If you’re obsessed with skin care trends, you’ve probably seen the Perfect Derma Peel posted all over skin care blogs. And it’s hard to miss — the Perfect Derma Peel is all about the peeling. (Caution: Going through the images under #perfectpeel may make your inner worrywart come out.)
The layers and layers you’re seeing are thin sheets of your skin’s outer layer — the epidermis — peeling back to reveal fresh, new skin underneath.
After a medical professional administers the peel — which only takes about 15 minutes — you’ll be instructed to leave it on for 6 hours.
Clients are given a home care kit that comes with The Perfect Derma Moisturizer with 1 percent hydrocortisone and Post-Peel Towelettes to help calm any tightness, redness, or itching that may happen as your skin prepares to peel. Then, a couple of days will go by as if nothing happened.
But by the third day, the magic happens
Thin sheets of the epidermis skin will start to peel. This lasts for three to four days. “The [whole process] gently resurface skin within seven to ten days,” says Graceanne Svendsen, LE, CME, licensed aesthetician at Shafer Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, who currently doesn’t offer the peel at the clinic but knows the science behind it.
During this process, you can’t slough, pick, or peel the shedding skin, as it may lead to scarring. Yep, you have to just let the peeling happen.
What does application feel like? “[The application] was simple and easy. The only thing tough part is the smell of the acetone and peel. As for comfort, the first pass will tingle but numb the face for the rest of the application. For the rest of the day, I was comfortable, just a little flushed and had a slight orange tint to me. Similar to a bad spray tan.” — Jessica Kueppers, licensed aesthetician
The Perfect Derma Peel claims to be the only medical-grade chemical peel that features glutathione.
“Glutathione is a very potent peptide that is commonly used as a brightener and is a coenzyme that helps reduce inflammatory reactions in the cells,” says Svendsen. “Recently it’s experienced a surge in popularity, with glutathione drips and supplements used in many forms of anti-aging and healing therapies.”
Created by Beverly Hills-based beauty company Bella Medical Products, this medium-degree peel is only available for purchase by medical professionals, such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical aestheticians, and medical spas. Each treatment of the Perfect Derma Peel costs between $300 to $500, depending on your location.
While glutathione is the main ingredient, the peel also has a blend of other acids, powerful antioxidants, and peptides such as:
“TCA and retinoic acid have anti-aging effects to reduce line and wrinkles,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, dermatologist at Modern Dermatology of Connecticut. She also notes that the other ingredients are mostly for hyperpigmentation or to reduce scarring, while the phenol is in there for a slightly numbing effect.
“Some of the more noticeable benefits are improved tone, tightness and brightness of the skin, as well as reduction in acne and sun damage. The typical patient will have an immediate reduction in dullness and enjoy smoother complexion,” says Svendsen. In short, all these ingredients work to improve your overall complexion.
For maximum benefits and maintenance, experts recommend a series of two to four peels, four weeks apart. Afterward, treatments only need to be performed once every three to six months to maintain results.
Two women who’ve had The Perfect Derma Peel share their experience with it.
Jessica Kueppers, licensed aesthetician and owner of Jak Beauty
Why she got it: I received my first Perfect Peel last October, shortly after offering the peels to my clients. I wanted to be able to describe to them [from a] personal experience.
Days 1 to 3: The first night was comfortable […] I left it on overnight, used a mild cleanser in the morning and began my post-treatment care. You are able to wear makeup from day two on, [and] I would recommend a tinted moisturizer if need be. In the middle of the night, I woke up extremely itchy but gently pressed my fingers on my face for relief, without scratching, and was able to fall back asleep. On day three, I felt extremely tight and noticed the skin around my nose loosening up.
Days 4 to 5: [The] peeling began [on day four] around my nose and mouth and continued down to my chin and out through my cheeks. The worst of my peeling was day five. My skin was falling off my face but was so satisfying. My husband couldn’t take me seriously.
One of my goals as an aesthetician is to normalize this kind of self-care. Looking crazy for a week is worth glowing skin in my opinion.
You can easily control the peeling by using a small cuticle scissors to trim the skin that is shedding, but you never want to peel. [Doing that] can cause further damage, raw spots, and pigmentation scarring.
Days 6 to 7: Just a small amount on my forehead [was left to peel].
Was it worth it? I absolutely loved my results from the peel. I swear I didn’t have a blemish or breakout for five months. And I usually have consistent issues with that on my chin.
Dana Murray, licensed aesthetician of Babe and Beauty
Why she got it: The main reason I wanted the Perfect Peel was to address my hyperpigmentation, but I was excited that it may also help with overall luminosity, pores, texture and help me age just a bit more gracefully.
Days 1 to 3: The application of the peel was pretty quick and painless. In fact, I did it on my lunch break and went back to work. The first few days my skin felt very dry but looked pretty normal. Then, by day three I started noticing some slight skin peeling around my nose and mouth.
Days 4 to 7: I was peeling a good amount and my skin felt extremely tight, dry, and itchy. To be honest, it was a slightly uncomfortable process. By day seven, most of the peeling had subsided and my skin really started to glow.
Was it worth it? Overall, I am very happy with my results and noticed a significant lightening of my brown spots. It was definitely worth it!
“Risks of any chemical peels can include burns, scarring, and depigmentation,” says Mraz Robinson
And not everyone is a good candidate for the perfect peel.
“I would avoid it in patients with sensitive skin [or with conditions] such as rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis,” says Mraz Robinson. “Melasma may be helped with this peel, but any procedure including laser, light, or chemicals has the ability to exacerbate the condition.”
Following peel application, you’re not allowed to put makeup or any other products on your skin until the second day. And patients are strongly suggested to avoid heavy exercise and excessive sweating during the peeling process.
“Remember to strictly avoid the sun while healing and avoid potent topicals such as acids, retinoids until fully healed,” says Mraz Robinson.
And if you’re a new mom, you should also avoid getting this peel.
“Anyone pregnant or nursing should not do chemical peels,” says David Shafer, MD, FACS, dermatologist at Shafer Plastic Surgery & Laser Center.
And in some cases, you’ll want to consult a board-certified dermatologist before pursuing this peel.
“Patients with severe acne would be contraindicated, as I would refer them to their board-certified dermatologist for skin check, as well as any patients with sores, open wounds, or propensity towards severe viral outbreaks,” says Shafer.
According to the Perfect Derma Peel’s website, patients typically range between 13 and 75 years old and include all ethnicities. Ultimately, the ideal patient is someone who is looking to improve the tone, texture, and clarity of their skin — and who can afford its somewhat hefty price tag.
Emily Shiffer is a former digital web producer for Men’s Health and Prevention, and is currently a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, weight loss, and fitness. She is based in Pennsylvania and loves all things antiques, cilantro, and American history.