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Dr. Dennis Gross

How I Even Out My Skin Tone

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I receive a lot of questions about skincare, but one of the most prevalent one is about evening out skintone. Tackling hyperpigmentation, dark spots or sun damage is a challenge and sometimes with over the counter products only so much progress can be made. However, one category of products that has had the strongest effect on helping me even out my skin tone is peels. Whether in the form of pads or a liquid like mask, regular use of them over time has helped reduce any uneven pigmentation on my skin. I will stress again though that all of these products are over the counter so results will never be as strong as a medical treatment or something prescribed from the dermatologist. But I still felt it was necessary to do this post and talk about some of my favorite ones that I have tried over the years, as well as three recent ones that I added to my routine and enjoyed greatly.
Three points to note before we get into the reviews: 1. If you are going to add a peel into your routine, it is essential that you wear sunscreen during the day (frankly you should always wear one, but especially when using peels). 2. Do a patch test to see how your skin will react. Peels are designed to be exfoliating and use different types of acids, so it’s wise to test it out on a small part of the face to ensure no reaction will take place. 3. I always apply my peels in the evening since I may get a tad red or flushed after, and I try to use them no more than 2x a week since I don’t want to overexfoliate my skin.
1. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel – These are a single use pad that can be wiped over the skin after cleansing and before applying treatment products. Though these state they are a “wrinkle recovery peel” due to the addition of retinol and ferulic acid in the pads, I find that using these for the past 2 months has helped slowly even out my skin tone, especially a dark spot on my cheek that recently popped up. It didn’t completely erase it, but I saw a definite fading. Additionally, these are wonderful for helping address any anti-aging concerns such as firmness, fine lines and lackluster skin.
2. Kat Burki Dual Acid Peel – I am new to the Kat Burki line, but was excited to have my introduction be this peel. It comes with a brush which I find always makes it feel more decadent when applying, and it’s designed to help retexturize, refine and reverse sun damage. With ingredients like avocado oil, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid, I found this peel helped not only smooth and even out my skin, but keep it hydrated as well. Initially when I first apply it, there is a strong tingling sensation. I was worried that it would remain the entire 10 minutes that I had to leave it on, but thankfully it subsided within the first 60 seconds. Occasionally with some peels, my skin can begin to feel tight as the liquid dries on the skin. Thankfully that was not the case at all – instead my skin felt incredibly comfortable and I forgot I was even wearing the peel. It came off very easily with warm water and I followed it with a soothing hydrating serum (love this one) and moisturizer (used this one).
3. Juice Beauty Green Apple Full Strength Peel – I heard wonderful things about this Juice Beauty peel so I was thrilled to be able to finally try it for myself. The texture is a lot runnier than the Kat Burki so it takes some getting used to when applying, but a thin layer is all that is needed for the face. I felt a tingling sensation within the first 30 seconds, but it subsided quickly and I was able to leave this on for 15 minutes. Afterwards, my skin was a tad flushed and red for about 20 minutes but it quickly went away and my skin felt soft, supple and radiant. In addition to addressing hyperpigmentation, this peel helps address firmness and reduces the appearance of fine lines. If you are sensitive or have rosacea, I would recommend trying their peel for sensitive skin rather than the full strength. 

These three that I have mentioned above are recent discoveries, but I rounded up some of my tried and true favorite peels (and one serum that is amazing at fading dark spots) in the widget below:
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Review: Kate Somerville DermaQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol and Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

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Ever since I began introducing retinol into my skincare routine, the results have been quite remarkable. All of the retinol products that I use are over-the-counter and less powerful than prescription strength retinoids but nonetheless I have found quite a few that deliver great results. Obviously many people associate retinol products with anti-aging because of their ability to resurface the skin, exfoliate and help prompt surface skin cells to turn over allowing for new cell growth underneath. But there are many other benefits to using retinols that I’ve discovered such as the ability to help prevent and treat acne and breaking up discoloration and/or dark spots. I’ve been pretty head over heels for this retinol product recently, but I am happy to have found two other retinol products that worked for my skin.
1. Kate Somerville DermaQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol – Let me first start by saying that the texture of this product is one that takes some getting used to. If you are a regular Kate Somerville user, you may be familiar with this delivery system. The product comes out in a cold foam and then breaks down to a liquid that you apply to the skin. I, however, love a unique texture in skincare so I was immediately intrigued. What also made me love this product was that it can be added in as a booster before your serum. The formulation is so thin and watery that I pairs well under any serum and is a great way to add in retinol without having to substitute it for something else. I usually follow this up with a hydrating serum and night cream (loving this one at the moment), but when I want to amp up the results I may use another anti-aging serum or moisturizer after. For me, the most noticeable results were on my breakouts which after just 3 nights appeared minimized and less red, and my skin looked incredibly fresh and glowy. Some retinol treatments can irritate the skin or dry it out a bit, but I found the complete opposite with this one. My skin stayed hydrated, soothed and never got flaky or red. The combination of the strong retionol ingredients in a hydrating formulation makes this a product an winner in my book.
2. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum – If the unique foaming texture of Kate Somerville’s Liquid Lift is not for you, this traditional serum formulation may be more up your alley. Formulated with retionol and ferulic acid, this overnight serum helps to address wrinkles, firmness and will work to retexturize the skin. While firmness is still not my number one issue, over the past few years I have noticed a slight decrease in elasticity and therefore products that target this concern provide a more noticeable difference to me than ever before. While the initial results for the Kate Somerville Liquid Lift were on my breakouts, this Dr. Dennis Gross serum first showed a change in the firmness of my skin. Each morning it looked taut and smooth, and there was a noticeable difference in the way my makeup looked after being applied. It wasn’t until about day 10 or 11 that I began to see a change in my acne. Breakouts cleared up, and recent blemish scars were almost gone. I only had a tiny bit of dryness after 6 days straight of using it, so I switched it up to every other night and the issue of flakiness went away immediately. There are a few products in this Ferulic + Retinol range so if you fall in love with the serum, there are a ton of other items to add to your arsenal. I am currently testing the peel from the range and will have a review on that shortly! 
*pr samples included
Shop more retinol products:

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Past Posts

Facial Pads Round Up

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I’ve been talking about the benefits of toners for quite a while now. They are an integral part of my skincare routine and help to both balance

My Quick Skincare Routine For Radiant Skin

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Though I have learned a lot about skincare over the years through reading articles coupled with good ol’ trial and error, I am still constantly seeking out

Skincare Products That Help Target Large Pores

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Large pores are the bane of my skin existence. I can deal with oily skin and maybe even a break out or two, but large pores are

Seeking Radiance

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Outside of trying to deal with any stubborn breakouts, the number one result I am constantly in search of is radiance. Obviously a serious peel or intense

A Recap Of All The Sun And Beauty Products I Brought With Me To The Beach

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Pale skin and sunscreen go together like peanut butter and jelly, like milk and cookies, like Maree and all cupcakes. I always have quite a few on