Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel review

Have you ever used exfoliating pads?

I’m totally new to them. I do get my glycolic acid fix a few times a week, don’t get me wrong on that. It’s just that I prefer to get it from a bottle.

There’s just something about these soaked exfoliating pads that had always put me off. Maybe it’s not knowing when they were soaked in the first place. The last thing you want is to splurge on a brand new jar of exfoliating pads only to open it and discover the juice has almost completely evaporated. Not good.

That’s why I made my first foray into exfoliating pads with Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel. Unlike most exfoliating pads out there, these are NOT pre-soaked.

So, how do you use them? And, most importantly, do they work?

What’s In Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel?


If skin could marry an ingredient, mine would marry glycolic acid. Here’s why:

  • It exfoliates skin, leaving it brighter and smoother
  • It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots
  • It boosts collagen production
  • It hydrates skin
  • It enhances the penetration of other skincare ingredients

Awesome, right? It’s the most multi-tasking exfoliant out there. If you have dry or sun-damaged skin or just want to age better, glycolic acid is your… acid.

Of course, like all acids, it has its flaws. For starters, it makes skin more prone to sun damage (ironic, right?). To be fair, everything that exfoliate skin makes it more prone to sun damage. Just use it in the morning with sunscreen or, even better, at night. Problem solved.

Glycolic acid is quite powerful. If you’ve never used it before, it may irritate your skin. Start with two or three times a week and build frequency from there.

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

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).


NeoStrata uses a new delivery system called Aminofill to get glycolic acid into your skin. As you’ve probably guessed from the name, it uses amino acids, the building block of the skin.

If we want to be full-on geeks (and, why not? Science is fun!), Aminofill uses N-Acetyl Tyrosinamide, a novel tyrosine amino acid derivative.

I’ve found a study that says N-Acetyl Tyrosinamide improves “nasolabial folds, glabellar lines, crow’s feet, and under eye wrinkles”. I’m a fan!

Related: Why You Should Add Amino Acids To Your Skincare Routine


You know what I’m NOT a fan of? Alcohol.

This is a controversial one. Fans say it thin formulas and it’s totally ok to use. Critics say it’s drying and irritating as hell.

I think the truth is where it usually is: somewhere in the middle. I think it’s good when used with plenty of antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients that neutralise its potential side effects and bad when used alone or with barely anything else (astringent toners, anyone?).

So, what about it? Well, this one is a bit tricky because I put on an antioxidants-rich serum and mositurizer afterwards and my skin seems to be happy with that.

But, the first few times I used it, my skin tingled. It could be the glycolic acid. Sometimes it does that. But my skin is pretty used to it, which makes me think the alcohol does give it a helping hand. Moisturize well afterwards!

Related: If A Skincare Product Tingles, Does It Mean It Works?


The pads are textured, yet soft.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Two/three nights a week, after cleansing.

Inside the box, you’ll find a jar full of dry pads and a bottle filled to the brim with an exfoliating solution. The first time you use it, you pour the entire bottle over the pads. This way, you know your pads are brand new when you use them.

Performance& Personal Opinion

Let me start by saying that I use Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel only 3 times a week. My skin is on the drier side now we’re in the middle of winter and I have no dark spots or other imperfections to correct.

I’m just focusing on keeping my skin healthy and preventing wrinkles atm, so moderate exfoliation is more than enough for me. If your skin can take it, you can use them more often.

So, how well do these pads work? As well as any other good glycolic acid exfoliant works. After every use, my skin is softer to the touch, looks smoother to boot and has taken on a more radiant glow. That’s what getting rid of all those pesky dead cells does for you.

Plus, they’re so convenient to use. I just wipe the pad all over my cleansed face, being careful to avoid my mouth and eyes. I then gently massage in any remaining fluid and apply the rest of my lotions and potions. Those can penetrate better now, so my entire routine is now on steroids.

Who Is This For?

  • Dry skin
  • Hyperpigmentation

Who Is This NOT For?

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


The box contains a white bottle with the exfoliating solution and a jar with 36 textured pads ready to be soaked.

Does Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel Live Up To Its Claims?

It is formulated to exfoliate, clarify pores, refine skin texture and improve skin tone. It can’t clarify pores, but it does everything else.
Our patented AMINOFIL® has been shown to help restore skin volume and smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles.Note how they say AMINOFIL has been shown to reduce the look of wrinkles, not that it actually does it. That’s how brands get away with making you think a product can do way more than it actually can do.
Reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, roughness and pore size when used as part of a daily AHA skincare regimen.True.

Price & Availability

$72.00 at Dermstore

Do You Need It?

If you’re looking for a glycolic acid exfoliant to help fade away dark spots, this is a good option to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Ammonium Hydroxide, Arginine, Acetyl Tyrosinamide, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.