Between the name Dermalogica and the no-nonsense packaging, the brand's product have a solid image of strong performers and serious skincare. Dermalogica is easy to find: carried by Ulta in store and online, as well as at Drugstore.com, where it's touted as a innovative line based on active ingredients. I'm a big fan of acids- lactic, mandelic, glycolic, salycilic; they really do work. So testing Dermalogica was an obvious move. The first two products I chose were cleansers: a tall bottle of Skin Resurfacing Cleanser from the Age Smart range, and the heavy duty Gentle Cream Exfoliant.
Skin Resurfacing Cleanser is your basic foaming cleansing lotion. It can be used with a Clarisonic brush and seems to remove makeup traces and other skin debris. The cleanser is loaded with lactic acid (third ingredient on the list), but it also contains SLES (sodium laureth sulfate), a strong foaming agent that is far too dated and known as a serious irritant. Between the SLES and the fact that the cleanser doesn't stay on one's skin long enough to make the lactic acid amount to anything, I have to say that I'm not impressed. There are gentler and more pampering options in every price range (my favorites: Elemis and Paula's Choice), so I can't say I see the point of Dermalogica's Skin Resurfacing Cleanser. $40, 5.1oz.
The Gentle Cream Exfoliant is actually a mask (similar to the one by Chella). You apply a nice layer over cleansed skin, leave it for 10-15 minutes (be careful the first couple of times and be prepared to remove it sooner if the stinging becomes too much) and rinse it off. It's a 1-2 times a week max treatment that combines lactic acid, salicylic acid, sulfur and fruit enzymes. These are active efficient ingredients that remove dead skin cells, debris, and gunk from the pores. This level of chemical exfoliating increases the efficiency of serums and hydrating products, resulting overtime in a better looking skin. If you're completely new to chemical peels, during the first few weeks of use (starting about three days after application) you might see some visible peeling. It means that the acids found quite a bit of dead skin that needed to go. In later weeks there's far less visible peeling and a lot more radiant skin. Since this Dermalogica product is $21 cheaper than Chella, it might be a good place to start. $39, 2.5oz.