I got this as a gift--I would never have paid $85 for it.
HOWEVER, I've only been using it for 3 nights and I have to say, this is pretty amazing stuff.
I tried cutting the pads in half per other MUA reviewers' suggestion, but it was just too difficult because the half-pad balled up and was difficult to deal with. So I've been using the full pads, once per day (at night after I shower), and following with Peter Thomas Roth's Oilless Oil (100% squalane) to moisturize (since you can't use anything with alcohol in it after that).
A lot of experts would probably hate this formula, because it has denatured alcohol as one of the first ingredients in the Step 1 pads. I was scared, too, but didn't want to waste such an expensive gift. In spite of the alcohol, these--in combo with the PTR oilless oil--have not dried out my skin. This is rare, since most acne treatments, BHAs, and AHAs dry my skin out and irritate it very badly. (Alpha Hydrox products burn and sting and turn my face red, for example.) But, when I was in my 20s, I used Oxy Pads which also have alcohol, and back then I felt my skin responded very well to those (before my skin was sensitized from overmedicating it trying to kill random adult acne cysts). So I know alcohol is deoxidizing and causes free radical damage, but in the short term, some products with tons of alcohol (like this one) actually work really well.
I notice after putting this on that my skin is immediately more "glowy," and the next morning (again with the oilless oil on top) it feels so smooth.
What's extra wonderful is that I THINK it's already (in 2-3 uses) starting to smooth out the annoying, stubborn white and blackhead bumps around my chin and mouth ("parentheses" area) that have been cropping up over the last year or so. NOTHING else has been able to touch these--not Paula's Choice products (I tried them ALL), not Alpha Hydrox, not Neutrogena retinol products, nothing. So this in itself may make these worth the splurge.
My skin tone also looks more even. I only need tinted moisturizer (I use oil-free Laura Mercier) and some blotting powder (Urban Decay Deslick powder) with concealer for blemishes and small spots (Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in CIA), whereas before I needed a full foundation.
Probably my favorite thing about these is that, while they may not really be "acne-fighting," I feel like the BHA and AHA combo is working well (so far) to dry up/heal the 4 or 5 giant blemishes on my face while fading old acne marks. I also have not had a new zit in the morning for the 2-3 days I've been using these; before, I was getting a new one every. single. day. So hopefully this is what's helping (plus the oilless oil, I'm sure, since overdrying can cause even more breakouts).
I know this sounds crazy since it's only been a couple of days, and maybe I'm biased since I want so badly to find a good product after wasting literally thousands of dollars over the past few years to try to get my skin under control, but it's really amazing so far.
When I run out, I'm not sure if I'll have $85/month to keep repurchasing, but maybe I'll look into something similar like PTR Unwrinkle Pads (about 1/4 the price when comparing amounts directly).
The last thing I will add is that these pads have simplifed my routine. With Paula's Choice, I was told I needed at least 5 different products in my morning and night routine (with some different ones at night, placing the total closer to 10). That's a lot of time, and when you think about it, even 10 $10 products is actually more expensive than just using this and a moisturizer/oil. I like that I can cleanse, swipe these, and throw on the oil at night and I'm done! In the morning I just use cleansing wipes (currently Boots Expert wipes for Sensitive Skin) and put on my tinted moisturizer. Incredibly simple routine, especially compared to the one suggested by many other product lines.
*If this starts to cause irritation, sensitization, or breakouts, I will update! But none so far.
This review is for the 30-day version that comes in individual packs (easy for travel). The packaging for that one is nice in case you want to grab a couple to go for a trip.
Price: VERY EXPENSIVE. Whether or not its worth it depends on your skin and I suppose you won't know until you try. I read the reviews and while I saw a sprinkling of 3-star MEH reviews, it seems you either LOVED it or it destroyed you. I also understood that for peels there's a certain amount of purging and a 1-2 time sample isn't really enough to evaluate effects. So i bought the 30-day size, hoping I fell into the group of people it worked wonders for.
