It's always a pleasure to have the opportunity to guest post on Laura's, a fellow beauty addict, blog. Today I want to talk about exfoliation. In particular, different ways to chemically exfoliate your skin. It doesn't always have to be about scrubby granules or things that get stuck in your sink. In fact, AHAs and BHAs are some of the star players in sloughing away dead skin (by dissolving their bonds with your skin’s surface) without damaging the new layers underneath.
Alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic and lactic acid, are one of the gentlest and great for sensitive, mature and very dry skins. They hold in moisture well and over time can encourage the production of collagen and strengthen your epidermis which makes for plumper, healthier skin.
Beta-hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid) are the stronger of the two and tend to work best for oily/acne prone skin types or those who can take a more intense chemical exfoliation. They penetrate deeper to break down anything that is clogging your pores.
Of course, with all chemical exfoliants, they are best used at night on clean skin. It's also important to use sufficient SPF during the day as these acids will leave your skin more susceptible to sun damage if unprotected. Now that we've got the key notes out of the way, here are five ways to chemically exfoliate your skin.
#1 PIXI GLOW TONIC
This cult favourite can be used as a daily toner or targeted treatment. My first foray into the world of chemical exfoliants and a great way to test the waters if you have sensitive skin. Glow Tonic is very gentle with 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera and witch hazel to refine and brighten the complexion. I've been using this for two years now and it has done wonders to improve the texture of my skin and keep those pores clean.
#2 SQUISH AND BUBBLE MESH TREATMENTS
A skincare edit wouldn't be complete without a little Korean beauty "skintertainment". The idea behind these single sachet is that each puff (like a palm sized powder puff) is pre-dosed in a chemical exfoliant treatment solution. You add a little water to the puff, squish it and it will start to bubble and foam. You then apply it to clean skin in gentle circular motions. The puff also adds a light helping of manual exfoliation and leaves skin feeling smoother and looking more radiant.
K-beauty brand WISH Formula produce one of these with both Vitamin C, glycolic and lactic acids as well as polyglutamic acid. Poyglutamic acid is produced from a fermented Japanese soybean and has been discovered to be more hydrating than hyaluronic acid (which this treatment also contains), improve dark spots and pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles by penetrating to the deepest layers of the skin. Starskin Beauty's Glowstar Foaming Puff is a more easily available option in the UK and contains both glycolic and lactic acids as well as carrot and tomato to aid that brightening effect.
#3 EXFOLIATING PADS
Everyone's favourite for quick targeting and on the go treatments. There are a lot of options on the market varying in price but it's the percentage of acid that you've got to look out for. The First Aid Beauty Pads and Nip + Fab's "Extreme" Pads both contain 5% glycolic like the Glow Tonic. The latter also contains BHA salicylic acid so would be more suited to those prone to acne or blackheads.
My favourite are the Wine Peeling Gauze Pads by Korean brand NEOGEN. These contain a blend of AHA's (glycolic, lactic and tartaric) as well as natural AHA resveratrol. This is made by fermenting red wine and makes a great antioxidant too. It also contains fruit acids high in Vitamins A and C.
Higher end brands such as Peter Thomas Roth, Cane + Austin and Rodial provide glycolic acid treatments in the 15-20% mark. However, so does Pixi with their Glow Pads which also contain soothing rosewater. These come in at £24.
#4 FACE MASKS
Although cleansers take the top spot as my favourite skincare product, face masks are up there in the top three. There are many varieties from textures to formulations to applications. The first chemical exfoliating face mask I ever tried was REN's Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask with a blend of glycolic, lactic, citric and tartaric acids. Masks rich in fruit enzymes also do an amazing job. I like to apply the Kiehl's Pineapple & Papaya Scrub as a mask and let it eat away at those dead skin layers. Papaya is great for treating redness too.
#5 PEELING GELS
In the K-Beauty world, peeling gels aren't technically considered face masks or scrubs. They are gels rich in fruit enzymes that when applied to dry skin will start to "ball up" as they're massaged in. This is the gathering of the peeling gel as it picks up all the dead skin leaving little jelly like blobs on the skin ready to be washed away. Fruit enzymes break down keratin protein which is what easily removes dead skin and leaves you with a softer, smoother skin and a fresh glow. Mizon’s Apple Smoothie Peeling Gel is a popular choice. And the best part is, no microbeads or other tiny granules are going to end up in your sink or down the drain.
What's your favourite way to exfoliate?
Thank you, Sarirah! Check her blog out here.
Thank you, Sarirah! Check her blog out here.