Medik8 Press & Glow Review

I’ve been a bit absent on my blog recently. A house move, combined with lingering stress from the past 18 months of madness has left me feeling lacking in the inspiration department. So I sat down and thought about what I used to love writing about on here. And obviously the first answer was skincare, alongside sharing products and tips that help others to find products that work for their sensitive skin. I scanned my skincare shelf for products I’ve been using for ages and want to rave about and the Medik8 Press & Glow Exfoliating PHA Tonic absolutely ticks those boxes.

Medik8 Press & Glow Exfoliating PHA Tonic review. Exfoliation tips for rosacea prone skin. Sensitive skin exfoliating.

The usual disclaimers apply here: I am not a dermatologist, I have no training in skin or the health of skin. However, I have had rosacea for 16 years and have been writing about it for about 9 years. In that time I’ve tried hundreds of products, spoken to countless experts, listened to and supported thousands of other rosaceans (either here on the blog, on my Instagram account, or in my private Rosacea Club facebook page).

If you are new to the blog – or to rosacea in general – I would recommend starting HERE: this is the ultimate rosacea blog post, with so many tips on everything from skincare, to diet, to trigger management, to stress reduction.

A * next to a product indicates a PR sample. Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means if you choose to purpose from my recommendation I get a small percentage in return at absolutely no extra to you. It’s a great way to support my blog and the work I do.

Exfoliation is a common topic when it comes to rosacea. When I was first diagnosed, my skin was so intensely dry and itchy and (knowing absolutely nothing about skincare or rosacea) I used an infamous apricot scrub every day in an attempt to get rid of my dry skin. EVERY. DAY. Unsurprisingly, this made my dry skin worse and made my rosacea so angry that the heat in my skin gave me headaches that left me in bed all day. That experience terrified me so much that I didn’t touch any exfoliating products for years.

Over time, as I learned more about skincare, about rosacea in general and – most importantly – about my own skin, I very gently dipped my toe back into the exfoliating pool. I know that many of you will be wondering ‘can I exfoliate if I have rosacea?’ and the answer is ‘yes but carefully… using the right products… and only if your skin is healthy enough to take it’. If your skin is inflamed, itchy, tight, or more red than usual this is not a good time to be adding exfoliation into your regime. Focus on getting your skin as calm as you can (and that means whatever calm means *FOR YOU*, comparing your skin to other people’s is unhelpful and pointless).

I would also look at the type of acid in the exfoliator you are considering. Personally, now that my rosacea is mostly under control, my skin can tolerate very small amounts of AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) however it much, much prefers PHAs – these are a gentler form of chemical exfoliator and are much better suited to sensitive skin.

Medik8 Press & Glow Exfoliating PHA Tonic review. Exfoliation tips for rosacea prone skin. Sensitive skin exfoliating.

I’ve been promising a blog post listing the different kinds of exfoliating products, featuring some of my all-time favourite recommendations, and it is coming… at some point. But for now I wanted to talk to you about the Medik8 Press & Glow Exfoliating Tonic* as that has been the product I’ve been using the most for the past year or so.

You should all know by now that I’m a huge Medik8 fan girl – they make some incredible products that I have featured over and over again – and I was very excited by the news that they were releasing a chemical exfoliator. It contains PHA (Gluconolactone, if you’re interested in the details) as well as Prickly Pear Extract, Aloe Vera, and Acai Extract.

I apply a few pumps to a reusable cotton pad (the Body Shop ones* are great and also have days of the week labels on them which is ADORABLE) and swipe across my face, focusing on the areas of my skin that are prone to congestion first: nose, chin, jawline. I then use what’s left on the pad to go over the rest of my face. (Have a look at the tips I share at the bottom of this post if you’re still nervous!) I then wait about 10/15 minutes before applying the rest of my skincare routine.

I have had absolutely no issues with Medik8 Press & Glow: no flare ups, no redness, no irritation and my skin absolutely loves it. My texture is improved, my skin looks more glowy, the congestion on my t-zone is drastically improved and the marks left by any hormonal spots are much lighter. And because my skin is less dry and textured, my make up goes on better and looks more natural.

A really nice touch is that the product packaging is fully recyclable – except for the pump – but the pump can be reused as Medik8 sell refills. I love it when brands make recycling easier and also understand that cheaper refills are much more preferable to buying a brand new bottle.

Here are some tips for introducing a chemical exfoliator into your routine . These apply to any similar product, not just the Medik8 Press & Glow.


  • Where does a chemical exfoliator fit into my routine? After cleanser, before serum/moisturiser. As mentioned above, I tend to wait at least 10-15 minutes between the Medik8 Press & Glow and my next skincare steps.
  • Start slow. Like with all new products in your routine, you should introduce it as slowly as you can. Use it once or twice a week for a few weeks until you’re sure that your skin likes it, then you can bump it up to 2-3 times a week. The product description says it can be used daily, but I don’t think that’s wise for rosacea skin. I use this every other day and my skin is happy with that.
  • You can choose where to apply it. Test it on the areas of your face that are less sensitive (for me that’s my jaw and chin) and avoid the areas that are most aggravated (e.g. cheeks and temples).
  • If you’re still nervous, you can wet your cotton pad before applying the product to the wet pad. That will dilute the tonic slightly, lowering the chance of irritation (obviously this will reduce the positive effects as well, just FYI) so you can build up even more slowly.
  • Applying your serum/moisturiser immediately after your chemical exfoliation step will also dilute the product slightly, so that could also help give you some peace of mind if you’re nervous.

Have you tried a chemical exfoliator? What would be your tips for use? Has this post helped alleviate any fears you might have had? Let me know in the comments below!


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Medik8 Press & Glow Exfoliating PHA Tonic review. Exfoliation tips for rosacea prone skin. Sensitive skin exfoliating.

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