Following on from my last post on Everything You Need To Know About Skin Acids’,  I’ll be telling you all about one of my chosen acid-containing products today – The Medik8 Blemish Control Pads! Find out if I stick or spin & if I found my glow! 🎆


BRAND: Medik8

PRODUCT: BLEMISH CONTROL PADS™ Alcohol-Free Blemish Treatment

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine (an anti-static agent – good), Salicylic Acid (BHA, exfoliant – best), Glycerin (skin-replenishing & restoring – best), Phenoxyethanol (common preservative – good), Allantoin (skin-soothing – good), Sodium Hydroxide (cleansing agent – average), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative – good), Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil (fragrance from plant extract – poor), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil (fragrance from plant extract – poor), Limonene (fragrance from plant extract – poor).

*Ingredient info & ratings from Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary


  • Fuss-free, pre-soaked pads which are gentle in texture
  • Contains 2% salicylic acid
  • Pads have a pH of 3.8 (acids should have a pH between 3 and 4)
  • Infused with moisturising actives; allantoin (skin-soothing) and glycerin (skin-replenishing)
  • Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly
  • Alcohol-free
  • Travel-friendly

I’ve Got *Insert Skin Type Here* Skin, Can I Use Them?

Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) which is suitable for all skin types. They are particularly good for those who with oily and acne-prone skin.

I’ve found these pads to be gentle enough for daily use, as recommended by Medik8. However, if you have sensitive skin, I would definitely recommend starting slowly with these. I would also say to do a patch test on one part of your face before using them all over. Especially because they do contain some sensitising ingredients (more on this further down).


Saturated, Fuss-Free Pads

These pads come in a resealable pot with a foil lining. The pads are then pre-soaked in the spot-busting concoction and are extremely saturated. You simply lift the lid, peel off one pad and swipe it over your face and neck. Easy and quick!

I actually find these pads so saturated with product, I can cut them in half to use. Half a pad is still enough to cover all of my face. This way the pot then lasts me 120 days instead of 60. Great value for money this way and I’m still getting all the benefits I would from a full pad. Try it and see if it works for you!

skin acids, BHA, salicylic acid, medik8 blemish control pads

Percentage Of BHA & pH

These pads contain 2% of salicylic acid, which if you read my last blog, you’ll know that 2% is the maximum advisable strength for a BHA serum or cleanser. This is because they are intended for daily and all-over-the-face use. You will find spot treatments with nearly double that amount of salicylic acid but this is because they are targeted treatments, intended to be used directly on spots.

This concentration of 2% salicylic acid means the pads are strong enough to have a noticeable effect but gentle enough to be used daily (if necessary). I actually noticed a change in my skin texture and a decrease in blackhead volume within the first week of using them. Never have I used a product and seen such a rapid improvement in my skin. I also didn’t experience any drying of my skin.

Medik8’s Blemish Control Pads also have a pH of 3.8 (acidic to strongly acidic). Again referring back to my last blog post all about acids, you ideally want your acid-containing product to have a pH in the range of 3-4. Within this range is when the acid can penetrate your skin most effectively and work best. 

Dries Quickly After Use

The product in these pads goes on liquidy and slightly foamy. So you need to give it a few minutes for the product left behind from the pad to set in. By a few minutes, I mean literally like 2 minutes and you are good to go with the next product you’re using. It also dries without leaving any stickiness or film-like feeling.


Sensitising Ingredients?

As you can see from the very beginning of this blog, these pads contain 3 ingredients rated as ‘poor’ by Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary. According to Incidecoder (another website I use to determine the quality of ingredients), 2 out of the 3 ingredients are listed as ‘icky’. The one without a rating is spearmint oil which has a lower incidence of causing skin sensitivity than the other 2.

The 3 ingredients; spearmint oil, rosemary oil and limonene are typically used in products for fragrancing purposes. Rosemary oil also acts as an antioxidant, however. They’re given the ratings that they’re given because they’re volatile oils which can cause some skin types to experience a sensitivity. I myself don’t have sensitive skin and neither have I experienced any sort of irritation from these pads. However, if you have sensitive, easily-irritated skin, this may be something for you to consider. 

The only thing I will say is that these 3 ingredients appear last in the ingredients list and so this suggests that the quantity of the oils is low. We know this because ingredients are listed in order of concentrations and if 2% of salicylic acid is the 3rd ingredient, you can imagine the concentration of the last 3 oils is quite small!

Advised Usage

Medik8 suggests that these pads can be used on larger areas such as the back, neck and arms to decongest breakouts that appear on the body. I would say that this is not really do-able. If we’re talking about using one pad for your face, neck, back and arms, then definitely not!

