IT’S TIME TO CLARIFY SOME BEAUTY INGREDIENTS—RECHARGE, RESURFACE AND REJUVENATE WITH OUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO SKINCARE EXFOLIANTS.
EXFOLIATING SKINCARE ACIDS? WHAT ARE THEY? ESSENTIALLY, THEY’RE THE MOST VERSATILE, HARD-WORKING AND TRANSFORMATIVE INGREDIENTS IN ANY SKINCARE ARSENAL. THEY PLAY A MONUMENTAL ROLE IN HELPING TO BANISH BLEMISHES, DELIVER INTENSE HYDRATION, RESURFACE YOUR SKIN’S TEXTURE AND ENCOURAGE A LIT-FROM-WITHIN-GLOW—ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY.
Exfoliating acids fall into three main categories—Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs). AHAs are naturally derived compounds that are sourced from foods such as sugar, fruit and even milk. Often recommended for normal to dry skin types, they are a lot gentler in terms of activation on the skin and work on targeting the skin’s epidermal layer (surface layer) by shedding dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production. BHAs are slightly more potent in efficacy as they target the skin’s epidermal and dermal layers (surface and deeper layers). Recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types, BHAs cultivate new skin cells by prompting shedding, unclogging pores and fighting bacteria.
And PHAs? These are the newest exfoliants on the block. A mild play between AHAs and BHAs, they target the surface layer, lightly exfoliating while working to retain moisture. For those that suffer with irritation, dryness or sensitivity, supplementing PHAs into your routine is highly recommended as an effective option. Lastly, there’s our old friend: physical exfoliants. Sometimes referred to as scrubs or face polishes, they use small grains to help resurface and rejuvenate the skin by physically sloughing away the dead skin cells on the epidermis. However, it is important to handle them with care (even smaller beads), as to avoid micro tears on the skin, leading to pigmentation and dark marks. Pro tip: It’s important to look for physical exfoliants that use naturally-derived ingredients, like jojoba wax beads, which break down, versus microbeads which are made of plastic and pollute our waterways.
Now you’re fully briefed: let’s get into the nitty gritty.
The most common type of AHA that also has antimicrobial properties, making it perfect for treating and preventing acne breakouts.
Derived from Lactose, Lactic Acid is an AHA favourite with significant exfoliating and anti-aging effects.
“EXFOLIANTS ARE THE MOST VERSATILE, HARD-WORKING AND TRANSFORMATIVE INGREDIENTS IN ANY SKINCARE ARSENAL”
Sourced from—yep, you guessed it—citrus fruit extracts, Citric Acid neutralises the skin’s pH levels and helps to balance out uneven skin texture and tone.
A crossover between an AHA & BHA, it helps to exfoliate dead skin cells, increase cellular turnover and leaves skin looking brighter and even, as well as unclogging pores.
Perfect for increasing cell turnover which reduces sun damage and acne, as well as strengthening the complexion for brighter results overall.
A weaker AHA that is derived from rice, seeds or grains and is commonly used as an antioxidant in skincare.
Derived from grapes, Tartaric Acid helps to alleviate the damage caused by the sun and acne.
Willow Bark Extract
[WIL-LOW BARK EX-TRACT]
Naturally derived from willow bark, it soothes the skin and aids in cell regeneration.
Comprising Salicylic Acid and Betaine (a hydrating Amino Acid), this has a gentle approach to exfoliating the skin.
Improves skin texture and tone overall, while hydrating with antioxidant benefits.
Sloughing away dead skin, reduced appearance of dark marks and hyperpigmentation, Galactose is a gentle and hydrating option with antioxidant properties.
Aside from its exfoliating properties, Lactobionic Acid is gentler than most acids and acts as a humectant, retaining the skin’s moisture.
“EXFOLIATING ACIDS FALL INTO THREE MAIN CATEGORIES—ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS (AHAS), BETA HYDROXY ACIDS (BHAS) AND POLYHYDROXY ACIDS (PHAS)”
Working its way deep into the pores, Salicylic Acid as an oil-soluble exfoliant penetrates the skin and breaks down and dissolves the bond that can lead to blocked pores. It’s considered the gold standard for acne and blemish-prone skin types.
THIS FEATURE WAS PUBLISHED IN GRITTY PRETTY’S SEPTEMBER ISSUE