Behold, one of my best kept beauty secrets! I love this product. It’s one of my most favourite skin treatments. Ever. Each bottle lasts me at least 6 months and I’m more than half way through my third bottle!
NeoStrata Toning Solution Level 2 is a liquid skin treatment with 10% glycolic acid (AHA) and 2% salicylic acid (BHA), both are chemical exfoliants and the strongest strength available without a prescription in Canada (where NeoStrata is based). The salicylic acid exfoliates the top layer of the skin and inside to the pores to treat and keep away skin congestion and acne. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent so it helps calm redness. In addition, it has been shown to be able to rebuild sun-damaged skin collagen ¹. Glycolic acid, on the other hand, exfoliates the skin’s surface to make skin looks more evenly tone, bright, and smooth. It also increases skin’s own production of hyaluronic acid and collagen ². It’s like the skin’s equivalent of full-on workout session followed by a healthy, refueling meal.
We can do nothing and gracefully accept our body changes but it’s much better in the long-run to be doing some regular workout sessions, no? Especially when the only actual effort required for the skin’s ‘workout’ involved smoothing some liquid over your face!
I had been using this regularly since the product debuted in 2010, and here are my results. Keep in mind that I had good skin to begin with — I’m not boasting, just being frank. My usage: applied on clean, bare skin alternate nights using my hands — cotton wool pad was too wasteful as it absorbed a lot of the solution — 3 drops for face and 2 drops for neck and chest area. There was a slight tingling feeling upon application but nothing uncomfortable. The outer packaging clearly stated that was to be expected. Very smooth, bright skin morning after treatment. Long-term results are that my pores look smaller, my skin looks clearer, firmer, and brighter, and I have been almost entirely blemish-free. I have hardly needed to use any foundation or concealer.
My skin has always benefited from regular exfoliation of the non-mechanical kind. I’m not talking about scrubs or Clarisonic here, I’m referring to enzymes and other exfoliating agents that remove dead skin cells without having to physically ‘scrub’ them off. I have always used some sort of chemical exfoliants, including AHAs and BHA — whether in the form of a mask, a cleanser, serum or a moisturizer. The difference with NeoStrata Toning Solution Level 2, is that it’s a straightforward formulation of the 2 acids together in an effective pH — no fillers to dilute the effects.
Some important things to note:
1. The product is supposed to tingle but it should not be painful! This product contains a high dose of acids and first time users need to slowly build up tolerance. There is also the NeoStrata Toning Solution Level 1 with 8% glycolic acid in the same formulation but no salicylic acid.
2. I don’t use any other form of exfoliation the day that I’m using the solution. Over-exfoliation is not a good thing — chemical burn is painful and not pretty!
NeoStrata Toning Solution Level 2, 100ml, is Canadian-exclusive and it’s retailed for CDN$29 from Well.ca (HERE) — shipping available to Canada and USA only.