Planning to expand your skincare routine? You should definitely consider chemical exfoliating. Now, what’s chemical exfoliating? :O
Ok, don’t panic! Chemical exfoliating is actually a ‘safer’ alternative to physical exfoliating (facial scrubs) because you don’t have to make rubbing motions onto your skin but this one’s just as tricky because you have to read, read, and read before incorporating facial acids into your skincare routine!
Before we go in deep, let’s learn a thing or two about facial acids:
AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) are the two branches of chemical exfoliants. Under each one includes a variety of hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and many more. These ingredients are found in a variety of skincare products to treat different skin conditions and improve skin features. AHA and BHA are not the same but they are often formulated together in various skin care products for that extra ‘punch’ of clear, glowy skin.
AHA is water-soluble and they dissolve and exfoliate dead skin cells. It also helps to stimulate collagen production, revealing plump skin with lesser fine lines, dullness and hyperpigmentation. AHAs include Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid and Tartaric Acid.
BHA on the other hand is oil-soluble. This is the one that keeps all of the sebum away! BHA penetrates deep into the skin to dissolve blackhead, whitehead, acne, clogged pores and many more. BHA is great to get rid of excess oil and dead skin cells off your skin. BHAs include Salicylic Acid and Willow Bark Extract.
A few rules to including acids into your skincare routine for beginners:
#1 Less is more
Don’t use too many acids at the same time as this can irritate your skin which will then lead to skin reaction or worse, damaged skin barrier. Try one type of acid first as the beginning of your chemical exfoliating journey.
#2 Patch test your acids first
It’s super important to patch test any of your skincare products to avoid any potential breakouts, even more, for chemical exfoliants. Apply the product under your ear and wait for 24 hours to see if there’s any reaction. If there is, stop using it completely.
#3 Don’t mix and match your acids blindly
This isn’t your favourite fast food meal so please do some research before lining up your skincare products. You should never use Retinol and AHA/BHAs at the same time because it could lead to skin irritation and could even trigger eczema.
#4 Be wary of the acid percentage
Just because the percentage of concentration is higher, it doesn’t mean that it’s any better! Well, it is better but you should start small with the acid percentage in your chemical exfoliant if you’re a beginner.
#5 Always wear your Sunscreen!
This goes without saying, always, always, always, wear your sunscreen, especially when you’re using AHA/BHA! These two can cause sun sensitivity so if you’re outdoors and you don’t have any sunscreen on your skin, the UV rays can be absorbed into your skin even easier than before you started using your AHA/BHA, leading to potential skin damage due to sun exposure.