It has come to my attention that I am 35-years-old and should be deadly serious about wrinkles and fine lines. A younger friend of mine recently Gchatted me to ask if I could recommend a few wrinkle-fighting products, as if she just assumed, thanks to my increasing age, that the crows feet by my eyes and the frown lines between my brows must be top of mind. It’s as if she thought I might have an arsenal of age-defying products bursting from my medicine cabinet or something. I don’t, but her inquiry left me wondering if I was in denial about caring for my skin. So when I was asked to test StriVectinLABS 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel, I jumped at the opportunity to act my age.

Product: StriVectinLABS 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel

We Think: We Love It! 

How To Use: StriVectinLABS 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel, a skin exfoliating and resurfacing treatment, is actually a two-item process that can be used as frequently as twice a week. First, you apply a thin layer of the Detoxifying Primer, which has a thick, lotion-like consistency, to your clean, dry face and allow it to absorb into the skin for one minute. Then you apply a thin layer of the AHA Activator on top (don’t wash off the primer!), a clear, gel-like substance similar to a serum, directly on top of your just-primed skin. Let it absorb into the skin for three to five minutes, the perfect amount of time to wander into the kitchen to pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and then on over to your laptop to check your email. When the time is up, use a warm, wet washcloth or something similar to wipe away any excess. There’s no need to wash your face with cleanser; you can just moisturize and prettify as usual.

Results: I must admit, I was actually kind of scared to try an at-home peel. I’m embarrassed to trot out a cliche “Sex and the City” reference, but any product containing the term “peel” will forever bring to mind Samantha Jones’ red, chapped face the day of Carrie Bradshaw’s big book party. I was definitely worried that I was in for at least a few days of skin-shedding before the eventual glow beneath was revealed. My skin is already prone to dryness in the winter months, and that’s especially true this year, as I’m living in a new apartment with an incredibly aggressive radiator and my skin is definitely having a difficult time adjusting. I figured a little excess shedding would be worth it if StriVectinLABS managed to make me flake-free for the rest of the season.

But, to my delight, my skin did not Samantha Jones-style peel at all after using the 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel — yet I could immediately feel and see that my skin was softer and brighter. The packaging suggests that you might feel some tingling while the AHA Activator is working its magic, and that it’s completely normal, but I barely noticed it. What I did notice was that, after less than a handful of uses, my skin felt and looked noticeably smoother and the areas where I was most prone to dryness — around my nose and on my chin — were flake-free. The pores in my T-zone, which have been a source of irritation ever since my acne-ridden teen years, are definitely less noticeable now. The frown line between my brows still has a little ways to go, but given what just a few applications have done for my skin overall, I have high hopes it’ll be a no-show at my 36th birthday party. And bonus: I finally have a wrinkle product to recommend to my friend.

Want more effective, at-home dermatology tips? Head over to our DIY Dermatology hub.