There’s no denying that skin peels yield serious glow. The problem is knowing which type will suit your skin – and, let’s be honest – there’s often a little bit of fear around how your skin will react. Redness, flakiness and sensitivity are often unfortunate bedfellows of the peeling process. In a bid to nix this pain point, Dermalogica has just launched their new Pro Power Peel – a fully customisable professional treatment that can be tailored to your skin type, and is buildable according to how you feel on the day. We decided to test it out on each of our different skin textures to see just how customisable it really is… read on to see our verdict.
SIGOURNEY CANTELO, EDITOR AND FOUNDER, SKIN TYPE: DULL/AGEING
Aware that my skin’s cell turnover is considerably slower than that of the other girls on my team (in your twenties it takes about 20 days for a new skin cell to rise to the top; as you age, that slows to 30 days) so it’s clear that I’m going to need all the help I can get. Under the ‘skin concerns’ section on my pre-peel treatment form I write AGEING AND DULLNESS in capitals and underline it twice. My therapist, Britt, smiles sympathetically and leads me through to the treatment room. She knows my kind. Acid junkies are a dime a dozen in the 35-plus market. We lived through the first wave of glycolic peels in the nineties (the ones that left you looking like SATC’s Samantha) and never quite recovered. Even though I should know better, my instinctive reaction is to err on the side of burn. If I’m not shedding like a snake then it probably didn’t do anything. However, when I sit down with Dermalogica’s Head of Education Emma Hobson, she explains that peels have come a long way in recent years. “Previously you had the very strong doctor’s peels, which could only be administered by doctors; but they were quite invasive,” she explains. “Whereas now they can formulate these peels that you can get some fabulous results with, using some great ingredients, in a short period of time, without the traumatic down periods that peels used to have.” Music to my ears as I totally forgot, when booking this peel, that I have an event tonight and a photoshoot in two days time. Britt reassures me: “We’ll go easy, I can customise your peel, and judge how your skin is responding with each layer,” she says soothingly before painting on the first coat – the UltraBright peel. It barely touches the sides. The next layer she applies is the AdvancedRenewal which contains glycolic acid to help minimise those pesky lines. This one is a little tickly but nothing unbearable. I know it’s doing its job, and after a super relaxing facial massage, I take a look in the mirror and can see that it has, too. The best part? I had no redness, no peeling, no downtime – nada! Only gorgeous glowy radiance and high-beam cheekbones. With minimal recovery and compliment-getting results, I’ll take this kind of peel any day of the week.
TESS SCHLINK, EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, SKIN TYPE: NORMAL/DEHYDRATED
The day of my peel, my skin and I were in dire need of some TLC – hormonal, super-dehydrated and suffering from a late-winter cold. My therapist Britt (whose glowing skin from her peel the week before got me excited for similar results) assessed my skin to pinpoint the concerns she wanted to address, and decided on two different acid peels: the PowerClear peel (using salicylic acid to decongest and prevent breakouts) and the UltraBright peel (where lactic acid helps to hydrate the complexion). I was nervous that it would be painful (but hey, no pain, no gain, right?), but beyond a little tingling and warmth, it was barely noticeable. She then went back in with the PowerClear peel to spot treat blemishes, following with a neutralising solution to restore the skin’s pH to normal levels. After a quick spritz of the UltraCalming Mist (my secret weapon to soothing skin post-peel), she popped on the Hyaluronic Acid IonActive Serum and a red LED light, to deeply hydrate and stimulate skin renewal for even more glow. After the treatment, my skin was already noticeably clearer and more radiant – a little flaking around the chin in the days that followed, but it disappeared pretty quickly. A week in, and my skin is better than it has been in months – even Sig (who knows good skin) complimented me on how nice it was looking at the moment. I’m sold.
MARINA GAINULINA, BEAUTY WRITER, SKIN TYPE: COMBINATION
With spring right around the corner, it was definitely time to ramp-up my, – I confess – rather lazy winter skincare routine. Safe to say I was equal parts excited and nervous for to try Dermalogica’s latest in-store offering, seeing as it’s one of the few brands that never causes a bad reaction on my super temperamental visage. Brittany, my therapist, began with a quick face-map to determine the concerns – and boy, were there a few. Dehydrated forehead and cheeks, oily t-zone, hormonal breakouts on chin – you name it, I’ve had it.
The procedure commenced with a double cleanse (a little trick that really makes a difference), followed by removal of any natural oil, in order for the peel to penetrate the epidermis layers most effectively. We then proceeded with the acid peels – with the Face Map as reference, Britt choose two to target my individual skin concerns. The first was the PowerClear peel to fight congestion and hormonal breakouts. A second, Ultra Bright peel was applied to the cheeks and forehead, targeting dehydration and hyperpigmentation. Surprisingly there was no pain, just a slight stinging and warmth that was more than bearable. The acid was left on the skin for just a few minutes, followed by a neutraliser and a sneaky bit of red LED. Post-facial? I was a happy gal – my often reactive skin was clear, bright and glowy. I had the option of applying makeup straight after but decided to go without for the rest of the day. A week later and the texture is smooth and my notorious hormonal breakouts didn’t read their ugly head (pun intended) – a win in my books!
MOLLY GAY, FEATURES EDITOR, SKIN TYPE: SENSITIVE AND PRONE TO BREAKOUTS
Confession time. Despite my months immersed in the beauty world, this was my first chemical peel. The lead up was quite nerve-wracking, due to the fear of the unknown and horrific tales of treatments gone awry. It also didn’t help that, en route to the treatment, my husband pleaded that I wouldn’t come back looking like an extra from a horror film, like the girls from the post-peel horror stories he’d heard. Thanks, babes. All worries were put to ease upon arriving at Dermalogica. Britt, my therapist, reviewed the questionnaire we filled out and assessed my skin type, concerns, and goals. As someone with the worst skin type in the world – sensitive AND prone to breakouts – I was convinced that she would take one look, deem me unfixable and administer whatever house peel was on hand (is that a thing?). Contrary to my dramatic and unwarranted assumptions, the exact opposite occurred. The trickiest of skin types was no match for their mix-and-match peel system. To address the overall dullness that is often associated with a long winter hibernation, she applied the UltraBright Peel, which targets the appearance of dullness and ageing with a high concentration of lactic acid. A few minutes later I was a little disappointed and relieved to think that the treatment would soon be over. I had to contain both my excitement and internal panic when she proclaimed that the next layer would be the PowerClear Peel (a salicylic, mandelic, and malic acid powerhouse mixture) to my breakout-prone jawline. I’m sorry, another layer of acid? Didn’t she know I wasn’t going for the ‘Third-Degree Burn’ look? After the application, she asked how it felt and, to my surprise, everything was okay. In fact, it was better than ok, it was downright painless. Throughout the entire treatment, the most obvious sensations were slight tingling a bit of warmth on sensitive areas, like under the nostrils and cheeks. Despite the sensations, my skin looked positively radiant and without a trace of inflammation or redness. My skin actually looked so good that I taught a Barre class just hours after receiving the peel and got a collective compliment from the class about how I was glowing. With maximum results and minimal downtime, this peel is officially my go-to treatment.