We recognize Dr. Dennis Gross as a brand synonymous with at home Alpha Beta Peels, but also a board-certified dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology, a specialized dermatology practice on 5th Avenue, Manhattan. Over the years I’ve tried many products from the line and it was inevitable that I would write this post one day. Grab a beverage and sit back, this will be comprehensive.
Peels: It’s only fair to start the brand overview here, with the famed Peels. The first product I tried from the brand many eons ago were the Alpha Beta peels. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked for many years for simple reasons such as: at home solution, no downtime, no sensitivity, redness or peeling experienced. Most importantly, visible results day after day, week after week! My skin has been refined in terms of tone and texture. These give me ‘glass complexion‘. Packaged as a two step application process, ultimate convenience for travel and preserves the freshness of each peel. Concocted with an ingenious balance of Alpha (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) in Step 1 with Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid. While Step 2 is formulated with Resveratrol, Retinol, Ascorbic Acid, Ubiquinone, Copper, Zinc and Sodium PCA intended to control the acid activity (from Step 1) and deliver anti-aging actives and skin nourishing ingredients.
Catered to each skin’s tolerance level, Gentle Daily Peel for sensitive skins (doesn’t contain more deeper penetrating acids, limited to only Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid – larger molecular structure), Universal is for as the name suggests, and Extra Strength for the more experienced users, acid acclimated skins and those who mean business with the peels.
Of course for the weekly treatment they have Medi Spa Peel (Ingredient highlights: Amino Acids, Ceramides, Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin A, Retinol, Resveratrol, Green Tea, Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Azelaic Acid) which is chockfull with a lot of skin goodness. I like to use these after cleansing, steaming the skin and follow with Medi spa peel. The results are astounding.
Now aside from regular AHA peel, DrDG has also developed a treatment peel under the Ferulic + Retinol line which claims to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firm, smooth and boost radiance (Ingredients Highlights: Witch Hazel Water, Retinol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Sodium PCA, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid). This is my first retinol peel pad, and I cannot recommend it enough. Immediate results in terms of firmer skin tone. The only bummer is the price, but as a treatment pad I could push it (or wait for a sale!).
Cleanser – The cleanser I’ve tried from DrDG is a their newer launch, Alpha Beta Cleansing Gel which is an extension of their cult Alpha Beta line. Long story short, yes it has a mild foam but no soap or sulphates. Not stripping or drying on the skin at all. Another plus, it doesn’t sting around my eyes. Ingredient wise, formulated with Glycerin, Mandelic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Willow Bark Extract, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Farnesol, Barosma Betulina Leaf Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Snow Ear Mushroom Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract. Gentle exfoliation while cleansing and personally, I don’t like removing makeup with this cleanser, preferred as a second cleanse or morning cleanse. Given a fab formulation, it is also wonderful for the body. Particularly for those who experience, body (back, arms or legs) acne or ingrowns.
Toning Mist: While I have a detailed review on C + Collagen Perfect Skin Set & Refresh Mist, to summarise my experience all I can say is ‘I’m on my second bottle‘. I’ve used this mist under makeup (after cleansing and before moisturizing) and over makeup. It truly does hydrate and replenish the skin. Generally I avoid misting spring water, toners over makeup because it makes me look oily, makeup cracks in pores and skin feels tight and dehydrated. This however, I’ve been spraying at all random times during the day (purely because I’m greedy for glow) over makeup. Plus it has a wonderful pleasant scent with a remarkable inci list.
Serums: For Brightening, Hydration, Anti-Aging, Uneven skin tone
Let me start with my personal fave line of serums from the Ferulic + Retinol line which includes the Brightening Solution and Overnight Serum. I have a separate post comparing the two serums (linked Here). Both the serums have different formulation, delivery method, purpose in life and compatibility with various skin types and concerns. The Brightening Solution is for anyone with uneven skin tone, sun damage, scars from pimples and overall need for brightening the skin. While Overnight Serum has an addition of Niacinamide making it perfect anyone looking for an effective anti aging product. I believe the overnight serum is an all rounder with AHAs, Antioxidants, and Niacinamide.
My skin has been very finicky about Vitamin C serums, until this serum was introduced: C + Collagen Brighten and Firm Vitamin C Serum – Lets start with the packaging, in an air tight bottle with a pump. I couldn’t ask for more, exactly same packaging is used for Ferulic + Retinol Overnight Serum. A beautiful caramel colored (deliberately added to avoid the appearance of oxidized vitamin C), gel consistency makes it super light and absorbs in the skin instantly. I’ve noticed in many other vitamin C serums where the product leaves a tacky, glossy and even glittery finish on the skin. None of those offensive and glow deceiving feels with DrDG serum. Also a lot of Vitamin C serums irritate my skin (Ascorbate vitamin C) or leave it red (referring to Ordinary here). DrDG serum has their patented 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Lactic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Collagen Amino Acids, Superoxide Dismutase, Glycine, Carnitine HCl, Ubiquinone, Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stable form of Ascorbic acid, and is lipid (fat) soluble), Mandelic Acid, Kudzu Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid….Basically the formulation is fantastic and is one of more gentler, effective Vitamin C serums my skin has got along with. This serum could suit any skin type, followed with a nourishing oil/balm or moisturizer.
DrDG also introduced a range of Clinical Concentrate Boosters for Hydration and Radiance. Lets talk about the Hydration Booster first which is intended to replenish hydration containing Hyaluronic acid, Evening primrose extract, Coconut fruit juice, among other stellar ingredients bottled in an obvious blue bottle. This colourless serum is light, sinks in the skin instantly, can be used as a spot treatment (under eye for fine lines or blemishes to instantly calm the redness), or add a few drops to moisturizer, serum or foundation, and it instantly soothes, plumps and hydrates the skin. For any skin type, for any weather zone (humid or dry), for any age group, for any skin tone, for basically any one! Possibly my fave hydration serum of all time.
Moving along, Radiance Booster packaged in a bright trademark DrDG orange bottle. This is possibly one serum where I’ve found myself reaching for it when I’m desperate and not as consistently. Not sure why, if I had to attribute to one reason may be its the packaging for the serum consistency. The consistency is slightly thicker than the Hydration booster so the dropper dispensing mechanism is not my fave. Anyway, another experiment I’ve yet to try is to blend with moisturizer, serum or foundation. The ingredient formulation has a unique combination of Pyruvic, Tartaric, and Linoleic acids, antioxidants (Resveratrol, Quercetin), Glycolic and Lactic acid and Witch Hazel to resurface the skin. I find other serums in DrDG line more effective for resurfacing and radiance.
Welcome a new treatment moisturizer in the Alpha Beta family, the Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer. As Carrie Gross mentioned in her video with Sali Hughes, 2018 is the year of expanding the Alpha Beta line. And what a remarkable product to introduce to the existing range of products. It seems like a meaningful and impactful addition. For the experienced acid users and skins, to be used after peel however for others can be introduced in the routine gradually. Packaged in a beautiful frosted glass jar, with a cucumber scent (possibly the only factor I dislike in this product). Absorbs nicely and a gentle way to introduce acid exfoliation while hydrating the skin. Can be suited to most skin types. If you need only one moisturizer, this is it. It’s an all rounder really, exfoliates and hydrates. More mature skins might have more needs, but those specific needs can be addressed through potent serums, but for a moisturizer this is just enough if you can get past the strong cucumber scent.
Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion (oil free), is my reliable, dependable, second jar of the hydration moisturizer. Day or night, before makeup in the morning or after serum in the evening, standalone or mixed with couple of drops of oils (extra oomph) or foundation (for tinted moisturizer), in every way it ticks all boxes. This moisturizer applies beautifully, absorbs immediately (also sometimes mixed with DrDG Hydration booster), and truly leaves skin plump all day. At my work, the temperature control is horrible and during winters the heating sucks every bit of moisture leaving me a lizard face. It is extremely rare I use the same moisturizer daily, every single day. With this fella though it is a different story. Also layering with DrDG Hydration booster worked really well. While this could work with absolutely any skin type, for oily skins in particular this could be their wet dream (pun intended) and drier skins might need more (next cream would be perfect).
