Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick review

If you had told me I’d be exfoliating my face with a giant Q-tip one day, I’d had told you you were crazy. Who does that?!

Me. Ahem…

I spent the last couple of weeks testing out Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick, giant Q-tips infused with an exfoliating acid solution.

It was totally weird. I kinda liked it. I won’t buy it again. Here’s why:

What’s In Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick?


Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick has both Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid, two members of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family.

They do the same thing. Two, actually:

  • They exfoliate skin: These acids dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off and reveal the brighter and smoother skin hiding underneath.
  • They hydrate skin: They attract water from the air into the skin and increase its hyaluronic acid levels, helping to keeping it hydrated for longer.

The main difference between the two? Glycolic acid is a smaller molecule.

Size matters. Its small size means Glycolic Acid can better penetrate and exfoliate skin. It also makes it more irritating. If you have sensitive skin, these sticks aren’t for you.

P.S. Glycolic acid can irritate skin when you first start using it. Here, it’s paired with a big dollop of alcohol. You know where I’m going with this. These sticks sting your skin. Use them in moderation!

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid: What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It


Glycolic acid and Lactic acid are wonderful exfoliants, but they only remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

Salicylic acid, a member of the Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA family) goes a step further. It also penetrates inside the pores to remove all the crap that’s clogging them up and giving you blackheads and pimples.

Get rid of it and the acne disappears. Keep using it and it won’t come back. Simple.

While it’s at it, salicylic acid also reduces the redness and inflammation that always comes along with acne.

The catch? I’m not sure there’s enough salicylic acid in Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick to exfoliate much. If you want to get rid of acne, these sticks wouldn’t be my first choice.

P.S. You can check out my fave salicylic acid exfoliants here.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin

Want a cost-effective routine that banishes acne for good? Download your FREE “The Ordinary Anti-Acne Routine” cheatsheet to get started”


The q-tips are infused with a liquidy lotion.



How To Use Them

It’s easy to use: you massage it all over your skin (or only on the areas that need exfoliation – whatever your skin needs).

Performance & Personal Opinion

Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick looks like a giant Q-tip dripping wet with lotion.

I’ve been exfoliating with acids for years. I even get peels regularly. You could say my skin has built tolerance to them and doesn’t feel them on the skin anymore.

Well, my skin definitely feels Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick! This stuff doesn’t tingle, it stings!

I’m starting to understand why Korean skincare isn’t fond of exfoliating acids. Most of the SoKo chemical exfoliants I’ve tried sting like crazy. I blame it on all the alcohol they pour into them…

Is it worth putting up with it? Imho no. But only because there are gentler options out there. If you’re curious to try this, it does the exfoliating job fine.

The day after I use it, my skin looks brighter and softer. A clear sign some of the dead skin cells have already fallen off my skin.

Does it help with acne? Yes and no. The concentration of salicylic acid is so low, these sticks only prevent rather than treat acne (they work by removing dead skin cells before they have the chance to fall into your pores and clog them).

That’s not why I won’t be buying these again, by the way. My skin can take the sting and doesn’t have acne. It’s my conscience that has a problem with them.

As I get older, I become more conscious of my impact on this planet. I try my best to recycle as much as possible and minimise waste.

These giant Q-tips create a lot of waste. Sure, I know that most exfoliants come in plastic bottles – but those bottles will last me for months.

These sticks are one use only. Each of them is housed inside a plastic pouch. Even if they could be recycled, it’s still too much packaging for an exfoliant.

You may feel differently about this and that’s ok. In my teens, I’d probably have loved something like this. Now I prefer less wasteful (and stinging!) options.

dr oracle a-thera peeling stick review

Who Is This For?

I only recommend these if you need an exfoliant on-the-go.

Who Is This NOT For?

It’s mostly a gimmick, so I don’t really recommend them – unless you travel.


Each q-tip is packaged in a big plastic pouch. Too much waste for me.

Does Dr Oracle A-Thera Peeling Stick Live Up To Its Claims?

This treatment comes in a peeling stick, shaped like a cotton bud.  True.
This powerful treatment contains both AHA and BHA (found in Wintergreen Extract), which are powerful acids, that help clear pores, clean blackheads and fight acne. True. But you need enough of them to work and there’s hardly any BHA here. So no, they won’t help much with acne and blackheads.

Price & Availability

10 sticks, $22.00/5 sticks, £6.56 at Soko Glam

Do You Need It?

No, these are mostly a gimmick.

Dupes & Alternatives


Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Water, Propanediol, Lactic Acid, Alcohol, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Erythritol, Tremella Fuciformis Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Salicylic Acid, Disodium EDTA, PEG-75, Xanthan Gum, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Chlorphenesin, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil