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Today we're talking about a cult product from Dr Dennis Gross - the peel pads come in three iterations so let's dive into the ingredients, how to use them and which might be right for you...
The Dr Dennis Gross multi-acid peel is a two-step system: they come individually-wrapped with the first step exfoliating the skin, then you wait a couple of minutes before going in with the second pre-soaked towel which is a neutralising step (plus it contains some other actives). I know this is billed as a daily treatment, but I personally don't do this; a) because it seems kind of wasteful to use a single-use product every single day, and b) I just don't find that with my current skincare routine that I need to exfoliate daily, and c) these aren't cheap! We will get into how often I recommend using each of these strengths specifically, but I feel 3-4 times a week is plenty when it comes to exfoliation. I particularly like these for travel because if I'm away for a week, I can save on my space and liquids by just packing as many as I'll use during the time I'm gone.
We're actually going to start with the OG: the Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel* | £19 (for 50 or £89 (for 30). This is formulated with a cocktail of acids: glycolic, salicylic, lactic and malic, plus copper and zinc PCA to soothe the skin. Glycolic and lactic are AHAs, meaning they're water-soluble. Glycolic is great for brightening the skin, but can be a little irritating for some people. Lactic also has a brightening benefit, it's great for resurfacing the skin and it's a little gentler and more hydrating. Salicylic acid is a BHA, so is oil-soluble and can get into the pores to help improve breakouts; preventing future spots, reducing the inflammation of existing ones and helping to stop them from scarring once they heal. Malic generally acts as an overall booster for the other acids in a formula. Your second step contains more of the same soothing ingredients alongside some actives: there's retinol, retinyl palmitate, ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate. Retinol is, of course, your Vitamin A and well-ageing best friend, because it has the ability to reverse signs of photoageing in the skin. Retinyl palmitate is an ester of it that's gentler but still beneficial. Ascorbic Acid is pure-form Vitamin C, which is often a pain to stabilise but can boost collagen production in the skin, provide antioxidant benefits (protecting the skin from free radical damage) and improve uneven skin tone. It's stabilised with Vitamin E and Ascorbyl Palmitate is a derivative that's not great on its own but can help boost the effectiveness of the pure form Vitamin C. We also have powerful antioxidants in resveratrol and Q10. As this is so packed full of actives, I really recommend keeping things simple for the rest of your routine and make your goal supporting the skin barrier. I personally love this peel when my skin needs a quick pick-me-up; of course it takes time to observe the improved texture and more even skin tone, but you get an immediate satisfaction of baby-soft skin that glows. I would use this 2-3 times a week.
The Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel* | £19 (for 50 or £89 (for 30) | was actually the first of the three iterations I tried. Looking at the exfoliating step of this product, we have pretty much the same stuff at a higher concentration. But we also have mandelic acid, one of my absolute favourite exfoliants; it's a gentle AHA with a large molecular size that has antibacterial benefits (so it's great if you're prone to breakouts) and is great for treating hyperpigmentation. there's also willow bark extract which is a kind of precursor to salicylic acid, so you're getting a little bit more on the BHA front too. I would recommend this option for those with mature skin who just need that extra bit of punch or if you only want to use your peel once a week and prioritise other actives in your routine the rest of the time (for example, if you use tretinoin and don't want to take more than one night a week off from it). Then you have the same neutraliser in here. If you have sensitive skin, I'd say this isn't for you, but it doesn't irritate my skin personally and it's what I reach for the night before a big event when I want my skin to look its absolute best!
Finally there's the Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel* | £89 (for 30). This is your only glycolic-free option, if you find your skin doesn't love that ingredient (it's the exfoliant with the greatest potential for irritating the skin). It's formulated with lactic and mandelic alongside willow bark extract, so it's great if you have dry skin but perhaps not the best if you're very breakout-prone because you're not getting that proper hit of salicylic acid. This one doesn't contain fragrance, unlike the other two options (if that bothers you) but does contain some plant extracts that could be irritating for some people. You're still getting soothing Sodium and Zinc PCA in your neutraliser, alongside the Q10 and resveratrol, but the Retinol and Ascorbic Acid are dropped out, with only the derivatives included. Then we have colloidal oatmeal to soothe redness and centella asiatica to calm the skin, so you're getting a little something extra for the skin barrier. I personally use these 3-4 times a week and they're my top pick of the bunch because they give me smoother, more radiant skin whilst being very gentle and (as an advanced skincare user) I do feel comfortable using these alongside other actives I want to use in my routine.
I really hope this was helpful? Have you ever tried these cult peel pads?
Read more posts from this series here!