5 Day Stimulator Peel: The Diary of our At-Home Peel Experience using ZO Radical Night Repair

ZO Radical Night Repair Retinol Stimulator Peel: A Diary of our Experience

Looking for an effective skin resurfacing treatment that you can do at home? Look no further than the  ZO At- Home Retinol Stimulation Peel using the ZO Radical Night Repair 1% retinol!

This peel is safe for all skin types and is specifically formulated to minimize risks of post-inflammatory pigmentation. This peel protocol was designed by Dr. Zein Obagi with the Radical Night Repair (RNR) due to its specific delivery system. This protocol should NOT be performed with any other retinol. The safety and effectiveness of this peel are based on the specific peel protocol outlined below. Substituting products, steps or duration of peel is NOT recommended.


This peel is not for the faint of heart, or skin that has not been pre-conditioned first. Before you attempt this peel you need to pre-condition your skin with a high potency, medical-grade retinol such as the ZO Radical Night Repair, Wrinkle + Texture Repair, or Retinol Skin Brightener (0.5% or higher). You should be able to use your medical-grade retinol 4-7 days per week without irritation for 6 weeks before you attempt this peel.

Even if you believe your skin is pre-conditioned enough, please Do NOT attempt this at home treatment without first connecting with your YES Medspa Skin Health Advisor as there are other factors such as medications that can effect your skin and your peel response.

Benefits of the Peel:

Retinol is an amazing active ingredient that addresses a number of your skin concerns, such as: fine lines and wrinkles, excess sebum production, strengthening the epidermis and reducing appearance of hyperpigmentation. This peel protocol is designed to increase cellular turn over to slough off the old layers of the epidermis and stimulate the dermis to trigger the production of collagen and elastin. It is designed to:
• Strengthen and tighten skin and reduces sensitivity to the environment & products
• Improve skin texture and tighten pores
• Repair damaged surface skin
• Minimize fine lines and wrinkles
• Reduce and correct abnormal surface pigmentation and sun-damage

Frequent use of high-potency retinol targets these issues on a microscopic level and usually causes mild dryness and irritation. This will continue until the skin has developed a tolerance (become stronger) to the retinol. The At-Home Retinol Stimulator Peel Protocol exaggerates the typical retinol response in your skin and will cause A LOT of peeling, redness and sensitivity; but it is worth it!

You MUST avoid the sun at all costs during this at-home peel. As an added plus, it a great excuse to postpone your work-outs for a few days because your skin will be SPICY when you sweat!

ZO Peel Protocol:

This peel is pretty simple and only includes a few products applied twice a day. The length of the peel varies based on the degree of exfoliation and your skin’s sensitivity. For beginners we recommend a mild peel for 3 days. Those who are more familiar with retinol products, the peel can be performed for up to 5 days.

Required Products

During the peel, you will need your ZO Cleanser of choice, ZO Daily Power Defense, ZO Radical Night Repair and a ZO SPF of 30 or higher. After you complete the 3-5 days of peeling, you will need a ZO Hydrating product of your choice. We recommend Hydrating Crème, Renewal Cream or Recovery cream for the Post peel recovery days. You can also use the Calming Toner (optional) during the recovery phase.

Days 1 -5 (or 3 if mild peel):

Apply your products in the following order:

  1. Cleanse AM + PM
  2. ZO Daily Power Defense AM + PM
  3. ZO Radical Night Repair AM + PM (use 5 pumps for a mild peel, 8 pumps for moderate and 10 pumps for strong peel. Make sure to massage the product into the skin until it is all absorbed. ) *Do not apply directly to the neck, the skin is too sensitive to handle this peel, and avoid the eye area as the product will travel*
  4.  Sun protection! This is a non-negotiable! Even if you are “inside all day”, put on your SPF.

Post Peel Recovery (starting day 4 or 6, depending on how long you perform the peel).

Apply products in the following order:

  1. Cleanse AM + PM
  2. ZO Daily Power Defense AM + PM
  3. ZO Hydrating Product of Choice (ZO Hydrating Crème, ZO Recovery Cream or ZO Renewal Cream). Re-apply your hydrating product (step 3 above) as much as needed throughout the day. We recommend at least 5 times per day.
  4. Sun protection! This is a non-negotiable! Even if you are “inside all day”, put on your SPF. 

During the first weeks of social isolation, two of our YES Medspa team members, Lindsay and Brittani, embarked on the 5-Day Retinol Stimulator Peel from home and vlogged their experiences. We will be uploading their Vlogs to YouTube in the coming weeks, in case you missed it live on Instagram.

