Saturday, 15 June 2019

The Basics of Chemical Exfoliation : Acid Toners, Acid Peels (AHAs & BHAs)

Acid peels are the new star in skincare. A millenial concept, with hundreds of brands catering to this new demand via a variety of products and formulations can come across as daunting for someone who is just trying to make the switch to this gentler variant of exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliants work by loosening the dead skin cells sitting on top of your skin, gently and evenly. By doing this your skin can shed them easily, revealing healthy plump skin cells that lay hidden beneath! 
Let's discuss a little on the topic of AHAs and BHAs. Abbreviations for alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, it's a term you will frequently find in the ingredient list of any chemical exfoliant. AHAs also go by the name 'fruit acids' as they are found in a variety of citrus fruits and are water soluble. BHAs on the other hand are lipid (oil) soluble and so can expect them to penetrate better and get rid of excess sebum. Speaking simply, if you have oily and acne prone skin you are likely to fare better with a BHA containing peel.


Chemical Exfoliation, best acid peels review, best acid toners review

AHAs & WHAT DO THEY DO?

Examples of AHA include Glycolic acid (quite common), Lactic acid (the natural exfoliant hiding in your refrigerator!!), Citric acid (good old lime and lemon), Malic acid, to name a few.

Look for formulations having a maximum AHA content of 10-15%. All of them provide good exfoliation, lactic acid being the gentlest and most ideal for sensitive skin. AHAs also help in battling signs of ageing as they can boost collagen production (think of collagen as elastic strands that keep your skin bouncy and youthful), and also help to decrease signs of photo-ageing like crepey skin and fine lines.


Chemical Exfoliation, best acid peels review, best acid toners review

BHAs & WHAT DO THEY DO?

This group includes Salicylic acid (if you have oily and acne prone skin, you've probably heard of this before), which has been shown to be greatly beneficial in acne, reducing its number and severity.
BHAs also have the additional property of being skin calming, so if any of you are prone to redness or rosacea, even milia, don't be hesitant to pick this!

NOW YOU'VE CHOSEN YOUR MOLECULE, HOW SHOULD YOU BEGIN USING IT?

Before you think of adding chemical exfoliants to your arsenal for glowing skin, be sure to develop a diligent practice of applying sunscreen, and that too the right amount! Chemical exfoliation reveals fresh skin cells from the deeper layers which are much more prone to sun damage, and nobody wants that! It's going to end up being counter-productive.

It's always wise to start chemical exfoliation with low percentages of the molecule, 1-2% (salicylic acid) or 5-8% (glycolic/lactic acid).

Do a patch test first, to determine how your skin will react to this process. If everything is fine, go ahead and add it to your regime. Allow your skin to adapt, which basically means - DON'T start using it everyday straightaway! Incorporating any new product into your regime slowly directly reduces the risk of overdoing it and facing skin irritation.


Chemical Exfoliation, best acid peels review, best acid toners review

You can slowly increase the frequency or concentration, but do it slowly and allow the feel of your skin to guide you. If it ain't broken, don't fix it- if your skin is doing well with a certain frequency and concentration, be happy and let it be, don't mindlessly overdo it in greed for a glow that can be seen from the moon. Won't happen girl, but your redness and breakouts will sure be seen by fellow Earthlings.

Also, if you are a beginnner, you can start by incorporating Acid Toners (like the Pixi Glow Tonic or the Ordinary Glycolic acid toner) into your skincare routine first and then progress to acid peel solutions (which are usually of higher concentration).  


Your Guide to Exfoliation

COMBINING THEM BOTH :

This is purely your choice, but it is not required per se. The end line is that you can experiment and see what works best for your skin. We cannot stress this enough, listen to your skin! If you decide to use both, use them together at a single time, or alternate one for morning, one for evening. Or go for an alternate day regimen, it's all upto you.

So there you have it, all our thought on chemical exfoliation and how to go about it. We sincerely hope this two part series helps you in making the correct choice! 

HERE ARE A FEW ACID PEELS/ACID TONERS THAT WE HAVE USED IN THE PAST : 
  1. Pixi Glow Tonic (mild acid toning) - REVIEWED HERE (love)
  2. Innisfree wine peeling jelly
  3. Gravitale skin rejuvenating gel - REVIEWED HERE (love)
  4. The Ordinary AHA + BHA solution - REVIEWED HERE (love)
  5. Kiehl's Micro refining peel (love)
  6. Dr Sheths Gentle daily peel - REVIEWED HERE
  7. Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask - REVIEWED HERE (love - a perfect mix of chemical & physical exfoliation!)
Chemical Exfoliation, best acid peels review, best acid toners review

READ ALL ABOUT PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION AND OUR PICKS HERE!!