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- Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Gradual Glow Pads are skin-nourishing self-tanning wipes with buildable color intended for your face.
- Just like the classic Alpha Beta peel pads Dr. Dennis Gross is known for, these wipes contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which help to clear up the skin for a smooth canvas.
- They’re great for getting that subtle glow year-round while also maintaining an even complexion. I typically use them once per week in the winter and twice per week in the summer.
In general, I have a hard time finding self-tanners that work for me. I have red hair and fair skin that’s also dry, so I often find that if I can ever get the right color, my skin revolts by drying out even more. Obviously, that does nothing for the coverage of self-tanner, which can easily end up looking blotchy and unnatural.
A couple of summers ago I set out on a mission to find something that would work for me, and I landed on these Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Gradual Glow Pads, which are intended specifically for your face.
Dr. Dennis Gross, a skincare brand founded by a dermatologist and skin cancer researcher of the same name, is known for its classic Alpha Beta Peel Pads. They use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that work wonders to keep the skin clear, soft, and evenly toned. Needless to say, when I discovered that there was a self-tanning version of these pads, I had to check them out.
This version contains many of the ingredients that make the classic peel pads so effective, plus encapsulated DHA, which is the active ingredient in most self-tanners that reacts with the top layer of skin cells to create a temporary glow.
Skin-nourishing ingredients like AHAs help create a smooth canvas for the self-tanner.
I love these tanning pads because the AHAs, including citric, glycolic, and lactic acids, keep my skin clear.
According to Dr. Maggie Kober, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Apostrophe, “AHAs dissolve the glue that holds cells together in the skin, leading to a gentle exfoliation. Multiple lower strength AHAs can be combined to achieve strong exfoliation without irritation.” This explains why I can see serious evidence of smaller pores and fewer blackheads on my nose, chin and cheeks, which are my typical problem areas.
In addition to the skin-clearing abilities of AHAs, Dr. Kober explained that they’re also great for reducing fine lines, correcting pigment abnormalities, and promoting skin hydration. I will say, after applying these wipes, my skin always looks super hydrated — and that’s definitely unusual for my cheeks, which are super prone to dry, flaky skin.
How to use the self-tanning wipes:
Whereas the original peel pads by Dr. Dennis Gross come with two-step wipes, the self-tanning version includes just one towelette that you wipe all over your face and neck. The weightless formula goes on completely clear, so after spreading it around thoroughly with the wipe, I use my hands to make sure I’ve covered every millimeter of my face, neck, and chest. I’ve never experienced any issues with the color distribution when I do this — it always turns out looking very even and natural. The color develops fully after about three or four hours, so you’ll start seeing a difference sometime within that timeframe.
I usually use the pads at night, but there’s no reason you can’t apply them in the morning — just make it a point to avoid touching your face afterward as much as possible. The tan definitely lasts longer if you apply moisturizer in the days after application, but I avoid moisturizers and skincare products on the nights that I apply the wipes.
I tend to use these wipes once a week in the winter, but in the summer I’ll apply one every couple days for an extra golden glow. If you’re really in a hurry to build up the color, and I have admittedly done this, you can apply two in one day.
Cons to consider:
While none of the cons are substantial enough to deter me from using these wipes, I will say that there are a couple of things worth considering. For one, and this is especially true if you’ve applied two layers of tanner, it can get a little patchy as it’s wearing off. Another downside that seems unavoidable to me is that when you wear makeup and take it off, some of the tan comes off with it. If you’re definitely going to be wearing makeup every day, you may have to apply the wipes more frequently.
The bottom line:
These self-tanning pads are my go-to for achieving a natural-looking tan and clear skin. The $38 price point may seem steep, but I can make one of these boxes last for months. Each box contains 20 towelettes, and the color payoff lasts for days at a time. Overall, they’re a great investment — one that can potentially prevent you from subjecting yourself too much harmful UV exposure.