MDSUN Skin Exfoliation Pads Review

Through the years, I think FutureDerm readers have come to know that MDSUN are some of the best products out there, in my opinion. I’ve called the brand everything from “Skinceuticals on Steroids” to “Luxe like LaMer — Except with AMAZING Effects From Day One,” and I’ve meant it.

So imagine my excitement when the brand recently debuted its MDSUN Skin Exfoliation Pads. Replete with all-star ingredients like glycolic acid, lactobionic acid, niacinamidelactic acid, and panthenol, these exfoliation pads help to remove pore-clogging debris, improve skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots, and refine skin texture with regular use over time. I’m a HUGE fan! For more, read on!

mdsun exfoliation pads

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and is a common ingredient in skincare ingredients. Both in vitro and in vivo tests have shown it to increase collagen production, fibroblast proliferation, and cell turnover rates (Dermatologic Surgery).

[Related: Spotlight On: Alpha Hydroxy Acids]

Glycolic acid acts as both a moisturizer and an exfoliator; it increases the skin’s supply of hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1000 times its weight in water, thus making glycolic acid a humectant. It also exfoliates by increasing the separation of skin cells, a process calledcorneocyte desquamation, resulting in even more cell turnover. And you know what that means: smoother, more elastic skin (Skin Therapy Letter) with regular use over time.

mdsun exfoliation pads

Lactobionic Acid

MDSUN Skin Exfoliation Pads are effective also due to their high concentration of lactobionic acid.  A relatively new alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) on the market, lactobionic acid sets itself apart by being gentler and more effective than other AHAs. Chemically, lactobionic acid has more oxygen-hydrogen groups (called “hydroxyl” groups) than other alpha hydroxy acids. These additional hydroxyl groups make lactobionic acid more hydrating than glycolic acid (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2010).

In 2010, researchers in London, Serbia, and Slovenia compared the efficacy of 6% lactobionic acid and 6% glycolic acid in a gel and an emulsion.  Twenty-six volunteers applied one of the four different formulations twice daily for two weeks.  The lactobionic acid was even better tolerated than glycolic acid in both forms, with similar results (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2010).  Considering glycolic acid is proven to refine fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate the skin, and renew collagen to firm skin over time, this is an exciting finding!

In addition, lactobionic acid also has been found to brighten the skin with time, meaning that it should be able to help with uneven skin tone and the appearance of sunspots. In the same study, it was noted that the melanin index was significantly reduced with lactobionic acid use. However, the researchers noted this finding would need further investigation.

mdsun exfoliation pads


According to a study from Bissett et. al.niacinamide reduces hyperpigmented (age) spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing), and increases elasticity.

According to a 2002 study by Hakozaki et. al., a topically applied 2% niacinamide and sunscreen lotion significantly decreased hyperpigmentation and increased skin lightness after 4 weeks of use more significantly than a control lotion.

The efficacy of 4-5% niacinamide — the highest available over-the-counter — has often been compared to a 2% (half-strength) hydroquinone. However, unlike hydroquinoneniacinamide does not run the same risks. Hydroquinone decreases hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase catalyzation of melanin production (Hakozaki et. al.). However, niacinamide reduces hyperpigmentation by inhibiting 35–68% of melanosome [pigment] transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes (skin cells). These results were affirmed by a study, using a niacinamide concentration of 4%. As such, in concentrations of at least 2% and up to 5%, niacinamide seems to provide a rather unique, effective method in decreasing hyperpigmentation.

mdsun exfoliation pads

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, is the only ingredient that is FDA approved for the treatment of dry skin as prescription Lac-Hydrin. Along with the oat starch and feverfew in MDSUN Exfoliation padslactic acid should also help to provide something of a barrier that fights irritation, despite the high concentration of ultra-effective ingredients. Lactic acid also refines, clarifies, and exfoliates the skin in a similar fashion to glycolic acid, but milder, such that it does not thin the skin (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology1996).


Like many ingredients ending in “-ol,” panthenol is an alcohol (don’t be frightened by that!) that helps other ingredients penetrate skin and hair.

[Read More: Why Alcohol in Skin Care is Safe]

It coats skin and hair as a humectant moisturizer — which means that it draws in moisture from the environment (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). Several studies done on mice also show that panthenolic acid increases the production of cell fibroblasts. It’s effective in aiding wound healing and for this reason has been shown to work well in anti-aging products (Drug & Cosmetic Industry). In a study on 30-60 year old women, a combination of panthenol and niacinamide improved signs of aging, such as hyperpigmentation and redness (Indian Journal of Dermatology).

Bottom Line

MDSUN Skin Exfoliation Pads are an exceptional product designed to fight hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging. I highly recommend using them, and will definitely be incorporating these into my own routine!

Ingredients in MDSUN Skin Exfoliation Pads

Glycolic Acid, Lactobionic Acid, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Lactic Acid, Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5),Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, and Avena Sativa (Oat) Starch. *Ingredients are subject to change at the manufacturer’s discretion.


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