StriVectinLabs 5 Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel
1.7 fl. oz. for $89
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This weekly-use oddly fragrant AHA peel is consists of two products, each sized at 1.7 ounces. Up first is Step 1, the Detoxifying Primer. It's said to detoxify skin and prepare it for the peel that follows. What's wrong with that statement? Well, skin doesn't harbor toxins and cannot be detoxified! True detoxification (with a toxin being equivalent to a poison the body seeks to get rid of) is handled by the liver and kidneys, not the skin.

So, you're directed to apply the Detoxifying Primer (which won't detox skin and really isn't prepping, either) and leave it on for one minute, after which you don't rinse it. Instead, you proceed to Step 2, the AHA Activator. Here's where things get interesting…

The second ingredient in Step 1 is sodium bicarbonate. Also known as baking soda, this ingredient has a naturally alkaline pH. The Detoxifying Primer has a pH of 8, which is alkaline. In order for an AHA exfoliant (or peel, if you prefer) to work, it must be formulated at an acidic pH. The AHA activator, which contains 10% of the AHA ingredients glycolic and lactic acid, has an acidic pH of 4.2, which is just slightly outside the ideal range AHAs need to function best.

Your natural next question might be: How can applying an acidic peel over an alkaline "prep" step help make it work better? The answer, of course, is that it cannot. In fact, applying the acidic Step 2 over the alkaline Step 1 leads to a pH of 9, which is alkaline enough to be irritating to skin, which is naturally acidic. Although we typically don't review products based on our personal experience with them (we prefer to examine the claims and ingredients vs. what published scientific research says is true), we have to tell you that mixing these two products results in uncomfortable tingling and itching within the first minute, and skin continued to feel irritated afterward.

In the end, this 2-step system is a bust. It's more gimmicky than useful, and drastically overpriced for what you get. There are some excellent AHA exfoliants available, including those available in concentrations of 10–12% for peel-like results at home (though the types of peels a dermatologist can provide are stronger, you can use at-home peel products with lower amounts of AHA more often). You'll find them on our list of Best AHA Exfoliants.

  • None.
  • A gimmicky bust that's incapable of peeling (exfoliating) skin when used as directed.
  • Combining the steps as directed results in an alkaline product that can irritate and dry out skin.
  • Overpriced given this does not approach what a genuine AHA exfoliant or AHA peel can do.
  • Both products contain irritating ingredients you don't want to see in an exfoliant (where the operative word should be "gentle").

5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel is a potent, two-step resurfacing and exfoliating treatment with the highest level of Glycolic and other AHA acids available for home use. The 5-minute, weekly skin renewal treatment helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and diminishes the look of pores. Instantly, it improves clarity and enhances radiance for a luminous, youthful glow.


Step 1 - Aqua (Water, Eau), Sodium Bicarbonate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glyceryl Stearate, Myristyl Nicotinate, PEG-150 Stearate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Zinc Oxide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocamide MEA, Steareth-21, Kaolin, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Saccharomyces Lysate, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Threonine, Valine, Behenyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Ceteareth-20, Arachidyl Glucoside, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Tetrasodium EDTA. Sodium Benzoate, Parfum (Fragrance), Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Chlorphenesin, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI 42090 (Blue 1)

Step 2 - Butylene Glycol, Aqua (Water, Eau), Lactic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycolic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

StriVectin At-A-Glance

Strengths: A good cleanser and a couple of worthwhile moisturizers.

Weaknesses: Expensive; The original (and now the "improved" StriVectin-SD product (and every other product sold under this brand name) is absolutely not better than Botox; some of the products contain irritant peppermint oil; the Deep Wrinkle serum is terrible.

We had previously written about the original StriVectin-SD, when a reader asked about its ability to repair stretch marks. That was StriVectin's initial claim to fame, though the fame was all self-promoted, as there is not a single independent, peer-reviewed study to prove that StriVectin is an effective option for repairing stretch marks. The studies that do exist about StriVectin's benefits for stretch marks were paid for by Klein-Becker, the company that distributes StriVectin (and is associated with Bremenn Research Labs, which has a growing history of trouble with the FDA and various watchdog advertising organizations).

According to the company's ads, they were surprised to find that not only was StriVectin-SD getting rid of women's stretch marks, but also that somehow their facial wrinkles were going away, too. This discovery lead to the astounding "antiwrinkle breakthrough of the decade." What followed were the now-famous magazine ads that posed the question of whether StriVectin was "Better Than Botox?" Not surprisingly, this ad captured the attention of millions of people concerned with mitigating signs of aging "without painful injections".

Regrettably, no supportive research needs to be available to sell this kind of hyperbole. All it takes is to promise women that a product will get rid of their wrinkles and they will buy it in droves, no matter how many other product lines, infomercials, advertisements, or cosmetics salespeople pledge the exact same thing. StriVectin isn't and was never "better than Botox"!

Of course, now the original, lauded StriVectin-SD product has been replaced by what the company describes as a "super-charged comprehensive skin repair cream for stretch marks, wrinkles, and aging skin". It seems there's no aging skin concern this product cannot address, but as it turns out, the updated formula presents the same drawbacks as the original, although it is arguably a better formulation (just not for stretch marks).

As for the rest of the StriVectin line, it contains proportionately more misses than hits. It isn't the anti-wrinkle answer and in fact some of their products contain the type of irritating ingredients that hurt your skin's ability to look and function in a younger manner.

For more information about StriVectin, call 1-800-430-0227 or visit www.strivectin.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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585632-IIS4 v1.0.0.431 10/5/2015 6:45:06 PM