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Vi Peel

March 15, 2013 Reviewed by admin 33 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.

  • March 16, 2018

    by Kelly

    I have had 3 VI Peels and it is by far my favorite skin treatment as all. The application did not hurt AT ALL, and I have had amazing results each time! I will continue getting these a few times a year!

  • February 25, 2018

    by DCS

    I actually wondered if mine worked since it did not start to peel until Day 4. Those first 2 nights with the packets sting. However, I just took some mild pain reliever and it helped me sleep. I just keep putting on the anti itch cream and vaseline. To me, the worst thing is not being able to take long hot baths and get out. However, it was my choice and the results are nice.

  • September 8, 2017

    by Abby

    I am 42 with melasmia. I just had my first vi peel. The first day I looked like I had a bad spray tan. I wouldn't recommend going anywhere after. Day 2 I looked shiny but my skin was great & you can go about your normal day. Day 3 I'm peeling pretty major. I would take day 3 & 4 off work for sure. All in all its great so far. No painful more like annoying.. but will be totally worth it!

  • July 14, 2017

    by Shelby

    If you don't mind looking like raw hamburger meat for 4-5 days this peel consistently delivers measurable & significant results. You really need to block out 7 days for the extreme redness/hairline flaking etc to subside. I've had the (regular) VI peel every year for about 5 years and then decided I would try the "Plus" (off ebay) which is a % more product or stronger or both but WHOA was that ever a mistake. I ended up at quick care begging for something to stop the burning. The Dr said "its a chemical burn" uhhhmmm .......well yea - captain obvi (men dont get it) He said to let it run its course like a sunburn. It was nothing short of excruciating a full 2 days (day 4&5) my jawline felt like it was going to literally split wide open +I was terrified it would scar b/c the peeling was 10x more severe with the "plus" soooo, just a heads up. My advice is stick with the regular! Resist helping the peeling along and be patient +/- 1 week! SPF after that!!

  • May 8, 2017

    by Kassie

    Two peels one done professionally and one by me after purchasing on line. I was told by the professional that did my first peel that it helps with melasma. She did not use the VI Peel with Precision Plus, however, which I purchased after doing some research. They aren't painless but not bad. The cream and sunscreen with the kit sting on raw areas. I apply aquaphore to areas that are painful. It also helps relieve tightness. My melasma is still there (maybe lighter) and I plan to repeat every six weeks to see if I can fade it further.

  • 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

  • March 31, 2015

    by eve

    I bought my VI Peel online for $169 at . I had it done once at a spa and saw that it was super super so after my friend bought one and did it herself I did as well. I loved the results. I almost feel the one I did myself worked better. I will diffidently do another one later this year.

  • March 13, 2015

    by Jenn

    Had the VI peel done 34 hours ago and the shedding has begun tons around my mouth and chin and nose can't wait for the rest, new skin is a bit pink and tender and all moisturizers burn that they gave me so I have gone to my good ole stand by for everything EMU oil its a god send. Can't wait to see the rest, I have good skin anyways but I'm rapidly approaching 50 and my new skin looks 20 no joke, money well spent.....done side it ain't for is pain as my mother always said...and seriously give yourself 6 days and don't go out doors if it can be avoided when I do I carry an umbrella.

  • January 5, 2015

    by Virginia

    OMgosh...I had the VI Peel done on Friday and it is now Monday evening. Without question it has been one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. I have a high threshold for pain and yet this set me over the edge. I followed the directions to the letter and have been in unrelenting burning, soreness and pain for four days. The peeling started just as I was told on day three, but the pain and soreness was from day one. least when I was in labor I had a minute of no pain before the next contraction...not so with this intense burn. Hope it will be worth it.

  • November 19, 2014

    by Kathryn

    I had the VI peel and the improvement in my skin was obvious. I'm having another one in a week or so. I have large pores and I'm seeing signs of aging as I am 54 now. But I'm getting compliments on my skin now. I'm doing everything so I don't have to have plastic surgery and this is one of the things I'm doing as well as juvederm, hair highlights, etc.,

    The VI Peel is worth it.

  • October 9, 2014

    by Lisa

    I had the peel done yesterday evening. The smell of the phenol was terrible but other than that it was ok. No pain at all. Washed it off this morning, was told it was ok to sleep in it. Used my first towelette this morning and other than being a little pink I was fine for a few hours. Then the itching began, the itching is terrible. When I get home from work I can wash my face and use the cortisone cream.....I hope it relieves some off the itching!!

