What: The VI Peel from American company Vitality Institute is a “self-neutralising” facial skin peel that is supposed to improve the “tone, texture and clarity of the skin; reduce or eliminate solar lentigines (age spots), treat hyper-pigmentation (including melasma), soften fine lines and wrinkles; clear acneic skin conditions; reduce or eliminate acne scars; and stimulate the production of collagen, for firmer, more youthful skin” says the brand.

Review VI Peel from Cutis Medical Laser Clinic DECOR

The VI Peel is said to be less damaging and less painful than other chemical-type peels, and is also one of the few peels that can successfully be used on darker skin tones; it was first created by Dr. Abdala F. Kalil to help treat his daughter’s acne.

The VI Peel is currently only available at Cutis Medical Laser Clinic in Singapore where it is applied by Dr Sylvia Ramirez, the Harvard-trained the medical and scientific director of Cutis Medical Laser Clinics.

The VI Peel costs $400 per treatment until the end of February, 2013, and is available from Cutis Medical Laser Clinic, Pacific Plaza #03-06, 9 Scotts Road. To contact the clinic, call 6327 9700 or email info@cutislaser.com. For more information about Cutis Medical Laser Clinic go to www.cutislaser.com or follow it on www.facebook.com/cutislaser. For more information about the VI Peel and the Vitality Institute, go to www.vipeel.com.

Review: Of the many and various aesthetic treatments I’ve tried, a chemical peel has not been among them as I’d heard so many stories about the pain, the unsightly peeling and extreme cases of burning. So I was interested to hear about the “practically pain-free” VI Peel that would give you the same sort of benefits that chemical peels are meant to provide like the removal of fine lines, pigmentation and scars.

Now, I have to own up right at the start and point out that any issues I had with the VI Peel were down to my existing dehydrated skin and tendency towards allergic reactions to various products.

Dr Sylvia sternly, but kindly, pointed out that since my skin was quite dehydrated – I’d literally just got off the plane from a week in icy-cold, super-dry Tokyo – I could experience more extreme peeling than was usual with this type of peel. I said I was sure I could handle it and the doctor agreed to perform the VI Peel on me.

So, the actual peel experience is practically painless; there is very little smell, very little irritation on first application and minimal pain. As the peel goes to work the feeling of “tightness” in the skin becomes more and more pronounced, but the provided “Post Peel Protectant” cream helps soothes it and you can use additional moisturisers if you need them, particularly around the eye area recommends Dr Sylvia.

On the first night after the peel – six hours later – you wash your face and apply a provided Retin-A pad, you are meant to use it particularly in those areas you wish to peel more, for example if you have a scarred area, you then apply the various moisturisers and should be set.

Now, this is where I first started to realise that maybe I should have listened to Dr Sylvia and waited until my skin was more hydrated. Some itching is expected due to the application of the Retin-A, however mine was out of control. It was so bad that I felt like I was going crazy.

Thankfully Dr Sylvia and her team are available practically 24-7 via email and text and when I contacted them about the itching at 10.30pm, I almost immediately got an answer; which was to wash off the Retin-A and apply a double dose of the Post Peel Protectant along with some pure hydrocortisone cream.

The relief from the itching was immediate and I happily went off to sleep – on my back and on a clean pillow slip. However when I woke the next morning I discovered, much to my dismay, that I was obviously allergic to something in one of the creams as I could barely see as my eyes were quite swollen.

This is entirely down to my allergic tendencies; so I had to ease off the Post Peel Protectant and stick to the hydrocortisone and my tried and tested, all-purpose miracle-in-a-jar Vaseline. The second time I used the Retin-A pad – on day two – I had almost no itching at all after I slathered on the Vaseline.

After working out my go-to tools, the rest of the peel was a doddle; yes, there was some pain after washing and re-applying the various moisturisers and “die die, must use” sunscreen; but that really was minor and only for the first 24 hours or so, and the actual peeling was not very unsightly at all.

You can technically wear makeup within about 48 hours of having the peel done, I held off for a couple of days but that was mainly due to the allergy rather than the peel. You do need to wear a high-factor sunscreen – which everyone should do anyway – but you’re not going to get unwanted pigmentation if a sliver of sun catches your face before you apply it in the morning.

Within about four days of the peel you could absolutely see an improvement in my skin texture, clarity and reduction of lines, and the bulk of the peeling skin was gone.

Absolutely everyone I came across remarked on how much “fresher” I looked, others asked if I’d had Botox as I’d lost some particularly prominent lines on my forehead; the fine lines and dark circles under my eyes were also dramatically improved.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the VI Peel; it didn’t really hurt, it wasn’t too unsightly and it definitely worked. I certainly plan to have another one when I need it; mind you, I’ll also make sure my skin is not even a little bit dehydrated before I do!

Rating: 4/5