Cleansing, Peel Or Exfoliating Pads – Are They Safe Or Effective?


The Importance Of Exfoliation

As you should know by now, exfoliation is truly the key building block towards your goal of flawless skin. Exfoliation may stimulate cellular turnover, may encourage the skin’s own collagen building and may improve skin thickness. It also creates the ability to transport the key ingredients of skin care products to their destination and open up clogged pores before they become little bumps under the skin.

Home Exfoliants

The best thing is to try to seek out a home version of a doctor’s glycolic acid exfoliating treatment that you can use regularly. That is why many doctors have came out with this easy to use exfoliation device – Exfoliating Pads. Exfoliating with pads have therefore became so popular that they are glowing more widely available now. Some may name them as Peel Pads, Cleansing Pads or Facial Pads.

Glycolic Acid (AHA) & Salicylic Acid (BHA) Pads

One of the most effective ways to exfoliate is with an 8 percent to 10 percent glycolic acid (AHA) pad every night. This does not require a prescription, although it is not easy to find. You might have an easier time getting them at doctors’ offices. The acidity level of the product is very significant in terms of product effectiveness.

These pre-soaked exfoliating pads, ready for use at home or on the go, also available in 1 percent to 2 percent salicylic acid (BHA) which are suitable for oily skin.

Although there are inexpensive variety of facial pads that readily obtainable at commercial drugstores but these pads usually contain a fraction of the glycolic strength that you need. They are widely advertised and easy to find but are not for you. The label may promise all the right results you are hoping for in a skin-care product, but chances are you may never get the results because the product may not be strong enough.

pH Level Plays A Part

Unfortunately, companies are not obligated to list on the label the percentage of glycolic acid in the product. Even if they list the glycolic percentage, the acidity level (or pH) is also a decisive factor, and that is not listed on the jar. So how can you tell if the glycolic pad is strong enough for you? It’s easy to tell. Just test it on your face. The right strength of glycolic pad will have a slight sting. That is how you know it’s working. No sting, no result. You skin will soon get used to the acid, and the sting will go away in a few weeks. That’s supposed to happen. You do not have to look for a stronger product. But if the pad never tingles your skin, even at the beginning, it is no the right product for you.


DDF – Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula
Glycolic 5% Daily Cleansing Pads

56 Cleansing pads

Product claims - Keeps skin clear and looking fresh. Gently exfoliates to clarify. For normal/oily skin concerns.

Ingredients - Water, Sd alcohol 40, glycolic acid, propylene glycol, potassium hydroxide, lactic acid, sodium Pca, methyl gluceth-20, methylparaben, allantoin, disodium Edta, phenoxyethanol, dmdm hydantoin, menthol, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, propylparaben, aloe barbadensis leaf extract

Review - Alcohol is listed as the second ingredient followed by menthol and witch hazel, all of which make these pads too irritating for all skin types.


Dr. Denese New York
Damage Reversal Pads

20 & 60 pads

Product claims - Rejuvenate your skin with these treatment pads from Dr. Denese. Each is infused with a spot fading complex, formulated with hydroquinone and peptides to help gradually fade sun spots, age spots and discolorations.

Ingredients - Active: Hydroquinone (2%), Other: Water, glycolic acid, aloe barbadensis leaf juice extract, glycerin, sd alcohol 40, undecylenoyl phenylalanine, arctostaphylos uva ursi leaf extract, tocopheryl acetate, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, alpha-arbutin, ascorbic acid, kojic acid, thioctic acid, retinyl palmitate, tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, sodium pca, polysorbate 20, carbomer, butylene glycol, trisodium edta, potassium sorbate, fragrance

Review - It contains hydroquinone, ascorbic acid and kojic acid which may help on the pigmentation. The solution of 2% hydroquinone is in a water base with an effective amount of glycolic acid. But it contains skin irritant ingredient which thankfully is in minuscule amounts.


MD Formulations
Daily Peel Pads

40 pads

Product claims - This daily resurfacing treatment lightly and gradually sweeps away roughness and damaged old skin cells to reveal clear, youthful, healthy-looking new skin. Also effectively prepares skin to take in essential moisture, vitamins and nutrients, by removing dead skin build up.

Ingredients - Purified water, ammonium glycolate, glycolic acid, glycerin, alcohol denat, l-arginine, salicylic acid, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract, allantoin, cucmis sativus (cucumber) fruit oil, juniperus communis (juniper) fruit oil, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) extract, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) oil, rosa canina (rose) fruit extract, rosa canina (rose) fruit oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit oil, propylene glycol, methylparaben

Review - Although it has correct pH for glycolic and salicylic acid but it contains handful of irritants which include alcohol, juniper oil, lavender oil and witch hazel.


Peter Thomas Roth
Gentle Complexion Correction Pads

60 pads

Product claims - Exclusively formulated to cleanse skin, clear up blackheads, refine pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Provides a veil of fresh peach bellini scent that replaces traditional medicinal antiseptic pads.

Ingredients - Active: Salicylic acid (0.5%), Other: Water, alcohol denat, glycolic acid, arginine, butylene glycol, witch hazel extract, chamomile extract, green tea extract, comfrey extract, peach extract, whole leaf aloe vera, allantoin fragrance, triethanolamine

Review - Not a great product as it contains superficial amount of salicylic acid and some irritating ingredients.


Serious Skin Care
Serious Firming Facial Pads

60 pads

Product claims - An incredibly convenient facial beauty treatment that micro-exfoliates dead, dulling skin cells and helps to visibly firm the skin, in one clean, easy swipe. Each large cotton pad is infused with exfoliators, firmers and hydrators that will leave your complexion radiant and glowing.

Ingredients - Water, glycolic acid, propylene glycol, hamamelis virginiana extract, polysorbate 20, potassium hydroxide, hydrolyzed wheat protein, avena sativa (oat) kernel protein, hydrolyzed rice protein, glycerin, sodium pca, urea, trehalose, polyquaternium-51, sodium hyaluronate, imidazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, fragrance, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopheryl acetate, squalane, ubiquinone, thioctic acid, tetrasodium edta, retinyl palmitate, cholecaciferol, methylsilanol ascorbate, yeast extract, betaine, sorbitol, glycine, alanine, proline, serine, threonine, arginine, lysine, glutamic acid

Review - It contains 8-10% glycolic acid at an effective pH to ensure exfoliation. Although it contains alcohol (witch hazel) which appear high on the ingredient list but thankfully it is likely countered by the soothing agents in the formula.


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