“Right off the menu from Dr. Dennis Gross’ NYC practice” is Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel ($110 in the shop), a weekly at-home peel with 15 different acids and a serum. Having had an office peel at Dr Gross’ office a few months ago, I am impressed by how much Medi-Spa manages to replicate the experience — and the effects. Daily use of the Alpha Beta Peel along with this weekly treatment seems to be responsible for my best complexion ever.
Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel is a two-step process that starts with the swipe of a pad saturated with 15 acids and some antioxidants. The pads come in a round tub and, unlike the packette-wrapped daily wipes, are thick and a little rough textured. There is a definite tingle when I use it, particularly on my cheeks. However, the subsequent rosy flush subsides very quickly and I would say that, despite my sensitive skin, the product is not irritating.
The acids are mostly the common alpha hydroxies, such as glycolic, lactic, citric and malic, with a couple of less usual ones that I’ll give a shout out to. Pyruvic acid is actually in our muscles and, with sufficient oxygen, releases energy. With insufficient oxygen, it converts into lactic acid and is responsible for “the burn” in over-exercised muscles (always makes me think of those Jane Fonda tapes). Apparently, in a peel it works synergistically with other acids, metabolizing to stimulate collagen and soothe.
There’s also gallic acid, an antioxidant from blueberries that is an effective skin lightener (source) and there is convincing evidence that it prevents UVB damage, decreases dryness and wrinkle formation. Ellagic acid is another antioxidant that actually prevents collagen destruction (source) and may even prevent hyperpigmentation (source).
While there are plenty of other things to like (clove, papaya, grape and green tea), eyebrows may be raised by the dominance of alcohol in the formula. Actually, on the subject of SD Alcohol 40-B, Futurederm has a good article and explains its benefits in skincare formulas in that it shrinks the volume of the solution and makes the actives more concentrated.
After about three minutes, the Firming Peptide Milk should be applied. This is a light lotion that I assumed was simply a neutralizing agent for the step 1 peel. However, it is way much more than that and with its peptide, vitamin C, amino acids and antioxidants, negates the need for another serum on my Medi-Spa days. As well as collagen builders, there are ingredients that hydrate (phospholipids, sodium hyaluronate) and soothe (arnica), both of which are important after a peel.
I like the use of hydroxypinacolone retinoate. The cosmetic ester of all-transretinoic acid and, unlike retinol esters, does not require metabolic conversion to be in the preferred active form for interacting with retinoic RAR receptors to obtain benefits of vitamin A. It is meant to be much less irritating than standard retinols.
This is not formulated for purists and there are a few unwanted ingredients such as the irritant octyldodecanol in the serum and potassium hydroxide. And, of course, there are the usual suspects in the preservative department. But the good far, far outweighs the bad and, in any case, with the daily and weekly peel regimen from DDG, my skin (smoother, glowing, plumper) has never looked better in my opinion.