Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel review

You know how I always recommend you use glycolic acid and retinol on alternate nights?

Dr Dennis Gross wants you to use them together. Well, not together together. Together one after the other.

Maybe I should start again?

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel is a dual step exfoliating treatment. Step 1 exfoliates and smoothes while step 2 is the anti-aging neutraliser.

It will all make sense in a minute, I promise.

Step 1: Exfoliate & Smooth

Step 1 is the peel. It uses a blend of six acids to do the job. They’re glycolic, salicylic, lactic, mandelic, malic and citric.

These acids work by dissolving the glue that holds skin cells together. Once the old, damaged dead cells shed off, they’re replaced by the younger, smoother cells underneath. Results? Skin looks softer, brighter and smoother.

A couple of these acids go the extra mile. Glycolic acid, for example, also hydrates skin and boosts collagen while salicylic acid unclogs pores and prevents breakouts.

The catch? The ph must be right, preferably around 3.5, to make these acids work their best. I haven’t measured the ph of this solution myself but Beautypedia reports it at 4.7. A little too high to do a good job. πŸ™

The other thing I don’t like about it? Alcohol. This stuff has a lot of alcohol. I’m not sure why. Exfoliation alone can be a little drying, especially when done daily. To add a huge dollop of a drying ingredient is just asking for trouble, in my opinion. πŸ™

P.S. In case you’re wondering where the name comes from, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acids while the others acids are members of the alpha hydroxy acids family. πŸ˜‰

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Should You Use?

Struggling to put together an anti-aging skincare routine that keeps wrinkles at bay and gives you a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” cheat sheet to get started. It features product recommendations + right application order:

Step 2: Anti-Aging Neutralizer

I know, how cool is that. A neutraliser!… What the heck is that?!

A solution that neutralises the acids so they stop doing their exfoliating job. Because if you exfoliate your skin daily, you don’t want to leave the acids on too long.

This step uses baking soda (yep, another harsh, drying ingredient) to do the job. The worst part? You DON’T need a neutraliser at all. Plain old cold tap water will do the job. 

It’s a shame Dr Dennis Gross felt the need to add baking soda here because I could really get on board with the rest of the formula.

This stuff is full of antioxidants, like vitamin E and green tea, to prevent new wrinkles from forming and retinol to reduce the ones you already have.

By the way, I still don’t recommend you use retinol with glycolic acid. Only the most resistant of skin types can take it.

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol

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Pre-soaked, soft pads. They’re not harsh on the skin at all.


Subtle and forgettable.

How To Use It

Dr Dennis Gross recommends you massage each step on your skin for about two minutes.

That works for normal and resistant skin types. If yours is more sensitive, massage them for less.

If your skin is red after the peel, you’ve massaged them on for too long.

Don’t use them more than 3 times a week! Exfoliating is NOT a daily job. Don’t trust those who tell you otherwise.

Related: How Often Should You Exfoliate With AHAs/BHA?

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Performance & Personal Opinion

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel aren’t the gentlest of exfoliants. That Extra Strength in the name is there for a reason.

Luckily, I didn’t experience any dryness, tingling or irritation. But then my skin is used to these ingredients.

If you’ve never used them before, your skin may react differently. If your skin is sensitive, please don’t go anywhere near these. Powerful ingredients like retinol coupled with drying stuff like alcohol can do some serious irritating damage to your delicate skin.

Everyone else, does this work? Yes…ish. My skin was a little brighter after using the peel. My pores looked tighter too and my skin was softer to the touch.

But, now that my skin’s on the dry side, I feel using it daily can make it feel a little tight and uncomfortable (that’s a sign of a damaged protective barrier). πŸ™

I don’t think these pads are totally useless. But there are better and gentler ways to get the same results.

Who Is This For?

Resistant, mature skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Acne-prone skin
  • Oily skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Very dry skin


I like the idea of individual pads. Each step is packaged in its own ratchet, which makes them so travel-friendly. If you’re travelling, you can just throw 3 or 4 (or however many you need) in your carry-on and be ready to go.

Each box contains 30 treatments.

Does Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel Live Up To Its Claims?

A fast-acting, two-step daily treatment for clinical results at home. You can’t get the same results at home that you get at the doctor’s office (but you knew that already. πŸ˜‰ ).
Our strongest dose of 7 acids plus antioxidants and vitamins lift away dead skin along with excess oil & impurities, while improving uneven tone & texure. True.

Price & Availability

$88.00/Β£77.00 at Cult Beauty and Sephora

Do You Need It?

Nope. There are gentler exfoliants around that work just as well.

Dupes & Alternatives

Step 1 Ingredients

Water, Alcohol Denat. (SD Alcohol 40-B), Glycolic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Menthone Glycerin Acetal, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Copper PCA, Zinc PCA, Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate.

Step Two Ingredients

Water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Resveratrol, Retinol, Ascorbic Acid, Ubiquinone, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Soy Isoflavones, Achillea Millefolium Extract , Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Zinc PCA, Lecithin, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Alcohol, BHT, Octoxynol-9, Simethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol.