Skin Sparkling Facial: The Dermalogica BioSurface Peel

 Liberty xmas baubles

You can’t get much more Christmassy than the beautiful Liberty department store in London. It oozes Great British charm and its old fashioned façade and quaint wooden panelling and staircases are the perfect backdrop to festive decorations. That’s why each year I can’t resist dropping in and drumming up enthusiasm for the busy few weeks ahead by visiting the sparkle and glitter of the 4th floor Christmas Shop. This year I caught sight of my reflection in a shiny bauble and decided that my complexion could do with a bit of added sparkle too.

With shopping bags in hand, I headed straight for the beauty counters on the ground floor and discovered that renowned high quality skincare company, Dermalogica recently bought out a new facial called the BioSurface Peel, designed to bring back that flush of youth without any down time, so after having a simple patch test on the skin behind my ear, I booked myself in for the next day…

I meet skin specialist Leila – whose complexion is flawless – like smooth porcelain – in the Dermalogica treatment room where she gives me a comprehensive consultation form to fill in and the low down on what to expect from the facial but I don’t really take it all in as I’m so transfixed by her incredible skin. So I’m delighted when she tells me she has this treatment regularly – I hope she’s a testament to its effectiveness!

The Facial Begins

dermalogica facial


Leila begins by thoroughly cleansing and degreasing my skin with a product containing salicyclic acid which she explains is excellent at sloughing off dead skin cells to enable maximum penetration of subsequent ingredients into the cells. At this point she extols the virtues of regular exfoliation for all skin types and eases my worries about the possibility of over exfoliating – as long as I choose good quality exfoliators and not the old fashioned scratchy apricot kernals!

Next, Leila uses cotton wool to wipe the peel onto my skin – this Enzyme Active product is packed with ingredients that deliver a skin brightening punch such as pumpkin fruit enzymes, papain, protease and amniopeptidase enzymes. This step of the facial enhances the job of the previous salicylic acid application but rather than some medical grade peels which contain synthetic retinoids, Leila tells me this is a much gentler, botanical alternative which offers similar end results without the Freddie Kruger style peeling face!

The lotion is left on my skin for 5 minutes and Leila asks me to let her know on a scale of 1-10 the level of any type of sensation I feel. There’s a slight tingling as the ingredients get to work – it feels a bit like Space Dust prickling on the skin but isn’t unduly uncomfortable. I say I’m at a 3 ½ at the most. By the end of 5 minutes this level has gone down to a 1 and so my next layer of peel is applied. This time there’s another product at work – the Acid Active solution which delivers lactic acid and a further boost of skin cell exfoliation, helping to remove debris from follicles in the sebaceous glands and aid cell turnover. This time my ‘stingy’ level shoots up to a 5. My skin heats up and I start to itch a little bit around my mouth and eyes but Leila assures me this is all normal as long as I am telling the truth about the level I’m feeling – otherwise I might wind up looking like a peeling tomato.

As my skin seems to be taking the peel well, I go for a 3rd layer for deeper results but as this is my first treatment, Leila says she wouldn’t apply anymore than 2 or 3 layers as the skin needs to get used to it. If I was having a course of 3 or more treatments the skin would be able to get better results with more layers of peel.

My skin soon settles down to a level 1 and Leila starts on the final phase of the facial by using a Decelerator product. It feels lovely and cool and is the perfect respite from the tingling and heat caused by the previous steps and the creamy lotion feels as if it’s literally being slurped up by my skin as quickly as it’s massaged in. This product halts the exfoliation process with a blend of sodium bicarbonate (hence the bubbling on my skin) yeast extract and soothing cucumber fruit, Japanese green tea, oat leaf and saponaria leaf extracts. Smells yummy too.

The Facial Results

My skin feels calm and comforted now but I wonder if that deliciously soothing final step was enough to temper the powerful effects of the peel. Looking in the mirror afterwards I am thrilled to see my complexion looks healthily hydrated, glowing and revitalised – not a hint of tomato anywhere! I’m given a pack to take away with me which contains mini products for 3 days worth of aftercare. There’s UltraCalming Cleanser, Barrier Repair, Intensive Moisture Balance, Super Sensitive Shield SPF30 and a MultiVitamin Thermafoliant to buff away any signs of peeling. With a new, fresh complexion and a bag of skincare goodies, I feel like Christmas has come early!

biosurface peel pack

The Lowdown on Facial Peels

Chemical peels have become sought after for their excellent results in treating ageing skin, hyperpigmentation and acne as well as improving skin texture and brightening the complexion. However, they can often be aggressive and result in days of downtime. Skincare experts at Dermalogica recognise the need for effective exfoliation treatments without down time and so developed the BioSurface Peel Facial to deliver outstanding results but it’s a less harsh, and less costly alternative to a medical grade chemical peels. BioSurface Peel is recommended as a series of 3 to 6 treatments but a one off treatment is ideal for a pre party skin treat and costs around £80 (prices vary nationwide) and a mini aftercare pack is included. For stockist details, call 0800 591818 or visit







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