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Derma V10's £1 Exfoliating Foot Peels have swept social media since hitting the UK high street, promising to "remove rough, dead skin and leave your feet feeling soft and silky smooth". The product works by soaking the feet in a formula via slip-on boots. After around seven to 10 days, the feet begin shedding their dead cells.
But some have come forward with negative experiences, urging others not to use the product and one has even said her feet have "never been the same since".
Ashley Mills, 27, from Plymouth tried out the foot peels with her partner around March/April 2021 and both of them had similar experiences.
She told Tyla: "It makes your feet peel continuously for four to five weeks to the point where the skin peels back too far and makes your feet really sore. Every time you shower or get your feet wet it peels again."
She added: "It was super gross taking socks off and having half your skin peel off with the sock".
Explaining how feet peels work, Dr Ana, an aesthetic doctor at Kat & Co, told Tyla: "Foot peels can be an effective measure to control thickened skin that occurs from prolonged pressure with weight bearing on certain pressure points on the feet. Chemical exfoliation is achieved by applying acids to the skin which break the bonds between cells in the upper layer of the skin resulting in shedding of the dead skin layers. Moisturising ingredients are also often added to the formula to enhance the hydration levels of the underlying skin layers to leave the skin smooth."
Addressing customers' complaints, she added: "In theory these are safe, although one should proceed with caution as the peeling action itself indicated an element of inflammation taking place.
"Therefore it’s important to ensure you follow the instructions on the label so the acids aren’t left on the skin for too long and that you stay off your feet while the peeling is taking place. This can be troublesome as the peeling effect may extend over a number of days after applying the product."
She adds: "It’s also important to ensure that the acids used are gentle enough not to cause damage to the skin. Make sure the formulation is not too astringent as this can cause over exfoliation and subsequent skin damage leading to irritation, sensitivity, comprise in skin barrier and even infection risk. Sensitive skin types or those without a significant thickening of the skin should avoid these types of products. The risk of over exfoliating depends on a number of factors such as the number of acids combined, their percentage strength and formulation."
So what could be leading to people's issues with this particular foot peel?
Dr Ana notes that salicylic acid and lactic acid - both contained in the ingredients - are both chemical exfoliants and while glycerin and allantoin have hydrating and soothing benefits, keep your eye on some of the other ingredients: "Look out for tea tree or peppermint extract, alcohols and perfumes as these may cause irritation, particularly in sensitive skin types."
Derma V10 has been contacted for comment.
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