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Somme Institute exfoliating Transport Pads

February 15, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 17 Comments
I first tried a Somme Institute product (it was the serum) about two years or so ago and there were many things that I liked about it. My inner nerd appreciated the advanced form of vitamin delivery, my design diva loved the packaging, but my skin? Well, it liked Somme Institute Serum ($82), but didn't love it. Not enough to buy another bottle. Now I am reunited with Somme Institute by a box of  glycolic acid-soaked Transport Pads ($58) that was given to me as a sample and I am intrigued to see if, this time, it can win me over on all counts.

Transport is a tub of glycolic acid, antioxidant and vitamin soaked cotton pads that are supposed to exfoliate, brighten the skin and deliver nutrients. I have just started to use them on my neck, decollete and hands. I must say, it is delivering on the first two promises big time. I need to give it a few more weeks to see if I am getting a longer term benefit. Initially, I was intrigued by the idea of pads. What's the point, I asked myself.

I think I do get the point now. These pads are extremely well-saturated with product (so much so, I could easily get two uses out of each) and I really feel as if I can rub in and target specific areas with more control - and more product - than if was to apply a serum with my fingers. For a large area, like the decollete (no, I'm not bragging, I mean relative to my face), coverage is efficient and even. For a small area, such as an age spot, you can really spend some time rubbing the pad - an activity that could be worthwhile given that the second ingredient is exfoliating glycolic acid.

Somme Institute basically has one tune in its repertoire, so it had better be a good one. It is something called Molecular Dispersion Technology (MDT5). Developed over seven years and tested on 5000 participants, MDT5 is a combo of vitamins A, B3, B5, C and E. They have been attached to proteins that target skin cell receptors to ensure that the nutrients are deeply absorbed.

Well, that could be a tune worth humming along with, especially as Transport Pads also have antioxidant green tea, grapeseed, chamomile and aloe. Unfortunately, there are a few things I don't like: tetrasodiume EDTA may or may not be an irritant, but it is certainly an environmental pollutant; methylchloroisothiazolinone is an irritant that has largely been removed from cosmetics other than rinse off ones; there are similar concerns for the controversial methylisothiazolinone.


Water, Glycolic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Green Tea Extract, Ethoxydiglycol, Ammonium Glycolate, Molecular Dispersion Technology (MDT5), Panthenol, Chamomile Extract, Aloe Powder, Menthol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Grapeseed Extract, Palma Rosa Extract, Ylang Ylang Extract, Jasmine Extract, Geranium Extract, Lavender Extract, Marigold Extract, Galbanum Extract
  • June 27, 2011

    by NoeyD77

    I'm REALLY big on exfoliating pads. I've tried the Glycolix Elite 20% but it contains a high amount of alcohol and acetone! I have been using them on my elbows and feet with great results.

    I have used Dr. Denese's Firming Facial Pads the longest, as they contain 10% glycolic acid and a host of other beneficial ingredients. The issues I have with that product is that my skin becomes acclimated to AHA's quickly and at 10%, I'm no longer experiencing the same results as when I first began using them, duh! I have been alternating with Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle Pads, which include several different aha's at a 20% concentration, but Im not too fond of having to rinse it off afterwards. I have also used the regular strength and the extra strength Alpha-Beta Peels by Dr. Dennis Gross, which I like very much, but the price ($85 for a month's supply) is just a bit too much when included in my overall beauty budget for one product. So for now, I alternate most days with Dr. Denese's and PTR's Un-Wrinkle PAds, then for a couple days I use Dr. Gross's Extra Strength Pads.

    I am very interested in the Somme Transport Pads. MARTA- do you know the % of aha's in them????

  • July 2, 2010

    by Naja

    I have to agree with Leslie Wayne. For the money, Glyxolix Elite's 20% treatment pads, which also come in 10% and 15% stenghts, are a much more effective and better option. Plus, they are pretty cheap!

    Even better than Glycolix is DCL 20 % Glycolic Acid pads, which are sold on Althoug the percentage of glycolic acid is the same, the pH is much lower for DCL (2 pH) than with the Glyxolix product, which makes for a stronger acid and a deeper peel.

    I stay away from any AHA pads that don't provide the percentage and pH of the acids. You should know what you're getting.

    Also, Beatriz, there is a world of difference between chemical and mechanical exfoliators. Chemical exfoliators, such as alphahydroxy acids, TCA and retinoids, do much more than simply smooth the skin. They are potent anitaging substances in and of themselves.

    Unlike mechanical exfoliators, chemical exfoliators stimulate and boost collagen production, firm the skin, greatly smooth the appearance of wrinkles and eliminate skin discoloration, such as melasma, sun damage and scars. Moreover, they smooth skin at a much deeper level than mechanical exfoliants, which only act on the top layer of skin. Because of this, any antioxidants in chemical peels will penetrate the skin more effectively.

    Simply put, chemical exfoliators can dramtatically change and enhance skin in a way that pure mechanical peels cannot.

