From ultra-gentle exfoliating serums for daily use to home treatments that work like a clinic chemical peel, these promise smoother, younger-looking skin without the downtime. BY JOIE GOH
1 Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, $99 (30ml)
Use this super lightweight peeling serum every night after cleansing and toning. It blends quinoa husks with fruit acids to help boost cell renewal and produce a more refined texture.
VERDICT: The gentlest of the lot, and suitable for sensitive skin, it didn’t leave mine stinging or smarting. After seven days of continuous use, my pores looked more refined and my skin, softer and clearer.
2 Sloane Inc Skin Superfood Pumpkin Purifying Peel S3.6, $69.55 (50g)
Rich in antioxidants and enzymes from pumpkins, this promises to unclog pores, brighten skin and treat breakouts.
VERDICT: While the smarting was largely bearable, it made my eyes water even though I’d avoided the eye area. I lasted only three out of the recommended five minutes before having to wash it off. However, my skin felt incredibly smooth afterwards, like as if I’d used an abrasive scrub. My complexion was also more radiant. What impressed me the most? A particularly deep and large blackhead on my chin dislodged with ease right after I’d rinsed the peel off!
3 Natura Bisse GlycoLine Glyco Extreme Peel, $455 (30ml)
This contains a blend of five alphahydroxy acids (glycolic, malic, tartaric, citric and lactic) as well as salicylic acid. It also has a beta-lipoic acid said to stimulate the natural exfoliation process, and a peptide that helps promote skin renewal.
VERDICT: This was the most painful to use. I should have left the peel on for 15 minutes, but the stinging hurt so much, I rinsed it off after five. My skin felt raw and two red spots popped up on my left cheek immediately, and then subsided the next day. By the third day, my skin was remarkably smoother and fairer, and it stayed that way for almost a week.
4 CNP Doctoray White Peel, $58
This three-step regimen uses polyhydroxy acid (PHA) to remove dead skin cells without harming healthy ones. Suitable for sensitive skin, PHA has a large molecular structure and penetrates skin slowly, causing less irritation. Step 1 is a peeling emulsion. Step 2 consists of three Post-peel pH Balance Pads to wipe away the peeling cream. Step 3 requires the application of R2 Madecassoside Cream which is said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brighten skin.
VERDICT: I experienced a mild stinging during Step 1. After Step 3, my skin was a shade brighter and my pores, tighter. An hour later, five tiny red spots appeared around my mouth and chin, and were gone after three days while my skin stayed bright and smooth.
5 Philosophy Microdelivery Overnight Anti-aging Peel, $129
To be used two or three times a week, this two-step treatment – a leave-on peel solution with alphaand beta-hydroxy acids, and a youth extending night gel mask – promises firmer skin and reduced wrinkles.
VERDICT: After saturating one of the enclosed cotton pads with the peel solution, I wiped it over cleansed skin, left it on for two to three minutes, and experienced a mild warming. Then, I massaged the gel into my skin, followed by moisturiser, and left it on overnight. My skin felt a bit smoother but I didn’t see any noticeable improvements.