Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel Review

Reviews, Skin Care

I think everyone has a type of beauty product they must try.  One of my friends is obsessed with Essie nail polish, while another needs every new Lancôme Juicy Tube.  Myself, I’m preoccupied with peels – nothing makes my skin look younger and more luminous faster!  I’ve been hooked on Origins Brighter By Nature High Potency Peel for almost a year now, but I still make it a choice to try any new products I may come across.  Which brings me to the Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel ($68.00,

Why I Won’t Be Making It A Staple

The problem with Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel isn’t that it doesn’t work.  It definitely works – use one of the moisture-soaked treatment pads tonight, and you’ll wake up with plumper, clearer, more luminous skin tomorrow.  The problem lies in why it works – a very high concentration of SD alcohol 40.

What’s Wrong with SD Alcohol 40?

SD Alcohol 40 is ethyl alcohol, AKA drinking alcohol.  Unfortunately, topical application of SD alcohol 40 can be drying or irritating to the skin.  It actually plumps up the skin because it is promoting inflammation of the individual skin cells – this in turn makes the skin look younger and the pores smaller (as they are wedged between the swollen skin cells) for a day or so.  However, in the long run, it’s not the best idea to keep inflaming your skin with products that contain a high concentration of SD alcohol 40.  What’s more, SD alcohol 40 depletes skin’s levels of vitamin A, so never use this product in conjunction with retinoids.

Still, I Don’t Count It Out Completely for Those with Non-Sensitive Skin Types

The reason Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel is “Microdelivery” at all is due to the SD alcohol 40.  Herein lies the problem:  Although it is drying and inflammatory to the skin, SD alcohol 40 is one of the cheapest ways to effectively deliver skin care ingredients deep into the skin.  Technically, SD alcohol 40 increases the penetration of other ingredients in a dose-dependent manner, meaning the more SD alcohol, the further into the skin the other ingredients get.  A study even showed that peak penetration occurs when a solution is as much as 90% ethyl alcohol, demonstrating just how effective SD alcohol 40 can be.

Therefore I must say that the benefits versus the detriments of SD alcohol 40 in this product must be weighed for each individual.  If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, psoriasis, or excessive dryness, stay far away.  On the other hand, if your skin drinks in mild glycolic acid solutions with an unquenchable thirst and only begs for more, then Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel might not be such a bad idea, especially when you consider the other benefits:

Niacinamide + Mandelic Acid = Love It

Many great couples have one harsh, brazen partner (like Miss Piggy or mandelic acid) and one lighter, more soothing one (Kermit or niacinamide).

For a skin care buff, seeing niacinamide and mandelic acid together for the first time is like having a friend named Miss Piggy and another named Kermit, holding a big party, and watching the magic unfold.  (At least for one of the parties).

They must be pretty ingenious to have dreamt this one up at Philosophy:  Mandelic acid is a potent, fairly harsh antioxidant that fights superficial fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity, according to a review in Clinics in Dermatology.  On the other hand, niacinamide is a mild anti-ager that best combats skin dryness ( International Journal of Dermatology).  When you throw in the fact that both fight hyperpigmentation (Clinics in Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology), you have every major sign of aging covered by these two – that is, fine lines/wrinkles, dullness, sagging, dryness, hyperpigmentation, and roughness.   

Bottom Line

Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel is a genius product for those who do not have sensitive skin, rosacea, psoriasis, or related skin conditions.  If your skin has tolerated glycolic acid and other AHA-based peels in the past, I highly recommend Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel!  Product Rating: 9/10.  (High or optimized concentration of key ingredients: 3/3.  Unique formulation or new technology:  3/3.  Value for the money:  2/3.  Sunscreen:  N/A).

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  • B Burns

    What’s happening with your blog-you never post anything anymore and what you do post is often dull stuff about yoga. Where did the in depth and regular product analysis posts go?

  • karen

    What sort of peels can you recommend for sensitive skin?

  • jen

    awesome article. just a question, so curious are you using the high origins potency peel or the brazilian peel? I read your reviews and you supported both, was just wondering which one you thought was better

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