Alpha Beta Glow Pad

$32 - 20 towelette
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Skin Care > Self-Tanners > Self-Tanners
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Alpha Beta Glow Pad is a self-tanning towelette that contains a blend of lactic and glycolic acids (AHA exfoliants). While the exfoliation benefit is questionable (see More Info below for details), this self-tanner provides a natural-looking bronze glow and has its advantages when it comes to providing a mess-free application via disposable towelettes. The fragrance-free solution steeped onto the towelettes has a lightweight feel, and contains antioxidants. Disadvantages to consider include the small size of these 3x3 towelettes and other application nuances. All told, this is a decent, though pricey, self-tanning option.

  • The towelette makes it less messy to apply than tanning lotions/gels. (You don't end up with product in the nooks and crannies of your fingers so there is less of a chance of strange-looking orange hands.)
  • Delivers a natural-looking tan.
  • Lightweight formula dries quickly.
  • Contains antioxidants for added benefit.
  • Does not contain synthetic fragrances (which are irritating to skin).
  • After the initial self-tan develops, you receive additional color from the slower acting self-tanning agent erythrulose for a longer-lasting tan.
  • Multiple towelettes are needed to cover entire body.
  • It is more difficult to blend/sheer out color the where you want it to stop in comparison to a lotion, gel, or serum texture.
  • Despite claims you're not likely to receive any exfoliation benefit.

More info:

These self-tanning towelettes contain a blend of lactic and glycolic acids, two very effective forms of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). In order for AHAs to work they must be in a high enough concentration (about 4% to 10%) and within a pH range of 3.5 to 4. In this case, although the pH is in an effective range, the combined amount of AHAs is likely too low for either to work as an exfoliant to remove excess dead skin cells, and even if you did, that would decrease the longevity of your self-tan so it wouldn't be a benefit. For best results, exfoliate before applying self-tanner.

Alpha Beta Glow Pad is the only anti-aging, exfoliating sunless tanner that contains active Vitamin D (the sun vitamin) to provide smoother, healthier skin and natural radiance year-round. Microencapsulated DHA and Soy Protein deliver color deep into skin to prevent fading through surface exfoliation. Provides odorless, streak-free application & long lasting customized color. Prepared and packaged for convenient and easy use.

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Dihydroxyacetone, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Panthenol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D), Tocopheryl Acetate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Phospholipids, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Erythrulose, Phytic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.

As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. But Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.

As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?

Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to every Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!

Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159–161).

Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.

For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at

NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.

Member Comments

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  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

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  1. Barbie S.
    Reviewed on Friday, June 27, 2014
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    love these
    • I have tried a lot of face tanners, which is what this is. Dr. Gross makes one for face and a bigger one for body, so this is the perfect size for face and neck. so when Paula states in the "cons" list that multiple towelettes are need for the body.... Well that is because the 3 by 3 is for the face! The towelette exfoliates and deposits the perfect amount and gives a nice glow as the color develops. No pre-exfoliation necessary. Love this ! Great for travel!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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