Brittani has dry/combination skin and experiences blackheads to her cheeks. Lindsay has oily skin and is prone to regular breakouts. They both completed 5 pumps twice per day, for 5 days to get a mild peel.

Brittani’s Peel Diary:

Day 1-2 of my peel were uneventful.

Day 3 – The skin around my mouth started to get dry and show signs of peeling to come. Heat, sweating, cleansing and application of daily power defense caused a stinging sensation in the skin. I had been applying daily power and bringing the remnants of the RNR down my neck until this point and this is where I stopped because my neck was getting very sensitive even with the little bit of product I was applying.

Day 4 – The peeling started around my mouth and forehead, patches of red, fresh skin were starting to show and I had irritation on my neck. My skin was in a constant state of stinging.

Day 5 – I woke up that morning and my face looked like I had applied Elmer’s glue to it and let it dry; it was cracked and very, very dry! The red, fresh skin looked like a mask that was quickly spreading towards the outer parts of my face. By this point washing my face and applying products was VERY spicy but only lasted for a few minutes.

Day 6 – Thank the hydration gods! My skin was so thirsty and I applied my hydrating cream multiple times a day. My skin was very flaky and I started to get a weird puckering of the skin under my eyes as the skin started to turn itself over.

Day 7 – I woke up this day looking like a prune. The skin on my eyelids was peeling and my under eyes were even more puckered (even though I put the product nowhere near my eyes). The skin on my neck was painfully raw and even the motion of turning my head was uncomfortable.

Day 8 – The skin on my face was very quickly returning to normal and only some patches were still peeling. The skin on my neck turned around in a night and was now sporting a lovely skin beard.

After day 9 I started to exfoliate and introduce my regular products back into my regime and my skin got better and better! My neck was a few days behind my face and once all of the dead skin was gone, my skin felt super smooth, clear and healthy. While this peel was uncomfortable at some points, it was very manageable and I will definitely be doing it again.


Lindsay’s Peel Diary:

Day 1 – Day 1 was very uneventful. Although we were applying a LOT of product, it did not feel heavy on my skin nor did my skin get oily throughout the day. I spent a good 2 minutes just massaging in the Radical Night Repair. There was a little bit of product left over on my hands, so I applied the remnants to my jawline and upper neck for both Daily Power Defense & Radical Night Repair.

Day 2- My skin felt a little warm today. No other concerns throughout the day, however by the evening, I was starting to get small dry patches around my mouth.

Day 3 – The dry patches from last night are now very flaky. My skin was also pink today. Under my eyes were very sensitive when applying the Daily Power Defense. I had been applying the remnants of the Daily Power Defense and RNR down my neck but I stopped today because my neck was getting very sensitive.

Day 4 – My skin was very red and patchy today and very DRY. You could see obvious areas that had already started to peel off, revealing pinky/red areas. It was stingy to apply products today. I tried to go for a run this evening, and it was VERY spicy. I do not recommend sweating while doing this peel.

Day 5 – Woke up this morning with VERY tight skin. When I animated my face it felt like my skin was pulling in all directions and might crack. My jawline, temples and forehead were the main peeling areas. Applying products was VERY spicy… I’d be lying if I said the Daily Power Defense didn’t make my eyes water. The Radical Night Repair was actually very soothing because of the silicone feeling.

Day 6 – Today was a rough morning. I could barely move my face because it was SO tight and dry. There was a rough layer of sandy, flaky skin. It almost looked like my skin was pilling. After a lukewarm shower, I was able to animate my face easier. I finally put the RNR away and started using the Renewal cream 5 times per day.

Day 7 – I woke up with another fresh layer of peeling skin. It looked like I was molting. After cleansing and applying my products my skin softened up. I re-applied the renewal cream throughout the day with no concerns. My neck was extremely red and irritated today. Even though I only applied the remnants of the retinol to my neck for the first two days, it took until Day 7 for the response to surface on my neck and it was not fun. Even the collar of my shirt touching my neck skin was uncomfortable.

Day 8 – The skin on my face was very much back to normal today. I was a little oilier today than the other days during the peel and I only had small flakes of peeling. My neck is beginning to heal as well. I had to apply a cool cloth last night before bed. This morning, it is less red, but still VERY flaky.

Day 9+ – I started back on my regular skin routine this morning, for my face. Which included the ZO Dual Action Scrub and ZO Complexion Renewal Pads. I had no concern or sensitivity to these products today. My neck is less red today but still sensitive and dry.

It was definitely a challenging process. Having to apply the products knowing that it was going to be stingy, tested my mental fortitude. But I am overall VERY happy with my skin. I haven’t worn makeup since starting the peel challenge on April 7, 2020. I have always been someone that never leaves my apartment without makeup, so the boost in my skin confidence is amazing! My breakouts are less severe as well. I will definitely do this peel again in winter months.


