I Tried It: Skinceuticals’ Advanced Corrective Peel

Skinceuticals’ Advanced Corrective Peel is considered a deep, superficial chemical peel.



Last week I went to Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery‘s office for my first ever chemical peel. Of course I expected a Samantha moment and told all my friends I’d be inside, peeling, for the next two days so no, I didn’t want to go to brunch. Plus, I hate brunch.



My peel was Thursday night, a calculated appointment day, because of the lifecycle of a peel: Your skin begins to peel the next day, for only a few days, so if you go on a Thursday, you have the weekend to “recover” (I use that term very loosely, because there is actually no needed down time).

I opted for the Skinceuticals Advanced Corrective peel that contains 14% salicylic acid, 14% lactic acid, and 10% phenylethyl resorcinol. A new treatment, this combo of ingredients has never been used together in a chemical peel until now. Salicylic acid is what you see in most acne products because it unclogs pores and regulates oil production. Lactic acid exfoliates, hydrates, and has disinfectant properties. Phenylethyl Resorcinol is an antioxidant derived from Scotch pine bark that lightens hyperpigmentation.

Depending on your skin, the aesthetician will apply between one to four “passes,” or rounds. But more layers doesn’t mean better results; in fact, I only had two passes. She applied the peel then waited 5 minutes to see how how my skin reacted before applying another layer. The first layer felt itchy and uncomfortable, but definitely not painful. The second round felt a bit hotter, and again uncomfortable, but nothing unbearable. The goal is to leave the treatment with red skin, an indication that pigment is being brought to the surface. I left red-faced and tingly.

The number one rule is to avoid applying water, or anything containing water, to your skin for at least 4 hours (the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you’re forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the immonium thygocolate). Of course it was raining, and since I didn’t want to melt like the wicked witch of the west, I jumped in an uber. For about 20 minutes my face still felt hot and I had a mini “wait, do I need to buy a veil like Samantha for work tomorrow?” moment.

But by the time I got home I barely felt anything and over the next few hours the redness disappeared.

For the next 5 days I followed a gentle routine of face wash, a few drops of the phyto corrective gel and sunscreen. I did end up peeling over the weekend but nothing that kept me inside (at best it can be described as “facial dandruff”) and I quickly started to see the positive affects of the treatment. Monday morning I woke up fresh faced and glowy, the furthest thing from Samantha’s peel face.

—Julia Casella

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2 Comments I Tried It: Skinceuticals’ Advanced Corrective Peel

  1. Betsy

    The ACP self-neutralizes so it’s not removed. As a master aesthetician for a plastic surgeon, I’ve performed this peel on a lot of patients and, based on skin type, reactions vary dramatically. Two layers is often not enough to cause significant redness in the treatment room (which is the endpoint we want), in which case I add a third and, less often, a fourth layer. The key is going to a practitioner who has been trained to look for the appropriate endpoints.

    On the flip side, two layers on my face sent me into orbit (with redness and discomfort) I have thinner skin so the peel penetrated deeply/quickly (frosted in small spots) with a sunburn effect lasting all evening. Washing my face 5 hours later reactivated the peel which was uncomfortable for a few minutes. I looked sunburned until a day later when a lot of brown pigment surfaced that I didn’t know I had. The next day my skin was very tight (resembling beef jerky). Late that day peeling started and came off in strips. It. Wasn’t. Pretty…

    I prepare clients for peeling to begin 2-3 days post procedure and it will range from dandruff-type sloughing to full on ‘swamp thing’ peel out (that was me…and Samantha!). Before peeling begins you’ll see pigment rise to the surface but it does peel off (don’t panic). My downtime was rough but only for about 5 days. Within a week the results were amazing enough that I’ve gone through it a second time…again, with awesome results (much less pigment/ more even skin tone/fewer fine lines). If you have only light sloughing the first time, I’d recommend an additional layer the next time…but going conservative on peel #1 is a good idea. I would also never perform this treatment on someone who had never experienced a lighter peel before so we may somewhat predict the response.


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