Well I was wrong. It was awful for my skin. And I stayed the course hoping any purging would eventually subside. The first week was great--skin seemed clearer, pores were tighter, face had a nice glow. I was excited about finding a great product. But then starting around week 2, problems began. I have oily skin, but I'm not really acne prone...1 or 2 might pop on occasion--I make sure to always cleanse my skin well. I almost never wear makeup and use a clarisonic brush in the evenings. Well starting the 2nd week, while I was using this, new pimples were cropping up daily. All around my jawline, chin, nose. White-watery kind, and cystic kind. I was getting them in places I NEVER had pimples before--under my eye (WTH???), in my eyebrows (I've only had this once ever when I was a teen...and then 2 big painful cystic ones in the span of a week), even one or 2 in my hairline (again, WTH?? this has never happened before). I tried to keep up the routine but as the 30-day pack was coming to an end, it seemed more and more clear, this wasn't going to resolve itself. My skin paid the price of my 'experiment'. I am now using gentler all-natural Yonka products to calm my skin back down. Its not like you stop using the pads and your skin will stop breaking out right away. Even after I stopped, while the breakouts seemed to slow down...it still happening. Looks like it'll take some time to get it back to normal. My face hasn't looked this bad in like 15 years.
Amazing, wonderful product. Makes my skin feel so good! Clean and fresh and smooth. Can't live without this.
This is a FANTASTIC PRODUCT! There is nothing better on the market thus far in terms of hormonal acne break out solution. I have never tried the X-strength formulated pads, as I had stellar effects with the original ones. I bought the 60 pad containers of each, step 1 and step 2.
They come in two plastic tubs meant to last 2 months. I do not use these religiously every day. So, this product lasts me anywhere from 3-5 months. Considering the huge price tag of these pads, this puts things into perspective. It doesn't come out to cost as much as one would think. In general, I only use these pads when I get an excessive breakout that I cannot control. These pads are strong, and I would rather try to manage other factors first. I use the pads once a day in the morning. However, I usually start application every day for the first week. Then, I do about once ever 2 or 3 days until product finish. I notice the effects immediately first couple weeks. Then, I give more time for the body to heal itself between application. I purchase about once a year, price varies but around $100.
You should expect photo sensitivity. So, I liberally apply daily moisturizer with SPF 15+ every morning. Night cream, paraben free, before bedtime. Eye cream. And that is it. DO NOT USE A TONER, that eliminates the point of this product.
I will continue to use this product on an as needed basis. It is the greatest thing for hormonal acne. I advise against trying to prolong use by cutting the pads. You really do need that amount of product on your face and not half of it. Also, you really should not use these pads beyond 6 months after opening them. They dry out!
Omg no never again. I used these once woke up with little white bumpd all over my cheeks &i forehead and my fave is completely red..ughhh i hate this stuff!! Glad it worked out for some ppl wish it would have for me :/
I have had medium-severe hormonal cystic acne for the past few years and have not been able to get it under control until very recently. I have very sensitive skin prone to redness and irritation, and I've tried Cetaphil, CeraVe, Spectro-Gel, also the Oil cleansing method (as well as many, many other cleansers/products). All previous products have severely irritated my face or caused more blemishes.
Currently my routine is awesome, skin looks great! I am hesitant to switch out any product as it is working so well.
Morning: wash face with water only OR Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser if needed, moisturize with Spectro HydraCare Facial Moisturizer (I feel like I could find a better moisturizer, not 100% happy with this one)
Evening: Alcohol-Free Makeup Remover wipe followed by Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash on EVEN DAYS
Alcohol-Free Makeup Remover wipe followed by Dr Dennis Gross Alpha-Beta Peel on ODD DAYS
I never use both the exfoliating wash and the peel on the same day as it is too intense!
Also a tiny dab of Murad Acne Spot Treatment if I see the beginnings of a breakout
Also I have started (1 month ago) taking Tetracycline which definitely also makes a difference.
The Dr Dennis Gross Peel has made an immediately obvious impact on my skin, existing blemishes healed very quickly, old scarring (mostly in the cheek area) is disappearing quickly, and I have had very very few cystic spots. My skin looks very bright and healthy.
Essentially my skin went from needing to wear full makeup every day to cover existing spots and scarring to being able to wear just a tiny bit of concealer.
good for sensitive skin
good for acne prone skin
convenient travel packaging
easy (however there is some waiting time so not "quick")
evened skin tone
no redness after application
expensive - but honestly I don't even care because I have bought so many products in the past that don't work for me so I'm just happy to have something that works!!
stings when applied - maybe would be annoying/painful to some but it doesn't really bother me
I will continue to buy this product to maintain my now healthy skin!!!
