I used to think that I had sensitive skin. As it turned out, the products I was using were not working for my skin. When I first started using chemical exfoliants, AHAs, I ended up using glycolic acid, which was too irritating to my skin. After some extensive research (you can read my post on chemical exfoliants here), I realized my skin probably needed a different type of AHA, so I purchased the Stratia Soft Touch AHA, which is a mandelic acid.
I’ll be adding more reviews of Stratia over the course of the next couple of days because I am always proud to purchase from small, women-run businesses. Additionally, Stratia is going to be having a Black Friday sale, so I want to get reviews out for those interested in purchasing!
Alli, the owner of Stratia, creates all of the formulas for the products and makes them herself. She has meticulously researched ingredients and based on the four products I’ve tried–Soft Touch AHA, Rewind, Velvet Cleansing Milk, and Liquid Gold–her research has paid off!
Stratia Soft Touch AHA
This comes in an airless pump bottle, which is nice for protecting the product, but you can’t see how much is left and have to go by feel/weight.
“Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are skincare powerhouses. They dissolve the intercellular “glue” between dead cells on the surface of your skin, revealing the smooth, bright skin underneath.
Many AHAs can also cause significant irritation and redness, especially to those with sensitive skin. Mandelic acid is the exception: it is a much larger molecule than glycolic acid, so it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply and therefore causes significantly less irritation.
Mandelic acid is a truly magical AHA. Its powers include:
• Increasing cell turnover
• Fading hyperpigmentation
• Stimulating collagen production
• Fading fine lines and wrinkles
• Regulating sebum (oil) production
• Fighting acne with its unique antibacterial properties
Soft Touch AHA has 10% mandelic acid, along with skin-soothers like aloe, chamomile, and allantoin to give you bright, smooth skin with the least amount of irritation possible. Its light gel formula dries quickly and can be used under makeup and other skincare products.” (Stratiaskin.com)
Alli, uh, knows her stuff. That’s pretty much exactly the sort of description I would give of the ingredients. I honestly don’t have much to add. The full list of ingredients is below.
Water (Aqua), Mandelic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Panthenol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
The (Personal) Evidence
I’ve been using Stratia Soft Touch AHA since February, and it is by far my favorite chemical exfoliant. After my evening double cleanse, I use my Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying toner to make sure my skin’s ph is low enough. Stratia is formulated at a ph of about 3.4. So, I want to bring my skin’s ph down so that it can do it’s work most effectively. I use between 2-3 pumps, which easily covers my face and my neck/chin. I then wait 10 minutes or so before moving on to the next step in my routine.
Unlike the glycolic and lactic acids I’ve used, the Stratia AHA doesn’t sting and doesn’t turn my face red. The soothing aloe and camomile extracts do their job well to soothe my skin. The AHA is a cloudy, viscous liquid that spreads easily on the skin.
Yes, like most AHAs, Stratia soft touch stinks. As in, smells very, very bad. Like a gross locker room, musty, icky smell. But since I’m using this as a chemical exfoliant and not as a perfume, I don’t really mind. The smell dissipates pretty quickly.
But the reason I love Stratia has been the results. Over the course of the past 9 months, my skin has become smoother, brighter, and clearer. For example, my jawline had a number of rough spots with small bumps and those all disappeared after about three weeks of consistent use, and they have not returned. The Stratia Soft Touch AHA also works really well to fade PIH, especially new PIH, although I haven’t found it to make a difference on sun spots.
The morning after I use this, my skin is absolutely glowing. What’s great is that because it’s so gentle, I have built up to using this as often as every other night with no issues of over-exfoliation. I usually add a few layers of extra hydration (and I use Liquid Gold, too) on nights that I use it, but other than that, I don’t have to worry about this damaging my skin. Personally, I recommend this to people with sensitive skin, who can’t handle the irritation from glycolic acid.
The Stratia AHA has also been great for spot treatments, even on the occasional cystic pimple that has threatened to appear on my chin. It’s kept them small and gotten rid of them very quickly.
As with all AHAs, it makes my skin photosensitive, so I always wear sunscreen. The photosensitizing effects last for a week after the last application. So, if you decide to use an AHA, you *must* wear sunscreen.
Overall, I can confidently say that I have found the AHA I will continue to use as long as Alli keeps making it. It’s not often that my eyes stop wandering to shiny new products (you know I love buying crap!). I’ll admit that the lure of Sunday Riley Good Genes did catch me, but that was an incredible disappointment. Good Genes is a crazy expensive AHA that, for my skin, worked just as well–but certainly no better–as the Stratia. It really just confirmed that as far as my skin goes, Stratia Soft Touch AHA is all I need.
I’m on my second bottle and plan to purchase a backup during the Stratia Black Friday sale!
So, will I buy this product again?
- Did you not read the review? Yes, of course. I will spend all of my money on this product!
- Yes. I enjoy this product enough to purchase again in the future, especially if it’s on sale.
- Meh. Maybe. I mean, I bet there are other, better things out there. I’d use it if someone gave it to me.
- No. I won’t use this again and will probably bad-mouth it to others.
- Hahahahaha. Nope. Noooooooope. Not even if you paid me.
The Verdict: Did you not read the review? Yes, of course. I will spend all of my money on this product!
Where you can purchase: Stratia $14