  • September 24, 2014

    by Elaine

    I had my Vi peel 2 days ago. I had it done late in the evening and found it very hard to sleep the 1st night, my skin was painful as well as itchy, had to keep slapping myself in the face to ease it lol. Couldn't wait to start using the moisturiser which I found a great relief. My skin felt tight even after using the moisturiser and the 50+ sunscreen. I live in Darwin, Australia so a hat outside was not an option and I was too scared not to wear one as I have had bad sunburn previously and did not want to have that feeling again. Day 2 and my skin is starting to peel mainly around my chin, lips and nose. My lips are very dry also. Having read the previous posts, can't wait to start getting compliments about my skin as I too am over 55 and also post-menopausal so I have a lot against me. At first I thought I wouldn't go through this again, but I hope the initial discomfort will be worth the results

  • August 5, 2014

    by Marnett

    I am on day four of my first peel and I plan to follow up with another! My face is more than tingly, but the follow-up cream is helping. I'm going to try the vaseline...LOL. My sister did this a year ago and the results were amazing. This is not a pretty process, but I cautiously belive that I am already seeing results.

  • July 24, 2014

    by 57

    I have had 2 VI Precision Peels and I love them. First 2 days no peeling. Heavy peeling for 3 days and then it was done. My first time using I had some discomfort for 2 days...the cortisone cream provided in the kit actually burned my face more and it was not soothing. The second time I did the peel I didn't have much discomfort at all. I don't know if it was because maybe my skin was desensitized to the peel after the 1st time or if it was because I used Vaseline instead of the cortisone cream. The Vaseline did not interfere with the peeling relieved the tight sensation and most importantly, it didn't increase discomfort. Looking forward to my next peel this fall!

  • March 27, 2014

    by Vanessa

    Shelly, where did you buy this online? Went to website they didn't have it. Thank you Vanessa

  • February 1, 2014

    by Heather

    I had the Vi Peel done on Wednesday (1/29/14). It wasn't too bad at first but then it itched so bad after an hour. I couldn't scratch or even touch my face for 4 hours so I was excited to wash it off and use the towelette!! It's now Saturday (2/1/24) and today is the first day that I'm not in pain. I know everyone reacts differently but omg! I was in agony! Constant burning, and the tingly feeling was like needles poking my skin. Couldn't sleep the first night, slept a little the 2nd. All the while using the cream they gave me and moisturizing almost every hour to try and help. Didn't help! My face got a little swollen but not much redness at all. My lips are horribly chapped and have been flaking this entire time. Pretty raw feeling. I finally started peeling today and it's ugly lol. I hope this pain wasn't for nothing and it works. From what has peeled off - I see no difference. Oh and I knew dark spots were probably going to form on my skin since the impurities are flushed out by the Vi Peel, but some of these spots are raised up like moles! What's that about?? Hope they go away. So far I'm regretting this but I'm still not done peeling and I've heard that it may take a couple weeks for the final results to show. Never doing this again though - WAY too painful and uncomfortable for my skin, which I guess I now know is sensitive. Good luck to those who try it. Hope you get better results :)

  • November 11, 2013

    by Wanda

    I have had this VI peel twice, one year apart, I have sensitive skin as well as Melasma, this peel for me had great results. It is some what uncomfortable the fist two days, because it is a bit sticky and a little itchy. It did take a full seven days for my skin to peel 100 percent. I have had people ask me if I had a face lift because my skin is tight. I'm 51 years old and have been carded at many grocery stores. I'm not a smoker, but have had my share of suntans over the years, I play golf and boat, so I have been in the sun two much, sun screen is your most important cosmedic for staying young looking. I would recommend this peel, my two peels were done by a professional.

  • May 3, 2013

    by jacira

    I always had very good skin and it looked young for my age. However, since my body went through hormonal changes(reaching menopause), my skin started to appear some pegmentation. I was advised to do VI peel, but I am very scarred do damage my skin. Is it safe do it?