Let us know if you have any questions by commenting below or calling (604) 888-9378

11 Responses to 5 Day Stimulator Peel: The Diary of our At-Home Peel Experience using ZO Radical Night Repair

  • Ann says:

    I used this on my chest as well and now have some open lesions showing (sores) I assume underlying sun damage. Do you recommend anything for this?

    • Spa Manager says:

      HI Ann,
      We are sorry to hear that you have created this uncomfortable skin injury on your chest. You have likely caused a retinol burn on your skin.
      We would recommend stopping all products on your chest and ONLY use an intensive hydrating cream, such as the ZO Hydrating Creme or Recovery Cream. Use your hydrating product at least 2 x per day, but it is recommended to use it throughout the day, as much as needed for 4 days and the skin will slowly heal. For any open wounds, please treat like a wound, and use appropriate care such as polysporin to prevent infection.
      If possible, we would love to have you come to the office on Monday to review your skin in person and help customize your healing protocol and further develop the proper protocol for the sun damage on your chest.
      If you are not able to come in, I will have one of our aestheticians connect with you on Monday as well to check in with your skin healing.

      **There is a disclaimer at the start of this blog asking all interested in this peel to call and speak to a YES Medspa skin expert before starting, as this peel is very intense and should only be used on pre-conditioned skin. This protocol is not designed for the chest, décolletage or neck as the skin is different than the skin on your face and is likely not pre-conditioned properly to high potency retinols such as the Radical Night Repair. you should be able to use a medical grade 0.5% or 1% retinol on the desired treatment area 4+ times per week without irritation before attempting this peel**

  • Ann says:

    Thank you for your response and treatment suggestions for my chest sores. I really do appreciate you getting back to me.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Spa Manager says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      It really does depend on your individual skin health. Without assessing your skin we are unable to provide specific instructions. We encourage you to book in for a complimentary skin health review with one of our medical aestheticians. We offer virtual skin assessments as well.
      In general, without specific skin information, we would say only one or two times per year max.

  • Neveen says:

    Hello! I hope you are doing well,
    I have two dark spots on my side checks, so the doctor prescribed me with two medications of ZO SKIN HEALTH by ZEIN OBAGI. The first one is the radical night repair, and the second one is brightalive skin brightener. I just wanted to ask when should I use them, which one should I put on first and for how much time should I keep them on? Also, am I allowed to use any other skin products for moisture?

    • Spa Manager says:

      Hi Neveen,
      We would recommend speaking with the doctor that sold you these products for specific instructions. Without seeing your skin we are unable to provide accurate or specific advice. In general, ZO Brightalive is safe to use 2x per day. The Radical Night repair is very potent and we would need to see your skin before recommending protocols. With regards to other products to use with this routine, there are some products that would be safe to use for moisture, however, we would need to know which ones you are thinking of, to know for sure. We would be happy to see you in clinic for a complimentary skin analysis to provide you with specific skin recommendations. We are offering in-office and virtual consultations. If you would like one of our trained medical aestheticians to provide skin health advice, please call 604-888-9397 or email website@yescosmeticsurgery.com to set up a consultation.
      Have a great day!

    • Spa Manager says:

      Hi Natalie,
      We hope you are doing well. Unfortunately, without seeing your skin or knowing your skin history, we are unable to recommend specific product use instructions. If you would like assistance with your skin care, please call us at 604-888-9397 or email website@yescosmeticsurgery.com to set up a complimentary Virtual or in-office skin care analysis. Once our medical aestheticians have assessed your skin, we will be able to provide more customized solutions for you.
      We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Lisa says:

    I am on day five of the peel (I followed the protocol outlines by my dermatologist). I have quite bad sores on my neck. I am concerned they won’t heal. Any suggestions on how to help them heal and any timeline on when they will. Last application of residual retinol on my neck was on day 3 a.m. I don’t know how “bad” the peel is supposed to get in terms of red sores. So maybe this is normal.

    • Spa Manager says:

      Hi Lisa,
      We are sorry to hear that you have sores on your neck. We would recommend contacting the dermatologist that provided you with the protocols for this peel. Your dermatologist will be able to assist you with caring for your skin. Without seeing your skin, or knowing your skin history, it is difficult to know what is normal. If it is a typical retinol response, rich hydration for 4 consecutive days should help heal any redness, irritation or peeling from the Radical Night Repair. Open wounds are not normal and should be treated as wounds.
      Sorry we are able to provide any more specific information and hope that the dermatologist that recommended this to you will be able to provide you with the required care.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.

Back to Top