Review: Geek & Gorgeous aPAD Serum

Where to purchase: Available on the Geek & Gorgeous Website: HERE

Price: £8.97

Volume: 30ml

Made in: Hungary

What is it?: A water based serum containing 6% of an Azelaic Acid derivative (Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate – ”PAD”) which aims to even the skin tone, calm the skin down and reduce sebum production.

Brand Description: PAD has similar properties to Azelaic acid but can be stored in a water formula. PAD works best as a sebum controller and skin-tone evener. But it can help with rosacea (however Azelaic Acid works better with Rosacea issues than PAD).

Tackles: Extra Oiliness, Redness (but I would depend on Azelaic acid more for Serious Rosacea), Uneven Skin Tone and Sensitivity (but it works best at oiliness + uneven skin problems i.e. reducing Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation).

Supposedly Good for: All skin types, including sensitive skins.

What I think: I agree as even when my skin is sensitised, this serum does not sting.

Summer or Winter?: I’ve used this both in the Winter and Summer PMs, and it hasn’t been too heavy for either season.


Youtube Video: See a Live Swatch of the aPAD Serum as well as Information on the Ingredient itself

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Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

pH: 5.5-6.5

Pregnancy Safe?: Yes

Packaging: Glass bottle with a dropper (No Issues in terms of picking up + dispensing products). Note: This lasts 2 years if unopened and 6 months after opening.

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Directions: Apply after cleansing (before emulsions + creams). It can be used both in the AM and PM.

How I use it: I use this in the PM after toning (i.e. using my Cheer Up Exfoliating Solution HERE).

What is PAD (Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate) and what does it do?: This is an Azelaic Acid Derivative mixed with a hydrating amino acid called Glycine. It is 1. Anti-acne (as it helps regulate sebum production), 2. Skin Brightening (it blocks Tyrosinase from working, and Tyrosinase is needed to create melanin/pigmentation in the skin) and also 3. Soothing.

It is water soluble, so can be put into watery formulas (usually Azelaic Acid is in Silicones or Oils). In terms of Rosacea, studies done using it also included other actives, so it’s hard to tell what PAD does on its own in relation to rosacea and hyperpigmentation.

SO the advice is not to use this solely to tackle pigmentation OR rosacea, but to use this as a supplement with other actives/ a pigmentation tackling routine (or for those who are too sensitive to use Azelaic Acid). I would even do the same in terms of oil control and brightening – that’s why I like to use this with the Cheer Up Exfoliating Solution and/or The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid (and I use a Vitamin C in the morning). Sources: HERE / HERE


Key Ingredients: 6% PAD , Glycerin and Methyl-Gluceth 20 (This combination helps with moisturisation + hydration)+ Allantoin (Soothing).

The two strong points of PAD is to even the skin tone and to control excessive oiliness.  

Full Ingredients: Water, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Methyl-Gluceth 20, Allantoin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

Texture: This is a nice, fast-absorbing serum with a thin gel consistency (which means that this doesn’t sit well under silicone formulas like the Laneige Radian-C Cream (HERE). It has a very similar texture (or identical) to the other Geek and Gorgeous Serums like the B-Bomb, Review HERE and the C-Glow, Review HERE).

It feels nice and hydrating on the skin. Because this doesn’t play too nice with Silicones, I like to use this in the PM to avoid any SPF issues.

This doesn’t feel oily, sticky or greasy. Tackiness will only occur if a lot of product is used (typical for gel-based formulas) – which is why I think it doesn’t play well with silicone.

As you can see this looks like a typical watery gel-like texture.


This spreads nicely along the skin. You can see it looks water + gel-like.


The skin looks hydrated, this sinks in and absorbs nicely. It doesn’t take long for this to suck up into the skin.


Video Swatch:

Fragrance?: No added Fragrance and/or essential oils. This also doesn’t smell of anything (i.e. no strong/offensive smells).

Good Under Makeup?: I wouldn’t use this under makeup (as this doesn’t play that well under silicone-heavy formulas) but in the PM before bed. It is layerable in skincare however.

How long have I been using this?: 3 Months every other PM.

The Effect?: Improved overall skin look, sebum and texture (I use in conjunction with the Cheer Up Exfoliating Fluid from Geek and Gorgeous and/or the Granactive Retinoid 1% Emulsion so I get a nice rounded-out routine of skin maintenance).

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What I like:

  • Watery texture (much nicer to use)
  • Lightweight
  • Layerable
  • Didn’t irritate / sting
  • Gentle
  • Hydrating
  • Has helped with sebum normalisation

What I don’t like:

  • PAD (Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate) isn’t as strong as Azelaic Acid (it’s a derivative) so takes longer to see results / be more effective (But less irritating than Azelaic Acid for me). So longer, consistent use is required.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4/5 – Not an Azelaic Acid replacement. But for those who find Azelaic acid a bit irritating, or don’t mind using a derivative, this is a nice, very gentle product that seems to layer nicely and hydrate the skin. With continuous use, I’ve started seeing some nice results and definitely feel less greasy/ oily (and its summer here now). I will continue to this as a supplement to a skin brightening/ sebum regulating routine. I also think it has helped with my redness (but I wouldn’t say that I have rosacea). so this has all-round been good at helping maintain the skin’s condition. I wouldn’t use it specifically on its own to correct any skin ailments, but it’s a great, non-irritating, watery supplement.

Would I repurchase?: Yes as I really like how gentle this is and I really enjoy it in a water formula.

Dupe?: Obviously Azelaic Acid provides quicker results, but it cannot be stored in water (yet), So the Ordinary 10% Azelaic Acid Suspension is a dupe (This is silicone-based however) or the Typology Azelaic Acid 10% Serum (this is oil-based however). There are other products that use this Azelaic Acid Derivative (Like Garden of Wisdom) but I haven’t tried them so I don’t know the wearability / texture.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Geek & Gorgeous aPAD Serum

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