This is the only exfoliator my sensitive rosacea skin will tolerate. I use it twice a week and it makes my skin look so much smoother and brighter.
I am trying these DCL Glycolic Acid Pads 10% in a quest to find an AHA alternative to the Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel, which I've used daily for several years.
[The Roth gel has several positives which I appreciate, but the big negatives for me are:
-It's sticky/tacky on my skin (regardless of how little I use and how long I let it dry) so I don't find it easy to layer with other products
-The clear glass bottle leads to quicker degradation of the formula than I would like (even though I usually keep my bottle in a dark place).]
My skin breaks out from almost all moisturizers/creams, but still I've tried a few recently that have glycolic acid in them to see if they'd be okay, but they weren't, due to other ingredients that clogged me up or gave me a rash.
Besides, the problem for me with using an AHA moisturizer/gel/serum is that having to wear an AHA product for a significant part of the day (either all day or all night) is inconvenient, because there are other things I want to use on my skin that aren't easy to use/layer simultaneously (either due to formula incompatibility, as with benzoyl peroxide, or application issues, as with foundation that doesn't mesh well with the AHA product).
I figured it might be time to try a glycolic acid pad (which are often meant to provide a 5-to-20 minute treatment that is rinsed off, rather than a product layer that stays on the face all day or all night).
I thought I'd start low and get a 10% product, equivalent to the Roth gel's percentage that I've been using for several years.
I also didn't want a product that had a lot of extra ingredients that could bother my skin.
Therefore, even though there were no reviews yet on MUA of this product, I purchased DCL Glycolic Acid Pads 10%, which only have 3 ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide.
The instructions are to apply it to the skin, wait 20 minutes, then rinse. After you build up a tolerance to it, they say you don't have to rinse, if you don't want to.
My first impressions are:
This 10% AHA feels a lot stronger than the Roth gel's 10% AHA. Much of that is probably due to the buffering and moisturizing ingredients that the Roth gel contains, but it does seem to me that this AHA pad has a stronger acid effect. For example, it really stings my neck (so much so that I need to wipe it off my neck after 5 minutes instead of waiting for 20), while the Roth gel has never bothered my neck. Maybe the pads have a lower PH than the Roth gel, allowing the acid to work more effectively. Even on my face, I can feel the pad working, and it feels prudent right now to use a pad only once every 3 days, rather than daily. I do rinse it off my face too, usually after about 30 minutes. (I am glad that I did not get the 20% pads!)
The pads themselves are scratchy and hurt my skin unless I swipe them very gently. I don't know why they are made this way - maybe to roughen up the skin cells to allow the acid to penetrate better. They don't look harsh - being modest white fabric rounds - but the feeling they impart to my face is similar to what one of those green kitchen scratch pads (for washing cooking pots etc.) might! I would give these 5 lippies if the pads were not so rough on the skin.
I wish that the container weren't a wide-lid screw-top container, because even careful use will result in the remaining product's being exposed to a lot of air, light, potential contamination from the fingers, and evaporation.
Update: I gradually was able to go from using a pad once every 3 days to once a day. I can still feel the acid sting, but it goes away in a few minutes. I rinse after anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. I don't put any other products on top. The glycolic acid has been clearing up my skin and making it smoother. It has done so pretty gradually. However, I had already been using the Roth 10% glycolic gel daily for several years, so it is surprising that a different 10% glycolic product would improve my skin further after just a month, the way this one has done.
This product does leave a sticky, tacky feeling on my skin. I have realized that the tacky feeling must be an inherent quality of glycolic acid (at least on my skin), and I personally don't do very well when trying to layer other products on top of such a tacky base layer, so I am going to keep using a quicker-acting, rinse-off glycolic product (applied by pad) rather than a glycolic moisturizer or serum which is meant to be used over a long period of the day or night.
Now that I know I want to use a glycolic acid pad for my daily AHA treatment, and that the DCL pads are okay for me, I decided to compare them with other 10% glycolic pad products to see if any others work better, or work the same at a cheaper price. The DCL pads are pretty pricey - for 50 pads, regular price is over forty dollars.
Many of the glycolic pads on the market I won't try because they have ingredients in them that I am sensitive to (such as salicylic acid, which weirdly gives me deep pimples), but there is another product whose ingredients look okay, and is half the price of the DCL container, for 60 pads. It is Glycolix 10% Treatment Pads and they have the same first three ingredients as the DCL, plus about 12 others (mainly vitamins, menthol, preservatives, plus "witch hazel water" which I guess is witch hazel without any alcohol). I used one of these for the first time today and will do a separate review of them.