  • March 30, 2013

    by 55+

    I am 55' fair, redhead. My first vi peel only uncomfortable on nights 1 and 2 after applying the packet wipes. No moisture on top of that. Benadryl treated that, slept thru it. Peeled on days 2,3, and 4. Was lightly pink and sensitive for another 3 days. I used oxygenetcs moisturizer and makeup which was comfortable and breathes. My goal was to even out skin tone, lessen age spots, and reduce fine wrinkles. It did all of these with lots of compliments from friends and family. I use retin a every night now and my skin has continued to improve.

    I got second vi peel 3 days ago and followed same routine. Started peeling earlier , evening of day 2. Exercised and sweated on day 3, causing major peeling and raw areas that sting. Came home and rinsed in shower and let air dry. Stinging gone, and was able to apply post peel moisturizer without any problem. I hope this peel finishes off my age spots.

  • March 6, 2013

    by Shelly

    Wow! I loved this peel! My lines,brown spots and acne is so much better. My skin looks so much younger now. I been getting lots of compliiments too. I buy my VI Peels online at
    and did it myself twice . It was super easy and much cheaper. I was nervous I would not do it right but it came with instructions that were so simple. I have tried so mant "lasers and also other peels like cosmelin MD and this peel was by far the best. I just bought another for my mom for her birtthday(:

  • February 18, 2013

    by Barbara Bacon

    My experience was similar to yours, Nat. Extreme burning occurred when I applied anything. I followed instructions exactly, and burning was so severe I thought I would simultaneously vomit and pass out. I slept a little better than you did, I think, but this product is definitely over-sold as mild and pain-free, which it is neither.

  • February 15, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Nat, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I look forward to the next installment - hoping that your condition becomes more comfortable.

  • February 14, 2013

    by Nat

    On Monday February 11, 2013 I called a local Medi-Spa to inquire about the Vi Peel. I am of Caribbean decent and have what would be considered African-American skin. I suffered from hyperpigmentation for many years due to acne scarring. The Doctor invited me in for a consultation and ended up performing an intense pore extraction, which was then followed with the Vi Peel.

    My understanding of the Vi Peel was that the only discomfort to be expected was when the solution was applied and to expect plenty of peeling/shedding. I was upsold the Obagi deep cleanser and given the Vi Peel spf 55 and post peel protectant. There was no instruction on how to apply the cleanser, or if I should use it at all during the peeling process.

    I went to work that evening, covering the solution, as instructed by the Doctor, with makeup so as to not scare my clients. The solution was left of my face from 1:00pm to roughly 10:00pm, which was in line with the recommended 4 or more hours.

    On Day 2 my skin started to look leathery as it should since the old skin will be shed in a few days. I did not wash my face that morning and applied the Post Peel Protectant as well as some of the Sun Protectant to keep my skin somewhat moisturized. That evening I showered as usual and gently washed my face with the Obagi cleanser, I didn't want the skin to peel prematurely so I washed it just enough to not feel the Sun Protectant anymore before bed. I patted my skin dry and used the included towelette, which burned and caused my face to itch.

    On Day 3 my skin really started to crack and shed in some places. I did not wash my face that morning either and applied the Post Peel Protectant, which burned and caused my face to itch instead of sooth it as stated in the packet. That evening I trimmed some of the hanging skin with sterile scissors. I also showered and used the Obagi cleanser, this time ALL the loose skin came off, which was strange to me since I had read that major shedding was to happen Day 4, 5, and 6. When I stepped out the shower, to my dismay there were areas of my skin that looked raw and pinkish like chemical burns. Most of what I read about the Vi Peel online said that chemical burns were virtually impossible with this peel.

    This is where my experience turned hellish. My skin burned and itched the entire night, I was up for more than 24 hours straight. I tried the Post Peel Protectant, that burned. I tried the Sun Protectant, that burned. I rinsed my face off and tried Vaseline, that helped for 5 minutes and my skin went back to feeling like fire ants were biting my entire body. I rinsed that off and left my face with whatever residue I couldn't get, I fell asleep at 7am only to wake back up at 11am.

    Day 4 I pulled on some clothes and headed straight over to the Medi-Spa. I was scorned for "forcing the skin" and washing my face. The instructions on the included pamphlet said:

    " Day 3. On day three follow the instructions given by your provider. The included VI Derm Post Peel Protectant (moisturizer) and VI Derm SPF 55 may be used as often as desired. Apply a light layer of the VI Derm Post Peel Protectant (Moisturizer) at least twice a day. It is also very important to use the VI Derm SPF 55 liberally once skin begins to peel. You will begin to peel on the third day. The peeling is accurately described as a sloughing off of the skin. When washing treated areas morning and night, old skin will slough off. WASH AND PAT DRY. Do not scrub or pull at the skin. Use the VI Derm Post Peel Protectant (Moisturizer) as often as necessary for comfort or to hide any sloughing of the skin. Refrain from picking at the skin so redness, irritation and hyperpigmentation do not occur."

