Afraid to Try a DIY Chemical Peel? This One From Dermalogica Will Change Your Mind

Exfoliation is essential for radiant skin (this much I’ve known since the yesteryears of using my beloved classic St. Ives apricot scrub). Fast forward a decade or two, and I’m still enthralled by the wonders of sloughing off dead skin. While I’ll always have a soft spot for gritty, hard-working walnut shell, I’ve since discovered chemical exfoliants.

In lieu of manual scrubbing, chemical exfoliants rely on AHAs or BHAs to loosen up dead skin. You can find them most frequently in chemical peels, which are touted for their ability to deliver luminous results. According to celebrity esthetician Jordana Mattioli, peels can “remove dead skin, boosting cell turnover, and increase collagen production.” Even more amazingly, weekly use can lead to softening fine lines and other skin texture discrepancies.

But despite their many benefits, I’ve experienced my fair share of peels that leave my skin feeling raw and looking red. Many of my friends won’t even consider dabbling in DIY chemical peels for that particular fear. Thankfully, I’ve found a pro-strength peel that won’t leave skin worse for the wear: The Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel ($85) is A-OK for sensitive skin. It leads to glowier, healthier-looking skin.

I knew I’d be in love with this peel from the first time I tried it. Within 30 seconds of application, my face felt warm and slightly tingly. Whereas other peels have left me counting down the minutes until I could rise them off, this one gives just enough sensation to let me know it’s working. In fact, the gentle heat almost feels cozy — which, incidentally, makes it the perfect peel for the upcoming season.

The hero ingredient — and what makes it stand out from many of its peel peers — is pumpkin enzyme, which, aside from oozing with autumnal promise, is rich in skin-loving vitamins A and C. “Pumpkin is a natural source of enzymes and antioxidants,” Mattioli explains. “The enzymes help dissolve protein to exfoliate and increase skin cell turnover.” Plus, the seasonal fruit works in tandem with the peel’s other ingredients (exfoliating AHAs and lactic acid) to further smooth the skin without drying it out. An added dash of glycerin ensures skin looks luminous, never dry. 

Another reason I love this peel: It’s pre-packaged into individual pods. (Admittedly, I apply most skincare overzealously, so the single serving size is a huge plus for me.) Not to mention, the pods are perfect for travel — which comes in handy if you’re looking for a quick mid-vacation glow.

Dermalogica gave Sophie Wirt the pumpkin peel to try.