Acid on your face? You must be kidding, right? No, we are not talking the harmful kind, let us explain a little.
Exfoliation is the process of eliminating unwanted dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It is an important step in maintaining a healthy cell turnover as we get older.
Acid is your skin’s friend
As we age our natural regeneration process slows down. This leaves our skin looking dull and lifeless and almost gray in complexion. Unless we take action these unwanted dead skin cells can clog pores, leading to blackheads, congestion, and breakouts. Worst of all you are wasting your valuable skin care products as they try to penetrate through layers of dead skin.
There are two ways to exfoliate the skin:
1. Physical peel: A physical exfoliant uses manual grit-like ingredients, these are massaged into the skin and as a result slough away the dead skin.
2. Chemical peel: Chemical peels are exfoliants which are acid-based they dissolve the skin cells without any mechanical stimulation or abrasion.
Acid exfoliation or chemical peels
Chemical skin peels can be divided into two categories:
* alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs): AHAs work on the surface
* beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs): BHAs penetrate deeper and are great for combatting oily, clogged pores and tackling acne.
How do I choose?
So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at six of the most common acids.
1. Glycolic – AHA – derived from plants with a high sugar content and provide a mild exfoliation.
2. Salicylic – BHA – combats pimples and breakouts. Salicylic penetrates into pores to reduce inflammation, combat bacteria and exfoliate dead skin cells blocking the entrance of the pores.
3. Citric Acid – AHA – Derived from citrus fruit (often Vitamin C) – great for boosting the radiance of the skin.
4. Azelaic Acid – BHA – while azelaic acid is mildly water-soluble, and ideal for acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea thanks to its anti-inflammatory action.
5. Lactic Acid – AHA – great for sensitive skin and suitable for all skin types.
6. Mandelic Acid – AHA – Mandelic is really gentle, while still getting to work dislodging dead skin cells. It’s also oil-soluble, meaning it can get to work inside your pores as well. Ideal even for the most sensitive skin.
No matter how young or old it is never too early or too late to start giving your skin a more meaningful exfoliation. For deeper peels only make use of an aesthetics doctor. Choose wisely and always seek out the advice of a professional.
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