Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliants are fantastic for giving you glowing smooth skin, fading hyperpigmentation and smoothing away fine lines (you can read more about chemical exfoliation here). AHA exfoliants usually come in gel or serum form, but if you’re lazy, you can also get them as presoaked pads in a jar. Here are some AHA pads that I’ve tested out recently, from Pixi, Nip+Fab, Arcona and philosophy.
Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go
Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycolic Acid, Ammonium Glycolate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol (and) Fructose (and) Glucose (and) Sucrose (and) Urea (and) Dextrin (and) Alanine (and) Glutamic Acid (and) Aspartic Acid (and) Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance.
Pixi Glow Tonic is a gentle glycolic acid exfoliant with 5% glycolic acid at a relatively high but still effective pH (4-5), which means it penetrates into the skin slower. I’ve reviewed the liquid version of Glow Tonic before, and this is the convenient, pre-dispensed version. The ingredients also include aloe vera juice (emollient moisturiser that softens skin), witch hazel extract (astringent), horse chestnut and ginseng extracts (antioxidants to prevent free radical damage), and a whole host of humectant moisturisers (glycerin, glucose, fructose etc.)
I found the floral/cucumber scent a bit stronger when I used the pads than when I applied it from the bottle using my fingers, but it fades quickly. The pads are softly textured and come in a white plastic jar.
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme
Aqua (Water/Eau), Glycolic Acid, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Mandelic Acid, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Limonene, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Linalool.
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme aren’t actually very extreme – they contain 5% glycolic acid, with small amounts of two other AHAs (lactic and mandelic acids) and salicylic acid as well, to increase exfoliation, at a pH of 4-5. It’s comparable to Glow Tonic in strength, if we’re looking at glycolic acid alone. There’s also hyaluronic acid (humectant moisturiser) and niacinamide (does a whole bunch of things, including quenching free radicals, reducing irritation, building up the skin barrier, and reducing hyperpigmentation).
The pads have a light citrus scent, and are softly textured on one side. They come in a translucent plastic jar.