Here’s something they teach in marketing school: Products that play to people’s insecurities tend to be successful. Of course those products have to work—plus, beautiful branding and digital community building go a long way, too; this is the recipe for success behind Peace Out Skincare. The beautiful (check), much buzzed about (check), and effective (check) products all target individual things that are universally disliked: acne, wrinkles, dull skin, dark spots, puffy eyes, large pores, and more.
Each product label essentially says “Peace Out” to each problem at hand—Peace Out Pores, Peace Out Wrinkles, Peace Out Acne—and gives customers a sticky one-step solution, be it a remedial patch, a sticky-dot, or a strip. (Though the brand has pads, serums, balms, and applicator sticks, too.) And besides correcting these concerns with ingredients like AHAs, BHA, PHA, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, Peace Out is an expert in branding. That cheeky peace sign over big block text, bidding adieu to our biggest insecurities… no wonder it’s a hit across social channels. The brand has pushed more than 35 million sales of its hero-product acne dots, making it the #1 acne brand at Sephora.
PEACE OUT SKINCARE
FOUNDED: In 2017, by Enrico Frezza
BASED IN: San Francisco
PRICING: $$ (most products are $19 to $34)
BEST KNOWN FOR: Topical solutions (often dots or patches) for everyday skincare concerns, from acne to wrinkles to puffy eyes.
MOST POPULAR PRODUCT: Acne Dots
FUN FACT: Italian-born founder Enrico Frezza worked in cybersecurity before starting Peace Out Skincare.
OTHER BRANDS YOU’LL LOVE: ZitSticka, Starface, SLMD Skincare
Founder Enrico Frezza was plagued by acne problems his whole life, and when he founded the company in 2017, he used his own face as the Peace Out guinea pig. “I tried everything on the market but nothing worked, so I started making my own solutions, and I learned about hydrocolloid dressing, a material used to heal wounds in hospitals,” he says. “When fortified with active ingredients, this dressing helped to heal my acne overnight, if not sooner.” Frezza mixed and matched a variety of topical ingredients, often burning away his skin in the pursuit of the right formula. (“I’m a hacker at heart!” he notes.)
But that magical recipe wasn’t enough to convince the labs and factories to work with him on the final product. “No one had done what I was trying to do before, and no one thought it could be done,” he says. So, while he was doing the research for a medical patent on the product, Frezza located a lab that was working with hydrocolloid dressing just 15 miles from his house. That was the lab that helped him bring the dots to market—and the rest is history.
Frezza then built an eye-catching, social-media-savvy brand, primarily targeting young people who were experiencing acne in high numbers. Since inception, however, he’s been able to reach wider audiences with products like wrinkle patches and puffy eye pads. But it’s that TikTok crowd that has always had the brand’s back: “Over 18,000 people purchased our Pore Strips in one day because of one TikTok [push],” he says. “Our customer is mobile and digital savvy, so that gives us a few fun ways to get our skincare in front of them.”
And that ingenious name and deuces logo? It was a lightning-bolt moment of inspiration that struck Frezza one night near the beginning of the process: “I checked the trademark and domain, and no one had it, so we immediately scooped it up. We wanted our logo and packaging to pop and stand out among the many other brands at Sephora, so we knew we needed bold imagery, strong graphics, fun names, and catchy colors.”
Effective ingredients and products go a long way too, especially in Peace Out’s case. Read on for my favorite Peace Out Skincare products—which have drastically helped my acne-prone, age-tested, puffy-eyed face.
Peace Out Acne Dots
The product that started it all. Peace Out’s 35 million-plus sales behemoth is… these tiny hydrocolloid patches. Stick ’em over your blemish and let the salicylic acid seep into the skin overnight to dissolve the gunk and trapped skin. I especially like that they’re discreet—they are not completely invisible but they are translucent, so they won’t call attention to themselves if I run errands while patched, even though I prefer the overnight approach. Each pack contains 20 dime-sized dots, which should tide you over for a few months (or more, if you regularly utilize the brand’s other products).
Peace Out Acne Serum
While it also makes for a good spot treatment, this 2% salicylic acid serum works on acne-prone skin as a preventive measure against breakouts. I suggest using it in the evening, so the salicylic acid can work unencumbered to clean pores while you sleep. (The brand suggests twice-daily use, which is fine, but salicylic acid and other exfoliants tend to do a number on the skin, even in gentler formulas like this, so I prefer an evening dosage.) I even like using it on my shoulders, to prevent breakouts there, too.
