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Stridex Max Strength Acne Pads Ingredients Explained

4.5   from 2 ratings

Updated on April 01, 2024 Submitted by dianarvizu

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What it is

Facial treatment with 12 ingredients that contains AHA and BHA

Cool Features

It is fungal acne (malassezia) safe and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, oils or parabens

Fun facts

This product is used in 120 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients



Good For Oily Skin
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores (2)
Scar Healing (2)
Acne Fighting
Brightening (2)


Drying (2)
Irritating (5)
Rosacea (4)
Eczema (3)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
fungal-acne safe

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Cleansing, Foaming
0 / 0
Sulfate IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Preservative IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
Masking, Perfuming
Fragrance IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
Masking, Refreshing
May cause irritation IconEU Allergen IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0
Silicon Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 12 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate is a type of sulfate. It can be bad for dry skin and cause irritation.

We don't have a description for Ammonium Xylenesulfonate.

What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

DMDM Hydantoin has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It is a preservative that works by slowly releasing formaldehyde over time.

So what's formaldehyde?

DMDM Hydantoin is approved for use in cosmetics all around the world. In the EU, this ingredient is allowed in personal products up to 0.6 percent.

You might have heard of the class-action lawsuit about it causing hair loss. According to chemists, there has not been a link found between this ingredient and hair loss.

The Hydantoin part of this ingredient is created by reacting glycolic acid and urea.

You can check out alternatives to Dmdm Hydantoin: phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate.

Learn more about DMDM Hydantoin
What it does: Masking, Perfuming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Parfum is a catch-all term for an ingredient or more that is used to give aroma to products. Parfum, or fragrance, can be a blend of hundreds of chemicals or plant oils. This means every product with "fragrance" or "Parfum" in the ingredients list is a different mixture.

In the US, the alternative name for parfum is 'fragrance'. The term 'fragrance' is not regulated in many countries. In many cases, it is up to the brand to define this term.

For instance, many brands choose to label themselves as "fragrance-free" because they are not using synthetic fragrances. However, their products may still contain ingredients such as essential oils that are considered a fragrance. One example is Calendula flower extract. Essential oil ingredients still impart a scent or 'fragrance'.

Depending on the blend, it can cause allergies and sensitivities on the skin. Some ingredients that are known EU allergens include linalool and citronellol.

Products use parfum often to give products a scent or cover up smells of different ingredients.

The bottom line is: not all fragrances/parfum/ingredients are created equally. If you are worried about fragrances, we recommend taking a closer look at an ingredient. And of course, we always recommend speaking with a professional.

Learn more about Parfum
What it does: Masking, Refreshing
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Menthol is a compound found in mint plants, such as peppermint. In its pure form, it is a clear crystalline substance.

Menthol is known for its cooling sensation; however, the cooling is actually from your skin being sensitized. Menthol can worsen rosacea. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns.

Menthol also has antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Menthol
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Ppg-5-Ceteth-20.

What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

Simethicone is a silicone. It is an emollient and used to reduce foaming in a product. It is also often used to coat sunscreen ingredients for better spreadability.

This ingredient is created by mixing dimethylpolysiloxane and hydrated silica.

What it does: Buffering

We don't have a description for Sodium Borate.

What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Tetrasodium EDTA is the salt formed from neutralizing ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid with sodium hydroxide. It is a chelating agent and used to prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps keep the product and ingredients stable.

Tetrasodium EDTA comes as a white solid and is soluble in water.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 12 ingredients in this product ✨

17% are loved or liked
0% have mixed ratings
58% are disliked or very disliked
25% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Stridex Max Strength Acne Pads. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Max Strength Acne Pads ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

Read more about us


4.5 /5
from 2 ratings
Great Value (1) No Scent (1) Works Well (1)
DamDamfino's avatar


3 months ago Β· Combination Skin

I've never had an issue with this product being too harsh.
It's not even that drying (you can sometimes feel like a "film" dry down on your skin...

I've never had an issue with this product being too harsh.
It's not even that drying (you can sometimes feel like a "film" dry down on your skin if you put on too much, but it's not the skin that's drying out.)

I don't understand the hype of PC 2% BHA when stridex is not only
- much cheaper
- much easier to find and get your hands on (it's at every dollar store!)
- comes already on pads for each use

People say it's harsh and drying, but there's no menthol (in the red box version), and there's no alcohol.
And I never feel tingly or burning. Maybe I've just grown a tolerance for it?

Anywho, I use this everyday - and I don't only use it on my face, either.