Exfoliating Charcoal Mask 1.7oz ; Collagen Boosting Micro Peel 0.5oz ; Protective Barrier Cream 0.5oz

Towards the end of last year, Francine Porter of Osmotics sent me a brand new product ahead of its actual launch (this month), Micro Peel Skin Resurfacing System ($86). I have been using it ever since and it is terrific. It says on the box that it visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles – and it does.

I have to admit that when I first approached it, I was trepidatious. My sensitive skin flushes at the very word “peel.” And three-part kits portend hard work. But my fears were unfounded. Micro Peel Skin Resurfacing System is gentle enough for me to use it every day and it’s easy and enjoyable to use.

The three steps start with the Exfoliating Charcoal Mask. This black gel has a pleasant fruity smell that reminds me of blackberries. Charcoal is cleansing, helps to remove toxins and can desensitize irritated skin. Also helpful for unhappy, inflamed or chapped skin is white oak bark (Quercus Alba). It is rounded out by plenty of herbal extracts, including thyme and mint.

The charcoal mask is rinsed off after a few minutes and the next step is to apply the Collagen Boosting Micro Peel. Although the main point here are the exfoliating AHAs, I was extremely intrigued by some of the extracts. Spondias mombin pulp extract is new to me, although I have now discovered that it is a staple of Murad products. Back in the day, it was used to treat leprosy and is rich in potassium and calcium.  Impressive is plantain, which studies show has an antioxidant effect four times stronger than vitamin C. There’s also mango, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as well as cactus pear.

After giving the Micro Peel a few moments to absorb, the final step is to layer on the Protective Barrier Cream. This has another unusual botanical, mad dog weed, or European water plantain, which has been shown to inhibit allergic reactions.

Some of you will have noticed that my roll-call of ingredients is selective and I haven’t mentioned that there’s the odd filler in the form of wax, thickening agents or silicone. And there’s the preservative phenoxyethanol. Well, Osmotics never formulates for purists, but it does aim for efficacy. With Micro Peel Skin Resurfacing System, it has achieved that. It’s making great inroads on my lip lines. The idea is to use the kit for four weeks and then every three months. I will certainly be going back to it.

Ingredients in Exfoliating Charcoal Mask: Water, Glycerin, Mannan, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Emulsifying Wax NF, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Charcoal, Saccharide Isomerate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Extract, Arctium Lappa Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Extract, Salvia Officinalis Extract, Quercus Alba Extract, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Oil, Peppermint Oil, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine

Ingredients in Collagen Boosting Micro Peel: Water, Cyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Spondias Mombin Pulp Extract, Mangifera Indica Pulp Extract, Musa Sapientum Pulp Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus Indica Flower Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Emulsifying Wax NF, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Sodium Carboxymethyl BetaGlucan, PPG-12, SMDI Copolymer, Lauramidoyl Inulin, Xanthan Gum, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Ingredients in Protective Barrier Cream: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Emulsifying Wax NF, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alisma Plantago-Aquatica Extract, Glycerin, Ceramide, Dimethicone, Cholesterol, Ergothioneine, Saccharide Isomerate, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine