. This is the manual exfoliation that will help remove those broken up dead skin cells. Then simply rinse off the mixture with warm water and pat your skin dry.
  • Apply your moisturizer as usual.

I used this mask for the first time last night and I clearly notice a difference in the softness of my skin. Immediately after removing it, my skin was much softer and smoother (and I feel like I noticed some brightness too). This is a mask that helps with consistent use. Because glycolic acid penetrates the skin, it can help reduce previous scarring.

Have you ever tried this mask? Would you like to? Do you use any chemical exfoliators/serums/masks? 

I can't wait to use this mask again!


  1. I've always been wary of using a chemical exfoliator by myself because I can never be too sure of how my skin would react. But seeing how the ingredients are all-natural and can be found in practically any household, I'm willing to give it a try. :) I hope it works for me as well as it has for you. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your comment Lori! Let me know how it worked for you if you ended up giving it a shot! This is definitely a mask you want to use sparingly and not too frequently so that it isn't damaging, but I definitely enjoyed it. I would love to hear your thoughts!