Peace Out Dark Spots
If you’ve got a dark sun spot or an acne scar that takes months to heal, well, then you’ll kick yourself for not applying these patches sooner. It deploys complexion-toning niacinamide and skin-brightening tranexamic acid through 430 tiny, imperceivable microneedles (it feels like you’re sticking a Band-aid or sticker to your skin). Like the acne patches, it is best worn overnight for maximum efficacy. Note that these aren’t going to be as much of an “overnight miracle worker” like the dots, since the dark marks often needs weeks or months of cellular turnover to disappear themselves. That being said, this expedites the process significantly by plugging these ingredients directly into the offending spot.
Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick
Think of all the ways retinol helps improve your skin: It reduces and stalls fine lines and wrinkles, it strengthens the skin barrier, it prevents blemishes, and it brightens dull skin. Now apply all of those benefits (literally) each night with this eye stick. But remember to be patient, because retinol plays a long game: After a few months, you’ll have visibly more alert, bright, and firm skin around the eyes. It’s also packed with peptides and squalane to promote resilience and firmness in the eyes, and to keep those undereye fat deposits from sagging down into eye-puffing territory.
Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene. It is a lipid that is naturally found in the skin and secreted by the sebaceous glands. It calms inflammation, supports the outer skin barrier, and works well with actives like retinol.
Peace Out Blemish Balm
If you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin, then Peace Out might become your favorite cleanser. This balm is enriched with salicylic acid to help unclog pores while it cleans surface grime. It comes in solid form with a tiny spoon to help shave out a sliver. Next, work it into a lather in your hands, and massage into the skin. I like letting it set for 30 seconds, so that all of the ingredients can shine (in addition to salicylic acid, it’s got moisture-binding hyaluronic acid, skin-firming amino acids, and complexion-smoothing niacinamide).
Peace Out Dullness Pads
These double-sided wiping pads help resurface your brightest, most youthful cells (by dissolving all the dead ones, that is). They are loaded with all three types of exfoliating acids—AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs; seven in total—as well as niacinamide to help smooth and tone complexion. These are absolutely a pre-bedtime application, done on freshly cleansed skin that doesn’t need to face the public in the next eight hours. That’s not saying they’re going to melt your face; far from it. However, anything with a peeling effect like this—mild, even—needs a good night’s sleep to maximize the recovery. Luckily, the backside of the pads works to soothe and hydrate skin (hello, aloe, plankton extract, and hyaluronic acid), so you know you’ll wake up looking more alert, thanks to those freshly surfaced skin cells.
Peace Out Wrinkle Patches
These are the microneedle patch version of the retinol eye stick: They contain retinol, peptides, and (in this case) vitamin C, which all work in tandem to firm and brighten the skin. You’ll wear them overnight on the more problematic areas, when the skin is feeling especially loose and less resilient. (Pair these periodic boosters with a steady nightly treatment of topical retinol, in order to build a long-term defense against photo-aging.)
Peace Out Pore Strips
From blackheads to enlarged pores, these hydrocolloid strips extract excess oil from the pores, along with dead skin cells that could later cause clogging. They contain vitamin A as well as the compound DMAE, both of which reduce the appearance of pores. You can use the flexible nose strip or the rectangular patch to disappear blackheads, to reduce pore size in more oily areas, and to prevent breakouts altogether. Wear ’em overnight for maximum benefits.
Peace Out Puffy Eye Patches
While the retinol eye stick is best for long-term firmness and brightness, these depuffing and brightening patches deliver more immediate benefits. I suggest storing them in the fridge to help magnify the circulation boost come morning. Apply them to freshly cleansed skin for approximately 15 minutes (in the morning, or before an important event). The caffeine will help stir up circulation in the area to quickly reduce puffiness, while niacinamide brightens dark circles. With hyaluronic acid in tow, the patches also attract moisture from the air (on a warm, humid day, or in a steamy bathroom) to quickly firm and plump the area. Again, think of the eye stick as a nightly step, and this (along with the wrinkle patches) should be deployed as needed, when problems arise.
Peace Out Acne Champs Regimen
I’d be remiss not to draw attention to Peace Out’s bundles, which combine any two or three products from the brand’s assortment. The bundles help tackle multiple related problems, or deliver a more concentrated, thorough assault on the task at hand, like acne. This Acne Champs set includes mini versions of the acne serum and blemish balm, as well as a 10-pack of acne dots for when those pimples do make it past the initial defense (inevitably our hormones make this so, albeit in far fewer numbers and less frequency than when you weren’t using Peace Out). It’s a great introduction to the brand, or a perfectly prescriptive (albeit passive aggressive) gift for your acne-prone friend. (See also the brand’s Jet Setting, Clear Skin, and Anti-Aging All Stars packs, too.)