As a teenager and well into my 20s, my main skin concerns typically revolved around acne and my always-oily complexion. Keeping blemishes and oil at bay was the bane of my existence. Fast-forward to my current age of 35, and new obstacles in the form of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, crow’s feet, and collagen loss have become my latest frustration. Enter the $250 medical-grade chemical peel kit that I swear every 30-something should know about.
After years of reacting to my skin’s breakouts and unpredictable behavior with harsh astringents, mattifying powders, and oil-free moisturizers, I’ve happily adopted a more intentional, long-term skin care plan to give my skin exactly what it needs in this stage of my life, and this latest addition fits right in to my routine.
I first learned about said peel, Emerage’s Aerify Complexion Kit, from its creator, cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer (who administers my Botox and filler treatments). During my last visit, Dr. Emer mentioned Aerify as a means to enhance and improve upon the results of my injectables. Up until then, my only experience with peels had been those of the professional variety, which left me with memories of itchy, enflamed skin that peeled excessively for a week straight. The idea of going through that at home without a trained professional nearby made me a bit hesitant.
That said, Dr. Emer’s reputation and knowledge, not to mention the before-and-after results I saw captured on his Instagram account put me at ease. He even offered to walk through the application of the overnight peel and the rest of the two-week kit, step-by-step to ensure all was done safely and correctly. At this point, my skin was feeling the effects of excessive mask wearing and the stress of the past year, so maskne, dullness, and fine lines were my main concerns I wanted to address with this kit. Dr. Emer’s reassurance coupled with promises of glowing, supple skin had me sold.
Now, the kit itself consists of six products that are each incorporated into a two-phase process. The first phase consists of first washing your face with a provided Foaming Polish, which contains papaya enzymes and a complex of vitamins A, C, and E, and the overnight peel itself, the Aerify Illuminating Mask. According to Dr. Emer, this hero formula contains trichloroacetic acid (TCA), retinol, and lactic acid to gently remove dead skin cells and stimulate new skin cell growth. Right before bedtime, I washed my face with the foaming cleanser and followed up with a generous layer of the orange-tinged Illuminating Mask all over my face and upper neck. To avoid making a mess while you sleep, I recommend covering your pillow with a towel!
The next morning, after rinsing the mask off my face, my skin had a nice sheen to it. It felt a bit tight, but that’s to be expected of this treatment, according to literature on the product. I then proceeded with the two-week second phase which consists of a morning routine that includes the Foaming Polish, High Spot (a light cream that’s infused with vitamin C and hydrating botanicals), and the Fusion Shield (a tinted broad-spectrum SPF). At night, the roster includes the Polish, Hyla-A (a retinol-infused moisturizer), and High Spot. I was also given a gel-like solution called Soothe that I could apply as needed throughout the day and night to help with itchiness, tightness, and flaking.
To ensure optimum results, I followed this regimen diligently, and made sure to avoid working any other skin care into the mix to avoid flare ups or irritation. I also used makeup sparingly, which was easy as the Fusion Shield has some camouflage properties that gave my skin some nice coverage.
Within two to three days, the peeling process was well underway, particularly around my mouth and cheeks. As tempting as it was to scratch the areas, I managed to control myself (scratching and picking can cause scarring!). I also kept sun exposure to a minimum, wore a hat and sunnies when outdoors, and avoided strenuous exercise for the first few days into my peel process. I was determined to achieve the shiny, radiant complexion of my 20s!
About a week into the treatment, said radiance appeared. After all the peeling around my face had run its course (it only took about three days total), my skin had a natural glow that I hadn’t seen in years. My pores around my nose also appeared smaller, the lines around my eyes and upper forehead seemed a bit less pronounced, and much of the maskne I had been experiencing around my chin was clearing up considerably. I was impressed. And while I didn’t see increased improvement in that final second week, the results from the first seven days were enough to keep me happy as a clam in my newly shed skin.
The Aerify Kit is intended to to be used once a month or so, but at $250 bucks a pop, that may be a bit steep for some — including me. However, I can definitely see myself working the peel in as a seasonal refresh every few months or so and supplementing with regular professional facials. Consistent upkeep and deeper exfoliation is so important for 30-something skin (and beyond!). I also think this a great product for those preparing for a major event or special occasion. All in all, I give this experience two enthusiastic thumbs up.
If you’re interested in jumping on the peel parade, check out the Aerify Complexion Kit below, as well as other at-home peel options to get the party started.
Emerage Cosmetics – Aerify Complexion Kit
This six-product kit promises more radiant, refined skin in two weeks.
Kate Somerville – KateCeuticals Resurfacing Overnight Peel with Glycolic Acid, Retinol & Niacinamide
This clinical-grade overnight treatment reduces the appearance of dark spots, lines, and wrinkles while you sleep, revealing clearer and plumper skin.
PCA Skin – Micro-Peel At-Home Kit
This extensive set comes with everything you need for the complete peel experience. From offering proper cleansing, proper post-care, and of course, the enzymatic peel, this is the ultimate at-home formula.
Dr. Dennis Gross – Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel
This two-step process stars potent alpha-hydroxy acids to slough away dead skin cells, revealing a smoother, brighter complexion.
goop – GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Overnight Glow Peel
“Inspired” by chemical peels, these pads feature 15% glycolic acid to refine and improve skin texture.
Perfect Image – Glycolic 70% Gel Peel
This ultra-strength peel includes a potent concentration of 70% glycolic acid to target wrinkles and lines.
Thrive Cosmetics – Overnight Sensation™ Gentle Resurfacing Peel
This overnight peel packs a punch to address dark spots, brighten dark spots and uneven texture.