I Was On The Fence About Exfoliating Pads Until I Tried These

by Gio

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.

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.

If you use them once three or four times and then forget all about them for months, when you come back, you’ll probably be greeted by a useless jar of dry pads, obviously. But, as long as you don’t forget them in a drawer somewhere for months, you’ll have plenty of time to use them.

So, how do you use them and, most importantly, why should you?

Glycolic Acid

If skin could marry an ingredient, mine would marry glycolic acid. It makes the perfect hubby because:

  • 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 man.

Of course, like all men, it has its flaws. For one, it makes skin more prone to sun damage (ironic, right?). Although 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. Although these pads are gentle enough for daily use (they have only 10% glycolic acid), if you’re a newbie or your skin’s particularly sensitive, start with two or three times a week and build frequency from there.

Acetyl Tyrosinamide

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!

Alcohol Denat

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!

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

Let me start by saying that I use these pads 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.

Despite the alcohol, me thinks I’ll be buying these again.

Price & Availability: $70.00 at Skinstore


Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel IngredientsBottle Solution Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycolic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Ammonium Hydroxide, Arginine, Acetyl Tyrosinamide, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

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Juliet February 10, 2017 - 10:36 am

I really enjoyed reading your review of these exfoliating pads! I am always a bit skeptical too when a product has alcohol because it does dry out my skin. But I do like the fact that they still gave you good results!

Juliet x

Gio February 12, 2017 - 5:32 pm

Juliet, I was really hesitant because of the alcohol too but I do find it depends on how it’s used. As a teen, I was using those toners that contain alcohol and little else and they terribly dried out my skin. But when alcohol is mixed with moisturizing ingredients, it seems to be fine. It also helps that I’m not using these daily.


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