As Dermstore employees, we’re no strangers to beauty products that promise instant results. And we know that if there’s one product type that actually delivers on that promise, it’s peels.
Peels come in a variety of strengths, ranging from the superficial (the one you use at home) to the deep (the kind that your esthetician uses). Using hydroxy acids or plant-based enzymes, peels literally peel away the dull, rough, outermost layer of your skin, allowing clearer, brighter and smoother skin to emerge. And without that outer barrier that also tends to clog your pores, your skin becomes more receptive to your beauty products. When used regularly, peels can improve a plethora of skin issues, like acne scars, large pores, fine lines and hyperpigmentation, to name a few.
Though effective for most people, peels are designed to be more intense than your regular exfoliant, which may not be a very good option if you have sensitive skin. So when I heard about Aquareveal’s water peel—which, as the name suggests, is formulated with mostly water and contains none of the “badass acids” of typical peels—I was curious: Can this water-based peel do exactly what a traditional chemical-based peel does? That’s what I intended to find out.
To know more about water peels, I reached out to Tammy Park-De Boer, CEO of Aquareveal. “Most exfoliators are acid-based, scrub-based or enzyme-based,” she explains. “Aquareveal’s Water Peels have water-based formulas and do not contain any acid, scrub or enzyme. This method of exfoliation, where you literally see the dead skin cells lifted away with zero irritation, is a newer technology that originated in Asia. I like to say that Aquareveal Water Peels are ‘the modern way to peel’ because it really does a fantastic job of providing the benefits of exfoliation without the stinging, tingling, itching or abrasiveness that acid, scrub and enzyme exfoliators may cause.”
So if water peels don’t have the traditional ingredients that make chemical and physical exfoliants effective, what DO they have? It turns out, not a lot. There’s water, of course, plus a few other natural and organic ingredients I’m definitely familiar with: hyaluronic acid, licorice root, evening primrose, orange water, aloe, rosemary, sage and vanilla. These ingredients aren’t new or in any way groundbreaking, but they’re definitely effective at soothing and brightening sensitive skin. However, because of the very fact that they’re gentle and mild, I’ve never seen them as key ingredients in a peel before. I must admit I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this peel, even though it got really good reviews here and here.
Aquareveal has three products Dermstore currently carries: Satin Bright Soft Water Peel for the Face, Gentle Action Water Peel for the Body and Smooth Talker Water Peel for Lips. I’ve tried different kinds of at-home peels before, and from my experience, even those labeled “gentle” or “natural” can still sting—and my skin isn’t even on the sensitive side. Since I wasn’t sure how my skin would react, I used the Water Peel for the Face on the back of my left hand, and to really see the difference, I left my right hand untreated.
The application was pretty straightforward: I massaged the clear gel formula on the back of my hand, and after five seconds, I began to feel something grainy against my skin. My initial thought was, “Wait a minute, I thought this product didn’t have beads!” Then I realized I wasn’t feeling beads, those were my dead skin—and they were rolling off my skin just like that. I was impressed! What’s even more impressive was how my skin looked after I rinsed the dead skin cells off:
NOTE: We only adjusted the brightness of this image.
As you can see, the hand where I used the peel (marked “After” in the picture) looks so much smoother and brighter, and the lines and wrinkles (I have grandma hands) are not as pronounced. But what you can’t see there is how smooth my skin felt immediately after, not tight or dry at all.
And I’m not the only one. I had a couple of people in the office try the other Aquareveal products and here’s what they said:
On Aquareveal Smooth Talker Water Peel for Lips:
“I love how convenient and simple it is to use. I was super impressed by how much dry, dead skin was flaking off and how smooth my lips felt afterward. I would totally make this product a part of my weekly beauty routine,”—Rahimah H., Content Specialist
On Aquareveal Gentle Action Water Peel for Body
“This product exfoliates the body gently. Definitely make sure your skin is completely dry for best results. Even a little dampness on your skin will prevent you from reaping the benefits. When used correctly, you’ll see the dead skin fall off, revealing smoother skin.”—Annie R., Beauty Editor
If you’ve used an at-home peel before, you’d know that using it more than once a week, no matter how tolerant your skin is, won’t do you any favor. But because Aquareveal adjusts to the level of exfoliation your skin needs, Tammy said you can use it as often as twice a week. Some people even love using it every day.
“It’s excellent for dry, oily, sensitive, teen, mature and acne-prone skin,” says Tammy. “We have several fans with eczema and rosacea that use Aquareveal when they could not use any other exfoliator. We even know of several cancer patients with dry and sensitive skin who are using Aquareveal very successfully.”
As mild as this peel is, it’s always wise to listen to your skin. Use it once a week if you have very dry or problematic skin, and then pick up the pace as your skin builds tolerance. And even though this peel won’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun unlike most peels, remember to still apply sunscreen if you’re planning to go outside right after.