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Vi Peel

Reviewed by SarahK March 15, 2013 28 Comments

Chemical peels can be an ugly venture – ironic because they are undergone in the name of beauty. I associate the ugly side of peels with Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, who was forced to flaunt a chemical peel induced burn, red and raw, just in time for Carrie Bradshaw’s book launch.

Still, I am always interested exploring different types of peels since they often do more good than harm. Personally, I’ve only experienced a glycolic peel one time, about a month ago, when my skin was looking particularly dull. I should have known that one glycolic peel, which is the most gentle peel available, wouldn’t make any noticeable difference to my skin; the process needs to be repeated several times before tangible results ensue.

Recently, I read about something called the Vi Peel, which is supposedly a celebrity favorite because it is relatively painless and there is very little downtime. I found that hard to believe, as the Vi Peel is definitely not a gentle alpha hydroxy acid peel, which is comprised of fruit acids. Instead, Vi Peel consists of a blend of trichloroacetic acid, Retin-A, salicylic acid, phenol and vitamin C. Retin-A is a proven wrinkle fighter, TCA can relieve the skin of fine wrinkles and surface blemishes, salicylic acid is an exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory agent, vitamin C stimulates collagen and battles wrinkles and hyperpigmentation and phenol provides long lasting solutions to major issues such as deep set wrinkles. On their own, Retin-A and TCA are more moderate peels, while phenol is even harsher; improvements after a phenol peel can be dramatic and last many years. But side effects are more likely to occur and are more severe. These include permanent sun sensitivity and permanent de-pigmentation of the skin. The latter is the major reason that dermatologists do not recommend phenol peels for dark-skinned individuals.

Vi Peel, however, claims to be safe for all skin types. Perhaps the particular blend of ingredients lessens the severity of some of the individual ones (like the phenol). That’s the only explanation that can account for the fact that the Vi Peel advertises itself as combining “the strongest and most effective acids” while being “virtually painless” and requiring “little downtime.” That “little downtime” aspect is the best part, in my opinion; according to the Vi Peel website, for the first two days there will be no signs of having had a peel at all. On days three and four the skin will peel but it can be hidden with a moisturizer. By day six or seven the peeling is over and you should see results that include a reduction or elimination of hyperpigmentation (including melasma), smaller pores, minimized wrinkles and an increase in collagen.

While many of the reviews I read online have been positive, almost all of them reiterate the fact that Vi Peel is not nearly as painless as it claims to be. And that the peeling is not insignificant – in fact, it can force you to stay indoors for a good week. There are also several negative reviews I came across, most from people with darker skin who claimed that the peel worsened their hyperpigmentation or scarred them in some way. Overall, though, it seems that the good reviews outweigh the bad ones.

The cost of Vi Peel varies from city to city, ranging anywhere from $150 – $400 per session, with many people claiming they only needed one session to make a lasting difference.

  • April 23, 2017

    by Melanie

    I have had 2 vi peels, one in primary care doctors office and one done at a spa. Please know that for me, this stung tremendously. The first day was fine, no stinging and during the peel application was fine too, no stinging. But by day 2 and 3 it was extremely uncomfortable. 40 years old, white, average skin. Not dark, not light. To say that there is little to no downtime is a total lie. Again, for me, I had a ton of peeling and would have been mortified if I had not taken off of work this week. There was absolutely NO WAY I could have been at work. I looked like a lizard and it was not subtle. i used the towelettes and moisturizers exactly as instructed and did not go outside. I was impressed with the results as I have an odd appearance of hyper-pigmentation/melasma. But, it was nothing that I felt was significant enough to have performed regularly. Plus, it ain't cheap.

    Again, please be warned that little to no downtime was absolutely not my experience. Painless, was not my experience. I do not know anyone else personally that has had one done so perhaps I am the exception to the rule. Just proceed with caution. Knowing that returning to work for me was absolutely not possible without pure embarrassment.

  • April 12, 2017

    by Virginia Chase

    I read about the VI peel and decided to try it. I can tell you first hand that it was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. Second to childbirth. I have a high pain tolerance but this was a true burn and I almost went to the emergency room the second day. I was in abject misery and peeled three times over a two week period. The dryness and tightness were really horrible along with the exquisite burning. It is in no way painless and downtime is real because you would frighten people if they saw you out in public. Also, I do not have sensitive skin. Just normal. Beware!

  • January 13, 2016

    by andreea

    Had the Vipeel yesterday...did not sting, only slightly (level 3). Unlike others, i didnt have need for their soothing cream (which by the way, is cortisone, so yes, initially it will sting as it would any open wound). Nor did i experience issue applying on the spf they game me. I would add that i have been using a light retinol a cream nightly (stopped a week prior to peel) and that tends to prep your skin better. Meaning your skin is used to these type of ingredients so it doesnt react as harshly. (And as a women, depending on the time of the month, your skin could be super sensitive. For me, I cant even get my eyebrows waxed without crying when I am on my cycle. Thus you might not want to get peel around this time. To be safe). I'll report back after the shedding has occurred. But so far, so good. ($300 cost, in santa monica).

  • December 27, 2015

    by Cj

    It's the fourth night after my vi peel. My face is red and tight, but I think most of the peeling is done. The skin protectant does burn a little when it goes on dry skin, but so does water. I washed my face last night, and feel I would have been better off skipping that. Im staying lathered in the skin protectant since it's the approved topical for this process. I also feel more comfortable when my skin is moisturizer; it's only uncomfortable now when it dries out. I can't imagine going bare face at this time, and my skin is still absorbing lots of the skin protectant. I'm about through the tube, and am hoping for more regular skin tomorrow.

  • April 8, 2015

    by everline

    I got my VI Peel online at . I love my results so much! This is an amazing Peel and I recommend it to everyone. It was so easy to do and only $160

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