The 11 Best Exfoliating Pads for the Brightest, Glowiest Skin Ever

go to skincare exfoliating swipeys with other beauty products on vanity


Any skin-health expert will tell you that chemical exfoliation is a key part of an effective skincare routine. According to Byrdie's most trusted esthetician, Renée Rouleau, applying an alpha- and/or beta-hydroxy acid (like glycolic and lactic acid or salicylic acid, respectively) several evenings a week can offer a mile-long list of benefits, including an overnight improvement in skin texture, reduction in clogged pores and breakouts, increased collagen production, and a more even skin tone, to name a few. As long as you don't overdo it, there is almost no downside to chemical exfoliation.

Still, for some, adding that extra step in the form of a cleanser or serum can be cumbersome. But what about a wipe? Exfoliating pads do the work of a serum, depositing active ingredients onto your skin, but in a convenient disposable form. Looking to add exfoliating pads to your skincare routine? Keep scrolling for 11 options, each containing a different formula and potency so you can find the right one for your skin type. 

Go-To exfoliating swipeys
Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys $35

Adorable packaging? Check. All-natural formula? Check. These gently exfoliating puppies feature a delightfully short ingredient list, including naturally derived lactic acid, nourishing aloe vera, and New Zealand rainwater (because American rainwater just wouldn't cut it). 

Facial Radiance Pads 28 Pads
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads $34

When Byrdie's news writer exfoliates, it's always with these trusty glycolic and lactic acid-containing pads, which are gentle enough to use every day.

Even Skin Beta Hydroxy Pads
Trish McEvoy Even Skin Beta Hydroxy Pads $70

Do beta hydroxy acids agree better with your skin type? Consider these gentle daily wipes, which have a high-quality formula that contains salicylic acid as well as inflammation-fighting willow bark extract, chamomile flower oil, and lavender, plus antioxidant-rich camellia leaf extract.

Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling in Lemon
Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling in Lemon $27

What makes these pads unique is that they combine physical exfoliation, thanks to the triple-layer gauze, and chemical exfoliation, thanks to the lactic acid they deposit.

HydroPeptide 5X Power Peel
HydroPeptide 5X Power Peel $68

Provide your skin with three times the action with these potent wipes, which contain glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid to seriously brighten the skin, shrink pore size, and combat breakouts.

Retinol Fusion PM Overnight Resurfacing Pads
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Overnight Resurfacing Pads $52

If you prefer retinol over acids, there's a pad for that. Glide the textured side of one these retinol wipes over your face before bed, and the formula will exfoliate and resurface the skin overnight. 

Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads $13

Brighten your complexion on the cheap with these drugstore exfoliating pads. For $13, you get 60 doses of glycolic and hyaluronic acid.

BeautyRx Tetrafoliant 10% Peel Pads $70

Few brands take chemical exfoliation as seriously as BeautyRx, a dermatologist-founded line based almost entirely on glycolic acid. These wipes contain a healthy 10% concentration of buffered and pH-adjusted glycolic for a serious dose of glow.

pixi Glow Tonic To-Go
Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go $18

If you're a fan of Pixi's Glow Tonic ($29), try it in pad form with these on-the-go wipes. A 20% glycolic acid formula is made gentle with the help of aloe and vitamin E.

Acne Retexture Pad 2% Salicylic Acid USP With 5% Glycolic Acid
Cane + Austin Acne Retexture Pad 2% Salicylic Acid USP With 5% Glycolic Acid $60

Cane + Austin makes exfoliation pads in a variety of different formulas and concentrations, from 30% glycolic acid to this particular combo of 2% salicylic and 5% glycolic (which we personally recommend since it's gentler but still super effective). 

Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel
Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel $46

These individually packaged 10% glycolic acid wipes are perfect for travel. (I currently have one in my purse as I write this.)

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