Pretty P.O.V.: Erno Laszlo pHormula No. 3-9 Friday 27 July, 2012

After my first run-in with an in-office peel, my skin is shedding like it’s its job. Skin-repairing Erno Laszlo pHormula No. 3-9 is just what the beauty doctor ordered!

A few days ago, I experienced my first in-office peel. (Thanks, Dr. Nussbaum and DermaCeutic!) And, as expected, by the second night, my skin flushed to a very rosy red. Come morning, little flakes unfurled around my nose. Fast-forward to evening and my whole face had started to shed. This was no surprise, to be sure; it is called a “peel,” after all. But, I was still taken aback at the rapid sloughing of my skin. I suppose your first time is always your most shocking.

Although I’d been given an at-home maintenance regimen to keep my skin moisturized—a much-needed maneuver to quell some of the unsightly-ness of the peeling—truth be told, one of the items was simply too sticky and heavy for my face. Asked to use it morning and night, I found myself balking at slathering it on because it seemed to be encouraging newbie zits, which, as you may now know, I take issue with. The salve (that’s what I’ll call it, because that’s what it felt and looked like) has the consistency of Vaseline—very oily and thick, leaving a somewhat greasy layer behind that remains greasy for the duration of the day (or night). After my fourth use of it, I couldn’t bring myself to continue.

But, I couldn’t just turn my back on super-concentrated moisturization; I needed to trade out and up. And that’s where Erno Laszlo pHormula No. 3-9 comes in. Full disclosure: I’ve been holding onto this jar of goodness for months, waiting for the right moment to use it—when my skin is feeling dry as the Sahara (typically fall and winter). But, with my skin currently shedding in sheets (ick!), this seems as good a time as any to break it open. And, actually, this pHormula No. 3-9 is meant for use on post-procedure skin (or to help heal burns, sunburn, wounds and irritation), having been proven in independent clinical tests to help repair wounds 67% faster than the untreated control group. Nice!

 Erno Laszlo Phormula No 3-9 benefits

Let’s start with the consistency: It is a tad like Vaseline and Aquaphor mixed with a cream, but the consistency is slightly more viscose than the former two. When I peeped at it, I became hesitant; it appears greasy just by looking at it—and it does feel greasy…for a minute. But after that minute, it’s already sunk into your skin, leaving behind a soft-to-the-touch feel that’s not in the least bit oily. It’s actually quite fascinating how quickly this sinking-in happens.

On to the good stuff: Ingredients include antibacterial tamanu oil to aid in accelerated healing; a high concentration of emu oil to provide hydration as it stimulates skin cell renewal; and marine-based glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which help collagen fibers retain water and bind moisture to the stratum corneum of the epidermis. (Take that, biology!) Which is all to say: It soothes redness and skin irritation, provides moisture, and helps your collagen prosper rather than deplete (which, sadly happens with age).

Despite pHormula 3-9’s rich texture, I’m not experiencing any extra blemishes (praise the skin gods!) and my peeling, though still occurring (naturally), is less apparent. My skin redness has also decreased—though it’s not 100% gone. And, another great benefit about this mighty balm’s ability to sink into skin practically on contact: You can layer it under your favorite sunscreen and not feel as though you’re wearing a mask of skin care products.

Now here’s the rub: The 1.7-ounce jar is a whopping $195. Yup. That may be hard to swallow for most people. But sometimes, if you have severe skin issues, you simply can’t put a price on the happiness you feel when your skin is equally happy.

Erno Laszlo pHormula No. 3-9 is available at

Karie L. Frost Signature



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