Peels are pretty much my go-to answer for every skin issue. Breakouts? Yep. Uneven texture? Duh. First signs of wrinkles? You bet. Dark spots and scars? Uh huh. Dullness? Of course. It's all about finding the right combination of acids to slough away dead skin and promote cell turnover without causing irritation (physical exfoliants, GTFO!). And you know what? The Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel — an updated (as of a few years ago) take on the brand's original peel — takes all of the guesswork out. The two-step system offers up a blend of seven (!) different acids to help remedy every issue listed above, and then some.
Dr. Dennis Gross is often regarded as the brand that started the peel phenomenon to begin with, and his OG Alpha Beta Peel set the standard for what at-home chemical exfoliation could accomplish. I had used it (and loved it) in the past, but being a beauty editor constantly bombarded with the Next Big Thing makes even treasured beauty product relationships somewhat fleeting. Then I recently re-encountered this updated version, and my devotion has been renewed.
It's super simple to use: Start with step one, an individually wrapped towelette that comes pre-soaked with the peel liquid (which includes glycolic acid, witch hazel, salicylic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, malic acid, citric acid and willow bark extract, among other skin-saving ingredients). Sweep it over your face (I do my neck, too) in circular motions until the pad feels mostly dry, which should take around 60 seconds. Then you wait for two minutes — use the time for a quick Instagram scroll, a late-night snack, needless pacing around your apartment — and go in with step two, also a pre-soaked towelette (this formula contains a mix of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals — resveratrol, retinol, vitamin C, copper, zinc, etc. — for a potent anti-aging treatment). Again, massage it around until the pad feels dry, then wait a few more minutes for your face to feel dry before going in with the rest of your skin-care routine. If this sounds lengthy or complicated to you, I'll spare you from the many, many steps in my nightly complexion ritual.
I've been using the peel once a night for the last few weeks, even while traveling (shout-out to the super convenient and portable packaging!), and it's gone a long way toward calming some weird breakouts I had creeping up. I've also noticed an overall smoother, brighter, glow-ier complexion, and it seems that the rest of my serums and moisturizers are being better absorbed into my skin, which makes sense because that's what exfoliation does.
I don't know why I ever quit you in the first place, Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel, but I'm glad to have you back in my life.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, $16 for five treatments, available at Sephora.
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