iS Clinical Active Peel System Review

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I discovered iS Clinical after a facial with an esthetician at a local plastic surgeon’s office. I sheepishly walked away from that facial with hundreds of dollars of product, including this SkinMedica serum and the iS Clinical Active Peel System, which is what I’m reviewing today. I’m a bit of a skincare junkie and constantly try new products so if I buy something more than once (especially if it becomes something I always have), you know it’s good. The IS Clinical Peel System fits that — it’s a must-have in my skincare cabinet.

The iS Clinical brand was founded in 2000 by biochemist Bryan Johns and Alec Call who focused on creating skincare products with pure, pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. It’s high-performing, and the results are pretty amazing. I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of iS Clinical before my facial, and I think that’s because it’s not sold in many of the popular beauty stores, like Sephora or Ulta. This is a brand that you likely find at your dermatologist’s office, or online at places like DermStore, which means, as you’ve probably already gathered, it’s effective…and pricey. I’ve typically by the peel system at Amazon but it’s also carried at DermStore.

Alright, let’s get into the details.

iS Clinical Active Peel System Review

The iS Clinical Active Peel System is a two step treatment designed to polish and rejuvenate your skin, and I can attest that it does just that. The system contains two pads/towelettes, which you use consecutively.

Here are the benefits:

  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size
  • Resurfaces the skin (powerful yet gentle botanical acids acids combined with soothing botanical extracts make this an A+ combo)
  • Improves skin tone, texture, and smoothness
  • Provides rapid and long-term results
  • Improves overall health and integrity of the skin

So basically, it’s a two step at-home facial. It’s designed to be used every other day, but because of the price, I use them just once a week. I can only imagine the results I would see if I were to use this system 3-4 times a week, versus just once. However, I use another leave-on peel product – Beautycounter’s Overnight Peel (or a retinol) and an AHA mask 1-2x a week (not on the same nights as the iS Clinical peel pads), so I am getting regular skin turnover. I try not to exfoliate every night since that’s too drying so I rotate among the three, as part of My Skin Cycling routine.

iS Clinical Active Peel System Active Ingredients

Step 1 and Step 2 have different ingredients because they do different things. But together, the system is a powerful combo. First, let’s talk about the ingredients in Step 1.

Step 1

Step 1, which is the first pad you use does the gentle exfoliation using botanical acids, and then the second pad gives you the hydration from Botanical Extremozyme technology and Copper Tripeptide-1. This step designed to provide controlled exfoliation, featuring a proprietary combination of powerful yet gentle botanical acids combined with soothing, nurturing botanical extracts. Your skin WILL tingle with this step and may be a little red. I honestly LOVE the feeling.

Mixed Fruit Acids

This pad provides exfoliation featuring a proprietary blend of fruit and sugar acids to exfoliate, smooth skin and decrease the appearance of fine lines while also helping other ingredients absorb better.


This sugar-derived AHA gently exfoliates skin for a renewed complexion, which means skins looks fresher and brighter after just one use. It also improves skin turnover to increase radiance and appearance overtime. It’s the same type of AHA used in my go-to mask.

Step 2

The second pad, or step 2, provides hydration and rejuvenation featuring proprietary botanical Extremozyme technology and Copper Tripeptide-1 combined with soothing active botanicals. This combo improves the skin’s appearance and helps soothe after the exfoliation. I think of it as “turning off” the acids so skin goes into repair mode! Step 2 isn’t a moisturizer but it soothes skin in a similar manner.

Copper Tripeptide Growth Factor

This is clinically proven to help diminish the appearance of premature aging and visibly reduce wrinkles over time. I’ve seen a number of high-end skincare products that use copper growth factor and all of them have five start reviews because it WORKS.


This is a proprietary combination of powerful enzymes that help protect skin from environmental aggressors. Think of it is as a helpful little shield!

How to Use the iS Clinical Active Peel System

The Active Peel System contains 15 treatments (i.e. a set of two pads), meant to be used every other night, which means it should last a month. I use the system once a week, since I’m trying to make them last as long as possible. The peel produces a cool tingling feeling which is perfectly normal. Some redness might occur so just keep an eye on your skin. It may take time for your skin to adjust. Ease into use. Don’t try to use it every other night right away, especially if you’ve never used an anti-aging product before.

1. Wash your face

The peel is designed to be used at night, so go ahead and remove your makeup and wash your face well. I use a cleansing balm and have a full review of the one I like best, the Colleen Rothschild Cleansing Balm.  Pat your face dry.

2. Apply your toner or essence

A toner or essence helps balance skin and prepare it for treatments. I use this Beautycounter essence.

3. Apply Step 1 of the Active Peel System

Open the Step 1 packet, unfold the pad and gently swipe the pad all over your face, neck and décolletage. Leave on for three minutes. Do not rinse. Tingling is normal. I love this part but if you have particularly sensitive skin, it may be a bit intense for you.

4. Apply Step 2 of the Active Peel System

Open and unfold the Step 2 pad. Swipe this pad over the same areas where you applied Step 1. It should start to feel like it’s settling the tingling. Let this dry and do not remove.

5. Follow with moisturizer & eye cream

While step 2 is soothing, you still need to follow it with a moisturizer. I use this Beautycounter night cream and this Beautycounter eye cream.

Is the iS Clinical Active Peel System Worth It?

In short, 100% yes. I’ll get into the pros and (very few) cons below.


Instant results

I was shocked by how good my face felt after using this Peel System for the first time. My skin felt incredibly clean and smooth, and even tighter — in a good way, not in the drying way you feel when a cleanser is too harsh. (I guess that’s combo of clean, smooth and more elastic is what the brand calls “rejuvenation”.) I also noticed that my skin was softer and looked brighter immediately. It’s made to polish the skin, and that’s truly what it feels like. Applying my moisturizer felt amazing because my skin was so smooth. I also love the cool tingling sensation. The next morning my smile lines looked less pronounced as well.

Longer term results

I was really surprised that my skin looked so good the next day too. Obviously, the more often and more consistently you use it, the better results you’ll see, but even with using it just once a week, my skin has been on its A-Game. While I haven’t tried any other iS Clinical products, the Active Peel System has been so impressive, that I’ve started eyeing a few other items for the future.

Easy to pack for travel

I love that the system comes in towelette pouches because they are so easy to pack for a weekend trip. They look like samples, so you do have to keep up with them, but in general I love that they’re so small and easy to take with me.

You can order them online

While you can’t find the Active Peel System in stores very often, unless your doctor’s office carries them, you can order the peel pads easily online. I order them wherever I can find a discount, which is usually DermStore, LovelySkin, or Amazon.


They’re pricey

Just one con: the price. For $80, they are not exactly cheap for only 15 uses. That’s why I only use them once a week since it’s a treatment designed to resurface, and I know it’ll still be effective just once weekly, especially factoring in the other exfoliating products I use (Overnight Resurfacing Peel and AHA Mask). Granted, the results are well worth the price!

Bottom Line

I love these. SO much. If you’re on the fence, just trust me and order them. Order here from DermStore, LovelySkin, or Amazon.

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    3 responses to “iS Clinical Active Peel System Review”

    1. If you think this system is good you have to try iS Clinical Youth Intensive Cream. I use it every day and it is sooo good.

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