These $40 pads shrank my pores and cleared my acne, so now they’re my skin care holy grail

I was one of the many kids traumatized with horrible acne during puberty years. Since those days of slathering benzoyl peroxide on my face, I’ve come to be super conscious of my skin when a hormonal acne breakout is on the rise, or even when my skin is feeling super textured or looking lackluster. One product that has dramatically transformed my skin is the Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads.

Imagine the scene: Me in the middle of New York Fashion Week chaos, in Sephora pleading to one of the makeup artists for a product that would help clear out my stress-induced acne-covered face. When she handed me these pads and told me to use them once a day, I heeded to her instructions like a newborn babe to its mother. If I can be frank, this product is #goals in a bottle. At $40, it does start to get into a price range that may cause a few of us to flinch, but trust me — it’s worth it, sis.

My skin instantly cleared up and has stayed stable thanks to this product.


If you really want me to spill the tea on this product, keep on reading.


This is my skin before using. Let me draw your attention to my textured skin, my pores (which can literally eat everything in sight), and my acne spots.

These pads don’t burn like other medicated skin pads.


One of my biggest struggles is finding products with high-performing ingredients that don’t irritate or burn my skin. Whenever I see a product with alcohol, I run. But with ingredients like witch hazel, chamomile extract, and aloe leaf juice, these pads didn’t leave me crying or reaching for a cold cloth. Score.

The pads removed dead surface skin cells and immediately made my skin glow.


Containing 10% glycolic acid means this product is getting ready for war. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid) exfoliate surface dead skin cells, which is a necessity for everyone, not just those of us worried about acne breakouts. As chemical exfoliants, AHAs do the work of a scrub but without the physical harshness. My skin saw results once it let me shed those dead cells! Hello, glow. Nice to meet you, clear skin.

The pads worked well with other products already in my beauty arsenal.

Because they don’t make my skin burn, I was able to use them with the other products I already use. Honestly, that’s such a BIG thing for me. I will ditch a new product if it starts working against my tried-and-true products. I need a product I can depend on that won’t mess with my routine. These pads didn’t counteract anything in my morning or night routine, so they were automatically a winner.

I noticed results quickly and saw just how much makeup was really left on my face.


After cleansing my face, I never think there could still be a lot of makeup deep in my pores. With these pads, I saw that remnants of my foundation were still on my face, and I immediately thought of how many people have constant leftover makeup residue and wonder why they’re breaking out. (My guess: a lot.)

Last but not least, you can reuse each pad by just flipping it over to the other side.

Call me old-fashioned, but I need my products to last a while (mostly because I’m lazy and don’t want to go back to the store to buy more). Each jar contains 60 pads, but what I like to do is use one side of the pad, throw it in a Ziploc bag, and then use the other side next time. That way, I get 120 uses out of the product, and if you can use a product 120 times before you have to replace it, $40 seems much more reasonable.


Overall thoughts:

As a whole, this product left me #shook for quite some time. I really thought that as someone who’s into beauty and prides herself on cleansing and taking care of her skin, I was doing better than I actually was. And as someone who does TV talks and speaks on panels, my appearance does matter (sorry, not sorry). Within the first week of using the pads, I saw my large pores had reduced in size, my skin felt overall cleaner, and my acne breakouts had simmered down. Equally as important, I noticed that the texture of my face didn’t feel as rough — it felt like a softer version of a buffer or Clarisonic.

I have become someone who always looks for a deal, but this product has officially been inducted into my holy grail arsenal. That’s why I’ll always make the splurge.

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