Ask The Doctor: Why Does A Chemical Peel Need To Have a Neutralizing Second Step?

8 minutes
April 01, 2023

When you hear the name Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, there is a good chance that the Alpha Beta Daily Peels come to mind. Since they hit the market over 20 years ago, the two-step peel has gained an international cult following, earning the spot of the #1 best-selling peel at Sephora, and winning over celebrity fans like Kim Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski, and Olivia Culpo. Impressive right? But what makes these holy grail wipes worth the skinvestment? The secret lies in the peel's two-step system and its blend of acids that deliver visible results without harming the skin. We asked Dr. Dennis Gross, board-certified dermatologist and creator of the Alpha Beta Daily Peels, to share the inside scoop on at-home chemical peels, the importance of having two-steps, and to highlight the peel's key ingredients that have led to so many amazing skin transformations around the globe. You know what they say, an Alpha Beta Daily Peel a day keeps the bad skin days away!

What is a chemical peel? 

Peels use a combination of acids (aka “chemicals”) to exfoliate the outermost layer of dead skin cells to reveal fresh, smooth, younger-looking skin underneath. This treatment can be done professionally or at-home (with a gentle alternative like the Alpha Beta Daily Peel) to help improve the look of fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone in a safe and effective way. However, when it comes to chemical peels, the key thing to remember is that a true chemical peel should always have two steps. This is the tried-and-true way to achieve the best results – after all, dermatologists have used two step peels for the past 50 years. The first step delivers acids and removes dead skin while the second step neutralizes.

Why is important for a peel to have a neutralizing second step?

It's imperative for a peel to have a neutralizing second step because it ensures that the exfoliation is controlled and the treatment is safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) don't have the ability to "turn off," and if they are left on the skin for too long or come in contact with the sun or other skincare actives, it can cause irritation or burns (depending on the strength of the acids).

What are the key actives in the second step of the Alpha Beta Daily Peels and how do they work? 

What makes the Alpha Beta Daily Peel second step so special is that it's jam-packed with clinically proven, potent active ingredients that go beyond a simple neutralizer. This multi-functional treatment delivers a concentrated dose of anti-aging actives and antioxidants that hydrate, calm, and restore the skin as it neutralizes acid activity from step one. Anti-aging ingredients like retinol improve skin tone and texture while antioxidants such as green tea, resveratrol, and ubiquinone (CO-Q10) soothe and protect skin cells from damaging free radicals. When used daily (as part of the two-step system), you will not only see a more youthful-looking, radiant complexion, but will also develop stronger, healthier skin from the inside out. 

Key Ingredients Found in Alpha Beta Daily Peels Step Two: 


The gold standard ingredient for targeting signs of aging, retinol is a tried-and-true dermatologist favorite. It works deep within the skin to stimulate collagen production and increase cell turnover to fade discoloration, firm skin, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. The key with this ingredient is to make sure it’s paired with antioxidants and soothing ingredients that strengthen the moisture barrier. That is how you get the full benefits, without risking irritation.

Green Tea Extract: 

This miracle botanical delivers numerous internal (think drinking a cup of green tea) and external (through applying skincare) health benefits. This plant-based antioxidant is loaded with polyphenols, a powerful class of antioxidants that protects against free radical damage and reduces signs of premature aging. In addition to being an extremely effective antioxidant, green tea extract is also known for its anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties, so it’s great for reducing redness and calming irritation post-exfoliation.


Phospholipids go hand-in-hand with a hydrated, glowing complexion. This lipid (fat) molecule draws moisture from the air and seals it into the skin to create a protective barrier and restore hydration wherever it's needed. Great for all skin types, phospholipids deeply moisturize without being occlusive (aka no clogged pores) and help drive other hydrating ingredients deeper into the skin, for a plump, full-looking complexion. They are also known to have antioxidant properties and shield the skin from environmental aggressors that cause skin aging.


This anti-aging powerhouse is commonly found in the skin of red grapes, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and pomegranates. Just like green tea exact, resveratrol is a type of polyphenol that defends the skin from harmful free radicals and stimulates healthy cell proliferation. In addition to being a powerful bodyguard for the skin, resveratrol also has calming and hydrating properties that help to reduce redness and inflammation, making it a great choice for people with rosacea, eczema, and other related skin conditions.        

Ubiquinone (Co-Q10): 

When it comes to skin aging, Co-Q10 turns back the clock. Co-Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant that plays a major role in energizing skin cells, protecting against oxidative damage, and stimulating collagen and elastin production. When we're younger, our skin is able to produce a healthy supply of Co-Q10, which allows us to maintain a vibrant, healthy-looking complexion. However, as we age, our Co-Q10 production slows down and wrinkles, dullness, and skin sagging start to show up. Fortunately, when applied topically, Co-Q10 fuels our cellular metabolism and helps cells to soak up more nutrients, improving overall skin health and appearance.

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Written By

Kayla Kernel

Kayla is a Medical Esthetician with 10+ years of experience. Growing up, Kayla struggled with cystic acne and scarring. This experience drives her passion to help others on their skincare journey. Kayla specializes in all skin types, tones, and ages.

Read More from Kayla Kernel

Written By

Kayla Kernel

Kayla is a Medical Esthetician with 10+ years of experience. Growing up, Kayla struggled with cystic acne and scarring. This experience drives her passion to help others on their skincare journey. Kayla specializes in all skin types, tones, and ages.

Read More from Kayla Kernel

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