If you have acne, you’ve probably heard about the Stridex pads I’m writing about today. These pads are easy to use, pretty cheap, and they claim to be “easy on skin, tough on acne.” This last point is easier said than done. Although acne is a serious problem, acne treatments can sometimes do more harm than good. The FDA has received a number of complaints from consumers who experienced allergic reactions and/or irritation in response to acne products that included benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as an active ingredient. I’m not sure if Stridex is one of them, but I do think it’s important to try out acne medications while keeping a careful eye on how your skin reacts. They can be pretty irritating, and you never know how your skin is going to react. Make sure to moisturize since they can dry out your skin.
Stridex Maximum Pads ingredients
Active ingredients: salicylic acid (2%)
Inactive ingredients: ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium xylenesulfonate, citric acid, DMDM hydantoin, fragrance, menthol, ppg-5-ceteth-20, water, simethicone, sodium borate, tetrasodium edta
Stridex Sensitive Skin Pads ingredients
Active ingredients: salicylic acid (0.5%)
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, water, simethicone, sodium borate, tetrasodium edta
Stridex Maximum Pads review
This review is based on my impressions of this product over the course of about a year of using them. This period started around the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017. At first, I used Stridex Maximum Pads, but I found them a bit too irritating and they made my skin sting too much after I used them. So I decided to switch to Stridex Sensitive Skin Pads after I found the maximum ones too irritating for me. Eventually I stopped using both of these products after I discovered Differin.
Both types of Stridex pads carry a light fragrance, and are packaged in a plastic tub with a screw top. The pads are dimpled/textured and made out of a thick cottony material. Each pad is saturated with liquid, and doesn’t dry out very easily, so don’t worry about there not being enough liquid to swipe over your face. These are very convenient for travel, too, since they don’t count as liquids. I’ve even taken a handful out and put them in a Ziploc bag for travel, and they haven’t dried out. The pads leave a cooling sensation after you swipe them all over your face—not just because they leave your face damp, but because they contain menthol.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sticking with a new acne treatment for six to eight weeks before judging its effectiveness. Also according to the AAD, salicylic acid is helpful for improving inflammation and clearing up your pores.
Both the sensitive skin version and the maximum strength version contain DMDM Hydantoin, a type of preservative that is potentially an allergy trigger for people with sensitive skin. And it was rated one of the more potentially hazardous preservatives in this research report by the Environmental Defense Fund. Although they probably don’t contain much, it’s worth noting that these pads might not be the best option for anyone who reacts poorly to this type of preservative.
All in all, I found that the Stridex Maximum Pads was too irritating for my skin. It made my skin sting and itch even after it dried and I used moisturizer on top of it. That’s why I eventually switched to Stridex Sensitive Skin Pads, which contain many of the same ingredients except with less salicylic acid and the addition of aloe juice. The sensitive skin version still made my skin itch mildly, but I was able to tolerate it much better. In the end, though, I decided to stop using these Stridex pads altogether because I find that Differin works well enough for me.