Quick Review: Stridex – Sensitive with Aloe (Salicylic Acid 5% w/w) | Am I no longer the Target Demographic, Perhaps?

I have been struggling with acne for years. I had major skin issues around the ages of 14-16, which quieted down just a bit thereafter, and then around the ages of 22-23 and again around the age of 26. These three eras were marked by high levels of stress, no surprises there.

If you are curious, you may see glimpses of my worst skin days in my post about getting older and dealing with acne and signs of aging at the time.

To this day, I still get breakouts and my skin rarely looks perfect but thanks to a variety of lifestyle changes, a solid skincare routine, sorting myself out and a bit of makeup, I feel presentable and good about myself 95% of the time.

One of my biggest skincare adjustments was definitely incorporating pH neutral cleansers and acids to keep my pores unclogged. My HG acid for years has been CNP’s peeling booster, which I gave a ~glowing~ (see what I did there??) review over here, but I am always on the lookout for a cheaper alternative. Was Stridex, an apparently well-known brand in the US, going to knock my beloved CNP off its throne??

Availability, Packaging and Pricing

These conveniently pre-soaked pads come in a container of 90 but I do believe another size is available too (whether smaller or bigger, I do not recall, but I am thinking smaller – on the Internet, I see sizes containing 55 pads).

I got mine at Olive Young for ₩9,900 on sale, though they ordinarily go for ₩12,900 if I am not mistaken. The price is fair, if not a bit cheaper, in comparison to similarly packaged quantities of presoaked acid pads, of which there are many kinds in Korea.

My Impression

I originally got these as I was drawn to the promises of aloe and 0.5% salicylic acid water in water (that’s what the w/w stands for), which in my mind was a rather low percentage of acids, and combined with aloe, I also appreciated the absence of alcohol and the promise that these supposedly treated acne before it could emerge.

Looking at the ingredients list, I figured, what could go wrong?

Apparently, a LOT.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (0.5%)(w/w). Purpose: Acne Medication. Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Decolorized), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Menthol, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Purified Water, Simethicone, Sodium Borate, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Source: cosDNA

Soon after I started using these, my skin started to feel red hot inflamed and burnt, it started peeling and felt extremely dry. No matter what hydrating ingredients I threw at it, my skin hated the pads.

As soon as I stopped using them, my skin returned back to normal.

I have been using acids for years, AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, and have never ever encountered such a reaction to an acid. Either 0.5% is still too strong for my skin, or else the menthol or any of those yellow or red ingredients marked as less safe did not play ball with my skin.

Final Thoughts

Now that I am 30, I may no longer be in the age bracket that marketers think need acne products. While using this, I could not help but feel that this was meant to be used by someone younger, someone who would appreciate the slightly trashy packaging and the cooling sensation of menthol, someone with oilier skin than mine.

I am guessing that this is meant for very oily acne prone skin, and I am guessing that oily skinned folks who do not double cleanse might indeed find this offering a lot more attractive than I did.

For the time being, I will be returning to my beloved CNP Peeling Booster.

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