    When I complained about the burning and itching I was told to lather my face with Neosporin for the rest of the day and the day after. This advice was given after I decided to just show up to the office since the receptionist told me she'd call me back and never did. I also called about an hour ago to report the incessant itching and my call wasn't answered.

    This is still Day 4 and my disappointment with the conflicting information in the pamphlet and the directions of the Doctor along with the INTENSE discomfort I'm experiencing right now as I write this is what led to a 3 star rating.

    The Vi Peel should not be advertised as a milder peel. The Doctors should be more involved and available for questions/progress.

    I would've been open to the another peel if there was a more immediate solution to the itching/discomfort.

    Will post back in a week or so to report results.

  • October 28, 2012

    by Sage

    I just had my first Vi and have been doing Jessner's and other peels for years to treat acne. Great thing is, peels also help out with wrinkles too.

    I made a slight alteration to the post-peel packets. I could tell my face needed a break from the office peel, so I did not apply a packet the evening of, instead waited till the morning after, then applied my last one on Day 3. So far so good, perhaps it gave my skin a chance to adapt before more acid.

  • October 17, 2012

    by MRP

    I agree with AT. I just had my 4th last night. I do experience an itchy sensation but a Benadryl will take care of that. I also have dark skin and I never experienced any pigmentation issues. I'm known to be a picker, hence the acne scars. It's extremely important not to rush the peeling process or pick at any skin; that only leads to scarring problems. The towelette is Retin A, that is what causes the skin to sting, itch and peel. It's extremely important to stay out of the sun once the peeling has begun. You don't want your new skin to burn and become damaged.

  • July 9, 2012

    by AT

    I did the VI Peel for the first time about four months ago, and am doing six treatments of it. It's done absolute wonders for my skin. I've never had any other treatments before other than a few run of the mill facials. My first VI peel was annoying and painful, but you just grunt and get through it. You have to follow post peel instructions exactly, and I hate to say it, but going somewhere during peeling is near impossible. I chose to stay out of the sun completely for five days and worked from home a couple of days each time I've had it done. After the first treatment, I broke out severely, just as I was told I would. After the second application, I broke out much less; after the third, I barely broke out. My acne scars also started lightening up & after the third treatment, I started getting complements for the first time in my life about how amazing my skin was. Two more treatments later and one more treatment to go in a few weeks, my skin is completely different than it used to be. 80% of my acne scars are gone, I hardly ever get pimples anymore, smoother, creamier, complexion and a huge reduction in fine lines. I actually took pictures the other day of my face for the first time & compared them to make-up free candids from a year or two years ago. The difference is unbelievable. Love the peel! It's definitely a process, but so worth it.

  • June 14, 2012

    by Krissy

    I had it also. I had the same experience as Pat. I managed to fall asleep but I woke up feeling like i had a blow torch on my face. I washed it off with cold water and cream cleanser. I didn't put vaseline.
    Whenever someone says they had this and they look great ask what other procedures they had done before. I only had 1 age spot and it didn't remove it. Too much pain for the result. They cleaned my face with acetone, which can't be good for you. I am fair skinned German Irish by the way.

  • February 2, 2012

    by Pat

    I had the VI peel last fall and found it to be very painful. I was instructed to rub these packets on my face the evening after I got the peel, put on the moisturizer and went to bed with two advil. I couldn't sleep because it felt like millions of needles pricking my face. Ended up washing my face and putting VASALINE all over it to help with the pain of it. Then after all said and done, it didn't even help my skin.. Cost ...$300. for one peel. Thank you very much.

  • March 15, 2011

    by Mark

    I wonder how this would compare to the Jessner Peel? I have considered it for some time, but just couldn't commit to it. You have downtime with this too (a week or longer I've read), as the skin darkens to brown in a couple of days and peels off, then pink/red that evens out in a few days. I've read mostly all positive reviews for it online and it has been used for years for wrinkle reduction, hyperpigmentation, etc.

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