C+Collagen Deep Cream is a luxurious cream that claims to be powered by DrDGs proprietary energy complex, 3-O C patented vitamin C technology, and collagen amino acids. This cream is rich (includes nourishing oils) and deeply nourishes the skin. Sinks in nicely, leaves a dewy finish on skin and layers beautifully with all other skincare or makeup. The formulations key ingredients include; Aloe Vera, Niacinamide, Carnitine, Squalene, Amino Acids, host of Antioxidants, Biotin, Glycolic Acid and other restoring ingredients (Superoxide dismutase and CoQ10). While this worked well for me during winter, I think it would be heavy for my combination skin during a humid summer. Also on the basis of the formulation, dry skin or mature skins would adore this cream while the Hyaluronic cushion cream would be more appropriate for younger, oilier, dehydrated skins.
Firming Peptide Milk is possibly the most under-rated and under-raved moisturizing milk. And I was definitely one of those people who didn’t appreciate this enough. It is formulated with a nourishing firming complex including Tetrapeptide-21, Collagen Amino acids, and Ceramides. With a light milky consitency, one pump all over the face and it melts in the skin. Instantly hydrates and nourishes skin, and excellent under makeup. I particularly love this over DrDG’s Hydration Booster. They recommend using this after the Medi Spa peel and yes the results are excellent. Anddd the genius packaging with a twist top pipette which automatically dispenses the exact amount needed. Brainiac move DrDG!
Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum and Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is just is just my ideal eye love, treatment and nourishment. This is probably my only repeat bottle of an eye serum. Possibly on my third or fourth eye serum bottle, not sure I’ve lost count. It is a beautiful light serum which sinks in beautifully, doesn’t feel tight or dry (because of retinol). It doesn’t matter if I follow with cream or not. I tend to take this all over my eye, i.e. under eye and over the lid too. It has visible results for my uneven texture, fine lines, and visible tightening of eye zone (in a good way). Typically a retinol eye serum or cream would freak me out with the thought of dry sensitized eye area, none of those feels with this one. I couldn’t rave and recommend this eye serum enough because this is the only eye serum I’ve consistently used over the years.
Swiftly moving along to its extended partner, the Ferulic + Retinol eye cream, deliciously rich eye cream. I worked through only a jar (yes this involves dipping fingers in the jar) of this, but as I reminisce fond memories of this cream, this is what I can share with you. The biggest worry was would it cause milia due to its rich consistency and the biggest plus point is it didn’t cause any milia. On the flip side, this was deeply loved by my mother, for its rich consistency. I particularly loved using this on my crows feet, for my under eye I couldn’t steer away from the eye serum. I would definitely repurchase this cream when I can pull myself away from the eye serum.
One very important and most frequently asked question, does it address dark circles. Let me cut to the chase, No! Slight diversion to understand why do we have/inherit these pesky annoying dark circles? Genetics (hereditary), allergies, fatigue, low iron in blood, pigmentation which specific races are more prone to, lack of sleep. No topical application will ever get rid of some of these causes, but instead focus your energies on finding and investing in a good concealer. Nuff said. Moving along…..
C + Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream is also a newer addition to the eye range. Packaged in a slim plastic pump tube, no finger dipping and extremely convenient to travel with. This cream is intended to brighten the look of puffy, tired, and aging eyes. Formulated with DrDG’s patented 3-O C Vitamin C technology, Collagen Amino acids, Niacinamide this cream is light and smooth on application. Absorbs nicely and didn’t cause any milia. It definitely brightened the eye zone, and it didn’t have any fine mica particles for brightening. This is where the benefits stopped for me. The hydration for eye area is covered more with the next eye gel. All in all this is nice, but I prefer something like Ferulic + Retinol cream which covers many other aspects and needs for treating the eye zone.
Hyaluronic Marine™ Dew It All Eye Gel was initially and instantly dismissed by me as a gel. I’m not exactly as young, to allow a gel near my eye. It needs more than gel, a proper cream or something more substantial than a gel to thoroughly nourish my eye area. But I was wrong, my pre conceived notion of a gel for eyes was ignorant. After trying it, firstly I realized it is more creamy gel and secondly, it works under makeup, and doesn’t crease either. Although it claims 72 hours of hydration, far fetched in my opinion. I wouldn’t have skincare or makeup on my face more than 12-14 hours (max). I would still say, this is more of a day time eye cream under makeup or for younger skins. For emerging fine lines, plumpness and overall aging I would still prefer Ferulic + Retinol eye serum or cream.
Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask, ooooh this is one I have a love and hate relationship with. More so love for the results, hate (strong word, but major dislike I’d say) for the application. Its tricky and needs practice and skill. Comes in two separate packets, one is the Hyaluronic Cushion Gel to be mixed with Activating Powder in a bowl. The tricky part kicks in now, where it needs to be immediately applied to the skin (ideally in a thick and even layer). On application it instantly feels cool. The mask sets within a few minutes, but I leave it on for 20-30-40 mins (crazy I know). Removing the mask is oddly satisfying, nicely lifted and peeled off the skin. I don’t rinse my skin, follow with serum and moisturizer. The skin appears properly plump (well hydrated) and adds life to the skin. If you’re a pro at applying Korean Rubber masks, this will be breeze for you.
Well after all those peels and actives, the importance of sun protection needs to be of utmost importance. In DrDG’s line there are two options of sun protection. One is a physical sunscreen Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 (Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide), to protect against UVA and UVB rays. I’ve been through two tubes of this and definitely like this. Fantastic under makeup, absorbs nicely, no sticky or tacky feeling. Plus no white cast or greyish tones for me. I also use this over my ears, neck, chest, back of neck, arms and basically any exposed skin to the sun. I’ve also tried this in a dry summer and humid summer. Trust me this differentiation is noteworthy not only in performance but more importantly on how the skin adapts and reacts to the given product. In the crazy tropical humid summer is where this sunscreen fell slightly behind for me. It did get a little overbearing for my skin and had to resort to other misting sunscreens. However in a dry summer (thinking of you Colorado), this was perfect. Not only it protected me from the sun, but other ingredients like Sodium Hyaluronate, three forms of Vitamin C and other antioxidants nourished the skin.
Other option available includes the tinted physical sunscreens, Instant Radiance Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 40. Available in Light/Medium or Medium/Deep, while the shade range is not adequate, the coverage is sheer making it forgivable. For the most part the formula for both sunscreens appear to be the same, except the tinted one has illuminating properties which translates to tiny micro particles of Mica. Doesn’t make me shiny, or disco glow ball but the fact it has Mica does bother me slightly. I apply this with a wet sponge and finish is nice, but psychologically the Mica bothers me. This is just my personal preference and doesn’t reflect on the product itself. Hence I prefer the non tinted version from this line.
First up, is a basic but solid delivery steamer, Pro Facial Steamer Solutions. Anyone who has had regular facials would know that steaming with exfoliation is good way to deep clean and prep the skin for next steps. This steamer is exactly that. It defines exactly how much water is required, is timed (so you cannot over-do it) and the mist is extremely fine. Typically a part of my weekly facials, applying an enzyme based mask and steaming the skin, prepping it for extraction or next steps of skincare. Subsequent to steaming, other skincare products absorb much better in the skin, definite keeper.
Next up is Dr.DG DRx SpectraLite Eye Care Pro an unusual, FDA cleared device for your eye zone. Powered with 72 LED lights in the device, bringing professional light therapy at home intended to penetrate deep within the layers of skin, stimulating collagen production to improve skin density and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. It can be easily incorporated in the routine, very easy to use, takes only 3 minutes while I moisturize my body and have visible results. Followed with Ferulic+Retinol Eye serum and the results are definitely visible in matter of 2-3 weeks. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must have for everyone, but if eye area is a concern for you, would recommend looking into this investment.
So to round up my overall opinion, experience, and results from this brand is nothing but glowingly positive. I respect the brand from a Dermatologist’s lens, his overall skincare philosophy aligns with the way I want to protect, treat and nourish my skin. Not every single product works for me, in some instances due to formulation not working with my skin or just personal preference. But for the large part, if I choose the product appropriately for the skin condition I’m treating, it always works.
I’m a loud and proud #PeelAddict, no shame here. While I don’t peel twice a day, I always keep my stash adequately stocked. My husband uses it, I use it, my family uses it, my friends use it. I refuse to travel without it, especially long haul flights (traveling back home takes 22 hours, Chicago to Melbourne!!). What I also love about DrDG line, is there is a product for everyone (all ages, genders, skin types and concerns) and provides visible results on the skin.
#PeelAddict aka HHW.com