  • February 18, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Marta - Do you happen to know what the percentage of glycolic acid is and what the pH is of the formula? Also - and sorry to be so nerdy - did the company tell you what percentage of niacin (vitamin B3) is in their MDT5? Thanks!

  • February 18, 2010

    by michlny

    I actually love the packaging on this product! :)

  • February 18, 2010

    by L

    If this is something you like and you are giving
    some away for a review, I would be happy to try it and give a review.
    Thank you and have a wonderful day!
    By the way, you not only have great products, but also great customer service!

  • February 18, 2010

    by Beatriz

    I do not see an advantage in usying an chemical exfoliator in a pad, as an physical one. I suppose it it a new presentation only to draw attention of the public. But it is a way to maluse some product. Perhaps I do not see the advantages, but in the destription there is none.

  • February 18, 2010

    by marta

    Cheryl, it has one - methylparaben.

  • February 18, 2010

    by Zoe

    I've pretty much dismissed exfoliater pads because I guess I've only ever used the cheap, drug store kinds and those seem to be about the most useless beauty product you can find. But your review has definitely piqued my interest. Right now I occasionally exfoliate using a glycolic solution that I apply to different spots with a cotton ball. No rubbing action or anything. I can see that having a pad, especially combining a number of different ingredients, would make for a better treatment all around. Also, I'd love a free sample! I feel like a kid at gym class: pick me! Pick me!

  • February 17, 2010

    by cheryl

    Does it contain parabens??

  • February 17, 2010

    by Elyse

    Several years ago, a friend gave me a jar of Dr. Denese glycolic pads. While I was not wildly enthusiastic about trying them, I quickly discovered what all the excitement was about in regard to the effects of AHAs. Although fortunately, I didn't have many lines and no acne, I found the texture of my skin improved dramatically. So much so in fact, I've continued using them ever since - along with a variety of other products. When I developed a mild case of eczema last summer from using an abrasive scrub (I should know better...) and had to stop the glycolic for about three months, my skin went into major withdrawl and the difference was apparent. These Somme pads sound terrific. I'd love to try them!

  • February 17, 2010

    by Maryamzzz

    I have tried making my own concotions with Vitamin K and Chyrsin from SkinActives. I would be very interested in trying this serum. I use Glycolic Acid from MD Forte regularly, but after some time the effects aren't as effective.

  • February 17, 2010

    by Leslie Wayne

    I've used Glycolix Elite Treatment Pads 20% by Topix Pharmaceuticals in the past (60 pads for $15.63 through and found them to be very effective, especially at getting rid of bumpy skin on upper arms and chest area. They contain 20% glycolic acid, and vitamins A, C, E.and Green Tea Extract anti-oxidant. Sounds like Somme may have some added ingredients/benefits, but not sure if the cost would be all that worth it. I'd be happy to try them and give you a comparison.

  • February 17, 2010

    by samantha

    I would love to try these and see if they help with my dark spots I got while I was pregnant. 3 years later I still have them!

  • February 17, 2010

    by Lori

    Brighter skin? Fading age spots? Help for the all too long forgotten decollete? Interesting delivery system? Certainly got my attention...

  • February 17, 2010

    by Chris

    I've tried the Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads, but was not very impressed with them. I do like the idea of pads versus a serum or lotion. I think the pads may help exfoliate as you use them as well. I'd love to add the Transport Pads to my regimen and give you some feedback!

  • February 17, 2010

    by Amanda Montoya

    I have long been averse to trying glycolic - heard it was too harsh, and while I do not have sensitive skin, I did not want to start down a road that I would regret.

    However, in my quest for knowledge about how to best work with mature skin, I came upon your site. Absorbed with reading and having not yet tried any products, I'm ready to begin. (My over-mid-40s skin has LONG been ready for me to jump in face first.)

    I like the concept of MDT5 and ready to give it a try!


  • February 17, 2010

    by jess

    I received a full-size sample of these as a gift with purchase. I'd never heard of Somme, and honestly I wasn't even sure what the pads were for; but in the throes of a sudden, cruel burst of adult acne, I was ready to try anything. Prescription gels, sulfur masks, aspirin concoctions, everything in my arsenal had failed me. Two weeks later, the big cystic lumps have been replaced with smooth texture and rapidly fading scars. And frankly, though I always thought the promise of 'bright, radiant' skin was just marketing hoo-ha, I get it now. I've actually been using less makeup because the glow is too nice to cover up.

    While part of me groans that the last thing I need is to become dependent on yet another expensive skincare product, this stuff is worth it. As Marta notes, the pads are positively soaked in product. You can cut them in half for better mileage, or dip cotton swabs in the liquid for a quick spot treatment (I did this with my emerging volcanos). I'd wager a guess that when the pads are all gone, there's enough liquid remaining to sop up with cotton pads. And aside from appealing to my teenage side, the vehicle allows for even application and as much scrubbing action as you desire.

    Currently, I use a Murad C treatment, but the packaging is awful and leaves the product prone to contamination. I would love to try Somme's serum on scars and spots, not to mention the lines cropping up on my orbital bones. Thanks!

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