Real Talk: This AHA Peel Transformed the Texture of My Skin in Minutes

Maya Allen


Just like the occasional bad hair day, we all have bad skin days, too. I recently had one of those days. My skin felt overwhelmingly dry and looked so dull. I didn't get much sleep the night before, and it also felt like the cold air sucked the life out of my skin. Either way, I was in a rush to get home to pamper my pores with hydration. It was near the end of the week, I was exhausted, and it showed.

The Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels had landed on my desk a few days prior, and I immediately put it in my purse to take home—I've heard such great things. People swear by these peels to get rid of blackheads. I'm a newbie to at-home peels. I'm blessed with abnormally sensitive skin that freaks out over practically everything (so fun, I know), so I've always proceeded with caution when it comes to peels I'm in charge of doing myself. The old me would have left it up to a professional. But after I recently tried Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel and my skin glowed for days, I've been down to give others a try. 

What I love about Gross's peels is that he formulated a gentle version specifically made for sensitive skin. Of course, I was drawn to these first. It comes with two different pads. The "Step One" pad is packed with nourishing and hydrating acids that remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate your pores. The "Step Two" pad has alpha hydroxy acid, which delivers anti-ageing benefits and smoothes your skin's texture (we'll get more into alpha hydroxy acid, also known as AHA, and what exactly it is later).

After cleansing my skin, I opened up the little package that revealed the step one pre-soaked pad. I lathered it all over my skin and immediately felt a tingly sensation. I'll admit, this scared me. I could tell that it was working, but the immediate tingly sensation made me feel like my skin was preparing for some sort of weird reaction. After about 30 seconds, it calmed down, and I applied the second pad in circular motions. I waited a minute in the mirror and then touched my face. It felt pillow soft and clean. It also looked less washed-out and noticeably plumper. What did this? AHA

I wanted to know more about this key ingredient so I enlisted the help of the dermatologists who'd know best. Here, Dennis Gross, MD, the creator of the wonderful peel I tried; along with Craig Austin, MD, the dermatologist behind Cane + Austin (who makes these trusted glycolic acid pads); as well as dermatologist Patricia Wexler, MD, spell out everything you need to know about AHA's. Read on for the ultimate AHA peels guide that outlines the fascinating ways it can change your skin

To be sure you're using the absolute best peel for your skin type, read this guide.

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