Skincare has been a bit of a journey for me. Growing up there was so much pressure to stay out of the sun, not for our health but to not get “dark”. Ah post-colonial mindsets.. don’t even get me started on skin whitening creams (LITERAL cancers to society) but I digress.. It took a long time for me to not only love my complexion but learn to take care of it for its health & quality! I’m still a skincare-baby and am learning day by day. I suffered from pretty bad acne all through my teens and 20s but what was worse than the actual breakouts was the aftermath. I literally can’t keep my fingers off my face! I have such a compulsion with picking at everything and would be left with the ugliest hyperpigmented scars.
My acne cleared itself a few years ago — it could be my improved cleansing/skincare routine or maybe its just a coincidence and I simply grew out of it. Either way, the scars and uneven complexion were still ever-present. Something that has helped me tremendously are acids! Its no secret that I’m a huge fan of Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel Pads, I’ve raved about them continuously for years! They’ve effectively helped with fading my scars, evening out my skintone & brightening my complexion. Unfortunately, they are quite pricey – I used to excitedly buy the mini packs of 5 ($17) when I could and would always ask for a sample at Sephora before I could afford the big packs LOL! Everyone deserves good skincare at every budget, so I wanted to share some of my favorite brightening products with you today!
My first intro to chemical exfoliators! The OG Regular Strength pads contain 5 acids, the Extra Strength, which is my fav, contains 7! What I love about these is how easy they are to use while being so powerful. I’m a lazy girl FA SHO and when I’m feeling extra lazy the first thing to go is my skincare (I swear I barely washed my face in Iya’s first year of life lol). I keep these in my nightstand with a moisturizer so as long as my face is washed before I hop into bed, I can give my skin the TLC it deserves while dozing off with one eye open. They run about $2.50 per treatment depending on the pack.
I’m so surprised to read now how “weak” they are! These are only 2.8% glycolic but they’re so easy (1 step unlike DDG) and leave me looking and feeling refreshed & hydrated thanks to hyaluronic acid + witch hazel. These are super affordable at about 10 cents per pad.. what?! An awesome intro product to acids! I generally use this like a toner any time of the day after washing my face, the DDG pads I only use before bed (though they’re a-ok for AM too!)
3. Pixi Glow Tonic (& Glow Peel?!)
I LOVE Pixi’s Glow Tonic and actually use it every single day! Similarly to the Nip + Fab pads, I use it after washing my face. These are a little stronger than the former @ 5% glycolic. I use this every day because its readily available lol pads run out so fast, but liquid goes a long long way before needing to buy a new one (lazy girl strikes again). There is a pre-soaked version as well but I only use those when I’m traveling because there’s no risk of spilling!
While I was on Pixi’s site just now I noticed Glow Peel, I definitely have this product too but I’ve been mixing it up thinking it was another container of the pre-soaked Glow Tonic but noooo!! This contains a whopping 20% glycolic! I need to dig these out of my stash today and pay attention to the results I see from them. 20% glycolic and costs only 36 cents per pad… no brainer!!!!
Pixi… change the packaging stat!! I wonder who else thought they were the same thing all this time?!
I thought these were going to be the affordable steal @ nearly 10% glycolic but I’m still reeling from my Pixi Glow Peel discovery LOL! These are great though and half the price ($4.99 for 30) of Glow Peel ($22 for 60). My experience with these fell somewhere between the Nip + Fab and DDG pads which is great! They’re effective in what they do but to me the pads felt a little drier than I’d like. I love the feeling of a sopping cold wet pad lol!
I love love love this mask!!! My skin looks instantly brighter and more youthful after one use and only better & better after prolonged use. Its blended with salicylic acid, lactic acid, and vitamin C; and i get a great physical exfoliation when I wash it off too! I love that I can actually feel on top of see the results! This leaves my skin pretty red initially so as with everything else definitely do a test patch first!
Before you go… DON’T FORGET SUN PROTECTION!!
Even if you weren’t using acids, daily sun protection is so important but especially if you’re exfoliating you need it!! You’re taking off a protective layer leaving it susceptible to sunburn. I love Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50, it feels like a regular moisturizer… no thick greasy feeling and thank goodness no white cast at all! My husband is very particular about how things feel on his face and even he loves it, I keep finding it in his gym bag (buy your own, mister!!!)