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I have a healthy respect for retinol. I appreciate what it can do to help reduce wrinkles, but I am also aware of the hazards of overdoing it — particularly for aging, sensitive skin such as mine. When asked to try out the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic and Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel ($88 in the shop), I was cautiously curious. Would it fit in with my current regimen that includes (nèe relies on) DDG’s AHA pads, would the results be worthy of a heavy hitter, and would it be too much for me? The answer is yes, yes and no.
Ferulic and Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peels are designed to be used 2-3 times per week, at night. I have been using the peels twice a week. I have also continued daily use of the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel ($88 in the shop), which means twice week I have been getting to have two peels. Surprisingly this has not proved too much for me. The results have been fantastic (with two caveats that I will come to in a moment). Plump, radiant skin and much-reduced freckles and dark spots. I expect, with continued use, to see diminished fine lines and wrinkles.
The caveats are that this peel does leave my skin a little dry. Using it at night, I initially did not apply a moisturizer afterward as I didn’t want to interfere with the peel’s performance and was interested to see what my morning skin would look like. Well, it looks and feels a little dry. Nothing, however, that can’t be rectified with a slightly richer-than-usual moisturizer. The other is that this is no quick fix. At least there were no overnight results for me. Two weeks in (which would be four peels), I did start to notice a difference, although I wondered if this was mostly just the effect of the daily pads. But now at the end of four weeks, I am convinced that the Ferulic and Retinol Peel is definitely a significantly augmenting factor.
The product comes in the form of saturated pads. To me they have a noticeable whiff of bergamot, which I find pleasant (but then Earl Grey tea is mother’s milk to a woman brought up in England). I rub the pads firmly over the skin as directed, lingering on areas that need the most help (dark spots, lip lines). Before tossing the used pad, I eke out the remaining product on my knees and elbows (thanks, Kim, for that tip!). I did not experience any tingling and certainly no actual peeling.
I think that one of the strengths of this formula is that is so well-balanced with moisturizing ingredients. There’s hydroxyethyl urea (comparable to glycerin, which is also here), squalane and moisture retaining phospholipids and sphingolipids. An interesting ingredient is the botanical extract, rehmannia glutinosa root, which is credited with regulating the growth factor, TGF-beta1, as well as type IV collagen (source). Ferulic acid is an important antioxidant that improves the performance of vitamins
There are a few ingredients that I would prefer to do without, including benzoic acid, a pH balancer, preservative and potential irritant, the possible carcinogens BHT and sodium benzoate. These aside, I would recommend Ferulic and Retinol Peel to anyone looking to give their anti-aging regimen a serious boost.