Likewise, if we’re talking about using these pads just on your back for example, if that was your only acne-prone area, I would say these pads are just too flimsy and small to be using them in that way, personally. You would probably be better finding a salicylic cleanser or serum for your acne-prone body parts!

No Spatula Included

Lately I have seen a lot of products in a pot, come with a spatula. The spatula is used to separate the pads apart and is sold as being more hygienic.

I get the idea but I think a spatula is just a nice, fancy addition and not a requirement for hygiene purposes. In theory, your hands should be clean as you get the pad out of the pot and then the used pad is disposed of. You’re not reentering the pot after using the pad on your face and so, in this way you are keeping the pot and remaining pads clean and hygienic. 

This isn’t really a downside for me, however, for some of you, this may be. So, worth a mention, I thought!

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How Do I Use This Product?

To start off, I used these pads three times in the first week and then every other day in the second week. By the third week I was using them every day. I did it this way because I hadn’t used any acids on my skin for a very long time so I wanted to ease my way in. I didn’t want to risk upsetting my skin and having to wait to try them again. If you’ve used acids recently and often, you may be fine to start using them as Medik8 recommended, however!

So, after you’ve cleansed, you want to get out your half or whole pad from the pot. Swipe over your face and neck area, using both sides of the pad (or half a pad) until it’s basically dry! You then want to dispose of the pad and leave the product to soak in to your skin until dry to the touch. This takes about 2 minutes, if that as I’ve said!

I would do this once a day, in the morning and before my hydrating mist and any other serums go onto your face! Ideally, you want your acid products being the first thing on your skin (after cleansing), to help the acids penetrate the skin quickly and effectively.  

Next up, you can use any other serums that you want to apply. So, for me, it would be my my rosewater mist, my eye cream, vitamin C serum, moisturiser and SPF! Remember that acids can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun, so apply a generous amount of SPF and re-apply throughout the day (you should do this anyway regardless of acid use!).

Medik8 says to use these pads twice daily for best effects but I use retinal and niacinamide in the evenings, so I wouldn’t these pads in the evening myself. Plus I’m not really convinced that it’s a good idea to use acids twice a day, every day. You want to ensure the integrity of your skin barrier and I don’t think you would be able to do that using these pads that much!

*If you’re unsure about using vitamin c and acids together, refer back to my last blog and look under the heading ‘Anything Else to Know?’ for more information*


I tested using a whole pad, three times a week as opposed to half a pad, every day. I found I preferred doing it this way as I’m lazy and couldn’t be bothered cutting the pads every morning 😂. Plus I found it had no negative effects on my skin, reducing down to 3 times a week! It felt like enough exfoliation for my skin with 3 times a week usage. I will continue this way until I finish the pot of pads.

If you have oily/acne-prone skin you may find that you benefit from using these pads daily!

Gimme The Deets…

Price-wise, the Blemish Control Pads are £27 for 60 pads on the Medik8 website.

I bought these directly from the Medik8 website but you can get them through other suppliers as well, depending on where in the world you are! 🌏

In terms of time you have to use the product in, once opened, they last 12 months. In terms of storage, on your shelf with the rest of your skincare babies is fine! Make sure you always close the lid tightly though to prevent them from drying out. I also leave the foil liner inside the pot half attached.

Stick Or Spin Again?

Stick! 100%.

I love these pads, I think they’re really great and they do the job they’re supposed to do. The texture of my skin is improved and my blackheads are reducing in size and numbers! In terms of preventing breakouts, I would say I need more time to determine this. However, when I get hormonal breakouts, they absolutely do help them to clear up quicker.

I personally think they’re a great entry point for someone looking to begin with acids, they are gentle but effective. The great thing about BHA as well, is that they chemically exfoliate like an AHA but have the added bonus of clearing out your pores. A true winner all round in my eyes. 😍


Dr Dennis Gross – Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Treatment Pads £89 for 30 treatments

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First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads £24 for 60 pads

Zelens – PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads £65 for 50 pads

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Nip & Fab – Salicylic Fix Day Pads – £12.95 for 60 pads

Next time I will be telling you everything you need to know about ceramides! A very much underrated ingredient in the world of skincare!

In a couple of weeks I also plan on telling you my thoughts on another acid I’ve been using but I need longer to road-test it before I go recommending it to you beautiful lot!

Look out for them and in the meantime leave me some comments below, I’ll always get back to you. Tell me what you think about Medik8 Blemish Control Pads. What’s your experience been with them, if you’ve tried them? Have you tried any other acid products that you want to recommend? 

Love & Knowledge,

S A M A N T H A 


P.S. None of these links included are affiliate links.

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