StriVectinLabs 5 Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel
This weekly-use oddly fragrant AHA peel is consists of two products, each sized at 1.7 ounces. Up first is Step 1, the Detoxifying Primer. It's said to detoxify skin and prepare it for the peel that follows. What's wrong with that statement? Well, skin doesn't harbor toxins and cannot be detoxified! True detoxification (with a toxin being equivalent to a poison the body seeks to get rid of) is handled by the liver and kidneys, not the skin.
So, you're directed to apply the Detoxifying Primer (which won't detox skin and really isn't prepping, either) and leave it on for one minute, after which you don't rinse it. Instead, you proceed to Step 2, the AHA Activator. Here's where things get interesting…
The second ingredient in Step 1 is sodium bicarbonate. Also known as baking soda, this ingredient has a naturally alkaline pH. The Detoxifying Primer has a pH of 8, which is alkaline. In order for an AHA exfoliant (or peel, if you prefer) to work, it must be formulated at an acidic pH. The AHA activator, which contains 10% of the AHA ingredients glycolic and lactic acid, has an acidic pH of 4.2, which is just slightly outside the ideal range AHAs need to function best.
Your natural next question might be: How can applying an acidic peel over an alkaline "prep" step help make it work better? The answer, of course, is that it cannot. In fact, applying the acidic Step 2 over the alkaline Step 1 leads to a pH of 9, which is alkaline enough to be irritating to skin, which is naturally acidic. Although we typically don't review products based on our personal experience with them (we prefer to examine the claims and ingredients vs. what published scientific research says is true), we have to tell you that mixing these two products results in uncomfortable tingling and itching within the first minute, and skin continued to feel irritated afterward.
In the end, this 2-step system is a bust. It's more gimmicky than useful, and drastically overpriced for what you get. There are some excellent AHA exfoliants available, including those available in concentrations of 10–12% for peel-like results at home (though the types of peels a dermatologist can provide are stronger, you can use at-home peel products with lower amounts of AHA more often). You'll find them on our list of Best AHA Exfoliants.
- A gimmicky bust that's incapable of peeling (exfoliating) skin when used as directed.
- Combining the steps as directed results in an alkaline product that can irritate and dry out skin.
- Overpriced given this does not approach what a genuine AHA exfoliant or AHA peel can do.
- Both products contain irritating ingredients you don't want to see in an exfoliant (where the operative word should be "gentle").
5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel is a potent, two-step resurfacing and exfoliating treatment with the highest level of Glycolic and other AHA acids available for home use. The 5-minute, weekly skin renewal treatment helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and diminishes the look of pores. Instantly, it improves clarity and enhances radiance for a luminous, youthful glow.
StriVectin put itself on the skincare map with its original StriVectin-SD cream, designed to treat stretch marks. The product took off and became the cornerstone of skincare collection whose focus is now on anti-aging. Its main selling point is its use of myristyl nicotinate (called NIA-114 in brand literature), which is related to and has many of the same properties as niacinamide.
Overall, the brand has some worthwhile products and for the most part theyre in packaging that will protect their ingredients from light and air. Unfortunately there are a number of options that include fragrance and other potential irritants, which are noted in our individual reviews.
As of 2019, StriVectin no longer sells in mainland China and is now cruelty-free. For more information about StriVectin, visit www.strivectin.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.