Holy Grails: Exfoliating Serums/Pads

Thank you to everyone who voted on my Instagram stories (@MaximumSkin) for which serums you wanted to see next. It was pretty much 50/50 between exfoliating and hydrating, but exfoliating had just 4 more extra votes. Some products will be on multiple posts because they can be used for multiple concerns. I've also listened to your feedback and added Canadian links, American links, and International links to this post, but also previous posts too. Some products may not be available for international shipping, however if they do become available or you know an authorized retailer, feel free to comment below and I'll add it. With all that being said, let's jump into the serums post!


Some of these products say "daily" on it, do not use it daily OR twice a day for that matter.

The Inkey List Lactic Acid

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types, Especially Dry/Sensitive

Why I love it: lactic acid is great for dry/sensitive skin because the molecule is larger than glycolic is, making it less aggressive. Please remember that less aggressive doesn't mean it doesn't work or you won't get any results. Lactic acid is also a humectant which means it's going to help boost hydration in the skin. This will gently exfoliate your skin, leaving you with a nice radiant appearance

Key Ingredient(s): Lactic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate

Shopping Links

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types, Especially Dry/Sensitive

Why I love it: this is another great option that contains lactic acid, but also a bunch more ingredients that can help with soothing + hydrating the skin. I find this is an advanced version of the inkey list, but by no means do you need to get this if it is not in your budget.

Key Ingredient(s): Lactic Acid, Aloe, Fatty Alcohols, Squalane,

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Olehenriksen Invigorating Night Serum

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types (Avoid If Sensitive)

Why I love it: this was my first chemical exfoliant that I tried and saw a massive improvement with my skin. It is an AHA complex which means there are more than one AHA in it. I find this was great for oily/acneic skin, however it is a bit aggressive and I would suggest sensitive skin to go with one of the lactic acids mentioned above OR one of the exfoliants to come below.

Key Ingredient(s): Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Multiple Anti-Oxidants

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First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types (Avoid If Sensitive)

Why I love it: I know this says "safe for sensitive skin" right on the package, however most people with sensitive skin never react well to glycolic (which is inside these peel pads). If you want to still try it out, by all means you can, but I would recommend the lactic serums or the enzymes that I will mention in a bit.

Key Ingredient(s): Glycolic + Lactic Acid, Licorice Root Extract, Hyaluronic Acid

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Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Pad

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types

Why I love it: these truly are great for everyone (if you're hypersensitive, I have something for you next). Use pad 1, then pad 2. Again, NOT for daily use... Only 1-3x a week.

Key Ingredient(s): Lactic + Mandelic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Willow Bark Extract, Colloidal Oatmeal, Cucumber Extract, Sodium PCA, Centella Asiatica Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Resveratrol

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Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

Suitable Skin Type(s): All Skin Types

Why I love it: if you've seen my post on Instagram about masks, you know I am not a fan of them (especially sheet masks). The PTR masks are the only exception and I have been using them for 4ish years now. This is my favourite for if my skin is sensitized, if I'm on tretinoin/adapalene, or (secretly) if I just want to smell pumpkin for a few minutes. It really helps brighten the skin!

Key Ingredient(s): Pumpkin Enzyme, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, and Sodium Hyaluronate

Shopping Links

DISCLAIMER: some links are affiliate links which means if you choose to shop through them I will make a small commission. I appreciate everyone who does shop through my links as it's a way to keep my content free for all of you, while you're able to contribute to me without actually doing anything you weren't already going to do.


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This website may contain some affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission on sales of the products you may wish to purchase through the link. My content is not influenced by advertisers, affiliate partnerships or brands. All opinions are my own, forever and always, since day 1. Thanks.

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