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Chemical Exfoliants: A Breakdown

Chemical Exfoliants: A Breakdown

When it comes to chemical exfoliants, there are two types to look out for; AHAs and BHAs (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids). AHAs help to loosen old, dead skin on the surface while BHAs penetrate the pores and unclog them.


Our Picks 

Here are our favorite exfoliants; starting with AHA Glycolic Acid. As a water-soluble AHA, It works by speeding up cell turnover and making collagen which makes the skin more plump and firm. The reason Glycolic acid is so effective is that it has the smallest molecules of all the AHAs so it absorbs into the skin better than any other. That being said, it helps with: 

  • Aging: Smooths fine lines and increases collagen 
  • Acne: Cleans out pores to prevent breakouts
  • Exfoliation: Helps ingrown hairs and makes pores appear smaller 
  • Hyperpigmentation: Fades dark spots and patches 

Up next is Lactic Acid, Another AHA, and don’t let the name fool you, most forms of lactic acid are actually Vegan. It works by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells to help your overall complexion; working on:

  • Unifying skin tone by reducing dark spots 
  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Brightening and smoothing skin 

Finally Salicylic acid which is a BHA that unclogs pores by dissolving debris. It reduces inflammation and redness, not only allowing pimples to heal faster but preventing you from breaking out in the first place. It works to:

  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • Unify uneven skin tone
  • Smooth out rough and bumpy skin
  • Unclog pores

How should we use them?

After doing a patch test to check for sensitivity, use a small amount on problem areas, twice a week, on a cleansed face. Then you can work your way up to using them nightly. The most important thing to note with chemical exfoliants is to use them at night as they increase skin sensitivity and as we all know, it is crucial to wear sunscreen during the day, especially if you are using a chemical exfoliant. 

See our Gentle Exfoliating Serum that combines AHAs and BHAs to reveal smoother skin, without irritation!