I'm in my early 30's with combo skin (oily t-zone), occassional acne (regular and cystic) with some fine forehead, eye, smile lines. The cystic acne is what originally prompted me to start using Retin-A back and it did a great job of resolving all of my acne woes however; in addition to enduring a never-ending cycle of flakey skin around the mouth, it made my face several shades lighter than the rest of my body. After several years of daily use, I decided to take my chances and stop Retin-A use altogether. In several months, my skin tone returned to normal but sadly so did the remergence of my acne.
I'm currently in week 3 of using the Alpha Beta Peel Pads and I can say with utmost certainty that so long as these continue to be sold, I will continue to buy. The first week I did notice an emergence of tiny bumps all along my forehead which were indeed clogged pores coming to the surface. By the second week, most of them had smoothed away, save the few that actually came out of my pores as a hard cylinder shaped sebum plug (these I could litterally pluck out of my skin as they were jutting out and left me with a temporary 'hole' where the plug had stretched out my pore). The little holes they left behind where slightly jarring, but these pores then closed up tight over the course of about 2-3 days, you can't even tell where they once where. I had several active cystic acne spots at the time I started using this product (one on my chin, cheek, and between my eyes); the one between my eyes has completely disapeared, the one on my cheek has flattened out and the discoloration is improving daily, the one on my chin appears to be coming to a head which I'm okay with, because that is always preferable to the alternative (ie: a hard painful lump that shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon).
As for the anti-aging benefits of this product, I think I may see some with time but for now I still notice my fine lines. It does however appear that my skin has become a bit thicker or more plump since when I raise my eyebrows, I no longer look like a shar-pie! My forehead skin stays much more smooth with my facial expressions. Also, the skin at the outside corners of my eyes no longer 'fold' when I smile wide. If anything, I think this will help minimize the formation of new lines from developing. It is of course possible that my thicker skin is simply a result of no longer using Retin-A and has nothing to do with this product.... Hard to tell.
What I love most about this product is that it has just about restored my skins clarity to my Retin-A days; but without any of the dryness, iritation or flaking. If anything, I would say that my skin has never looked healthier! It has a natural glow to it and for the first time in years, I'm starting to feel like I'm approaching a point where I won't need to wear a face full of makeup! Currently I'm comfortable with just concealing the few discolored marks that haven't fully faded and dusting my face with powder. I haven't been able to wear 'powder' makeup for years now since my skin was so dry and flaky, it would age me 10 years. I did notice my T-Zone kicked up the oil production a bit during the first week or so, but now my skin feels 'normal' - a huge accomplishment in and of itself. I am extremely satisfied!!
Btw- I used the extra strength pads the first 5 days (sample) before splurging on a full 30 day supply of the regular strength. I purchased the separate foil packets since I heard the jar tends to dry out (plus I travel a lot, so the foil packets are far more convenient). I didn't really notice any sensitivity difference between the Extra Strength and Regular Strength; I may purchase a full 30 days of the Extra Strength next time, they're both the same price. Also, I bought mine through Sephora but next time I will look for them directly on Dr. G's website (I'm told they occassionaly offer sales/discounts). Either way, I would gladly pay full price for these again though I do wish they were a little more affordable.
My skin is in pretty good shape except for the occasional cystic acne reaction, some spots and congested pores in t-zone. This product is such an efficient exfoliator without giving me flaky or peeling skin in certain areas. I use it 2-3 times a week and it has helped immensely. Any acne I might have goes away, the spots have lighted or disappeared and my pores are in much better shape. It is pricey, but it really works.
I am on the fence about this, because it seems to give me a nice smooth complexion but HOLY COW when the package says you may experience sun sensitivity they are not kidding. I am fair and burn easily and always use sunscreen, but when I put my regular sunscreen on over the weekend and was outside and sweating, my face BURNED. I had only used this product a couple of times. I think I will have to cut back to using it once a week at most because of the huge increase in sensitivity to the sun.
This is a fantastic product. It seems to make my skin purge for a couple of days, then clears up blackheads and whiteheads and reduces the size of any breakouts that I get. I don't use this everyday, it makes my skin quite dry, and I always wear sunscreen the day after using this, because it makes your skin ultra sensitive to the sun. If you have the $$, this is a wise investment, it really keeps your skin in good condition.
Edit: I'm just here to confirm that these are the best things I have found for my skin. I recently purchase the extra strength version on Amazon for only $60, which is a lot better than what Sephora was selling it for, and they don't sting any worse than the originals. These really get rid of any major breakouts that come up and keep everything else in check too. I haven't had any huge problems in about a month and a half, thankfully. So these are very much worth it to me.