Subtly reduces redness
Alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate, brighten, and purify
Gentle enough to use twice a week
The smell might be odd to some
Derma E Overnight Peel
There are few things I find more gratifying than visualizing dead skin cells being sloughed off my face. I know, it’s weird and I should probably seek enjoyment from more enriching life experiences, but I am who I am and as such, a peel review is right up my alley. I didn't grow up with parents or siblings who taught me the importance of exfoliation. Rather, my use of ingredients like glycolic or lactic acid came later in life. Thankfully, we eventually found our way to each other and my complexion’s been much improved ever since.
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) love letter aside, when I learned that Derma E’s overnight peel offered 5% AHAs with other nourishing ingredients like vitamin C and green tea, and it was only $19, I couldn’t try it fast enough.
Ahead, my experience test driving this affordable exfoliant facial.
Best for: Any skin type
Uses: Exfoliate and brighten
Potential allergens: Can cause sunburn
Active ingredients: Blend of 5% alpha hydroxy acids, vitamin C
Byrdie Clean? Yes
About the Brand: Derma E is a natural facial care brand that focuses on “potent vitamins, wholesome nutrients, and exceptional ingredients.” It began in a health food store in Southern California and is now a mainstay among the clean beauty set.
About My Skin: Normal combination, but sensitive
I’m in my mid-thirties, and my skin doesn’t bounce back quite as effortlessly as it used to. Because of this, I’m careful about the products I use on my face to ensure I avoid congestion and pigmentation. My skin is sensitive and prone to small rosacea flare-ups from time to time; however, it's still able to handle ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids; I just have to be careful how often I use them and how concentrated they are.
The Feel: Creamy and absorbent
The peel is meant to be applied generously on a clean face before bed. The texture is creamy and absorbent, which made it easy to put my face on my pillow without it being messy. In the morning, Derma E advises to rinse thoroughly. I noticed that my skin seemed to have absorbed the peel entirely by the a.m., but I rinsed just to cross my t's and dot my i’s.
After just one night’s sleep, I awoke to a face that looked less red, was visibly softer, and had an overall freshness about it.
The Ingredients: Clean and potent
While AHAs are beloved by the beauty industry, licensed esthetician Jodi Shays advises doing your research first. "The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend that you use an AHA with a strength of over 10%—some people start out with something at 8% or lower," she explains. "At Queen Bee, we err on the side of caution and start out with a 2-5% strength AHA for at-home use, because you have to build up a tolerance. AHAs are used for shedding off the skin and if you go too high, you can end up with some very harsh side effects and damage to your skin."
Luckily, this peel is formulated with 5% AHAs and helps shed dead skin cells for a renewed complexion. They also help with brightening dark spots and reducing the appearance of fine lines. Other exciting ingredients include Stay-C 50, which is a stable form of vitamin C; research has shown Vitamin C is proven to reduce dark spots. There’s also green tea to nourish and protect from UV damage, as well as jojoba seed oil to calm and hydrate. In other words, there’s a lot happening in this peel, and your skin will thank you for it.
This peel is vegan and cruelty-free and doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, lanolin, gluten, or GMOs. In other words, you can rest easy knowing you’re putting only the best ingredients on your face.
Potential Sensitivity: Avoid the sun
AHAs increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and can cause a sunburn. Derma E recommends wearing sunscreen and limiting sun exposure while using this peel (easy enough).
The Scent: Not my favorite
I hate to speak ill of this peel but ... the smell is admittedly a bit funky. I’d characterize it along the lines of a tangy greek yogurt. Thankfully, once it has absorbed into your skin you don’t smell it anymore and then you’re off to sleep, so it’s not a big deal. Every nose is different, so what might smell slightly off kilter to me might be your cup of tea.
The Results: A rejuvenated complexion
I’ve used products with AHAs many times before, so I knew what to expect—smooth skin and a glowy complexion. This peel did not disappoint, and after just one night’s sleep with it on I awoke to a face that looked less red, was visibly softer, and had an overall freshness about it. It’s not a night-and-day sort of difference, but a perceivable improvement none the less.
The Value: Can’t beat it
This peel is effective, natural, and costs less than $20—need I say more?
Similar Products: You have options
Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel ($34): This peel from Boscia, formulated with multi-fruit AHAs as well as antioxidant enzymes, helps your skin shed old cells to reveal a softer, brighter complexion. It’s not meant to be worn overnight but is still effective and easy to use.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($88): I’ve used these peel wipes intermittently over the last several years and every time I do, I’m always reminded how miraculous they are. They are formulated with a blend of five AHA/BHAs as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
Final Verdict: Big fan
As someone with sensitive skin who loves waking up to a soothed complexion, this affordable peel is too good to pass up.
- Product Name Overnight Peel
- Product Brand Derma E
- Price $19
- Full Ingredient List Purified Water, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Plant Derived), Stearic Acid (Vegetable Derived), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate (Vegetable Derived), Glyceryl Stearate Citrate (Vegetable Derived), Polysorbate 60, Stearyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Lactic Acid, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C, Stay-C® 50), Cetearyl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Xanthan Gum, Dimethicone, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin