Tested on animals:Yes
FIRMx Peeling Gel relies on fruit-based enzymes and a novel ingredient known as r-Bacillus licheniformis to peel skin. This ingredient may be a good keratolytic, which is a fancy way of stating that it exfoliates ("peels") keratin, the chief protein in skin, but the only research on this ingredient showing it can do that was on bird feathers (Source: Canadian Journal of Microbiology, March 2005, pages 191–196). So, of course, the next question is: What do bird feathers have to do with our skin? The answer is that the two don't have much in common, so it's a leap of faith to believe that what works to break down feathers will also work to break down dead, dull skin cells!
What about the enzymes this contains? Although those can break up and exfoliate dead skin cells, they are difficult to keep stable in a cosmetic formulation; in fact, in most cases, their activity is reduced simply by virtue of how cosmetics are manufactured. In essence, you'll get more reliable results exfoliating with an AHA or BHA product than with products that depend on enzymes. You can check out our top-rated options on our list of Best Exfoliants.
Otherwise, the manner in which this gel exfoliates is more in line with a topical scrub, only in a weird way. The directions say to apply to skin and then massage in a circular motion to "roll, lift, and sweep away dead cells," and then rinse it off just as you would a scrub. You're directed to leave the concoction on longer for "extra enzymatic action," but, as stated above, assuming those ingredients could remain stable, it's better to leave them on skin rather than rinse them off. In the end, this is more of an overpriced scrub than a state-of-the-art way to peel skin.
- The scrub action will make skin feel smoother.
- Expensive for what amounts to a scrub, not a peel.
- Cannot "decongest pores" as claimed, and the scrub effect isn't the best for use over blemishes.