Having great skin is definitely hard work! Not every product will suit you and the journey for great skin is not easy. This doctor shared a tweet that garnered over retweets and likes regarding some tips regarding chemical exfoliators that everyone should be aware of.
First of all, why do you need to exfoliate? Well, according to the doctor, the outermost layer of our skin (stratum corneum) consists of dead skin cells. That makes our skin look dull or have wrinkles. So we need to “exfoliate” to clean, prevent clogged pores, reduce pigmentation and oil production.
There are two exfoliators, a physical one and a chemical one. Most people familiar is the physical one that people know as a scrub. Its rougher, because it contains small ingredients, can cause irritation and fine wounds (micro tear) to the skin. This method will only remove the outermost layer.
However, a lot of people don’t know about chemical exfoliators. It works to dissolve and remove dead skin layers, has more potential to penetrate inside than physical types also more evenly. Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) like glycolic acid & lactic acid is water-soluble, beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid, is lipophylic, or oil soluble. BHA has more potential to penetrate into the skin (sebum) because it is soluble in oil.
Glycolic acid has a smaller molecular size, so it quickly penetrates into the skin and helps clear pores from whitehead & blackhead. In addition, it can increase the production of collagen in the skin, which is very suitable for wrinkled or scarred skin. Lactic acid has a larger molecular size, so it stays on the skin longer. It can help provide moisture to the skin and is more gentle. The effective AHA percentage is as much as 5% to 10%. If your skin is sensitive or just want to start using, start with a low concentration first
Salicylic acid (BHA) can penetrate and penetrate directly into the pores2. This can help to remove clogged pores, in addition to having an anti-inflammatory effect (antiinflammatory) so it is very suitable for acne-prone skin. Also suitable for oily skin as it is oil soluble.
Can sensitive skin be used? Well, the doctor suggested that you can use low concentration lactic acid because lactic acid is less irritating than glycolic or salicylic or use exfoliant alternatives such as PHA (polyhydroxy acid) which is more gentle. Another alternative is to use a soft scrub brush along with the face wash you usually use and wash gently (controlled pressure).
The doctor also shared alternatives for pregnant ladies. They can use azeleic acid as an alternative because it is pregnancy safe, lactation safe. It can also reduce acne and pigmentation caused by hormones during pregnancy/lactation.
If you just want to start using chemical exfoliators such as AHA / BHA is by starting with a local test (patch test) first, place somewhere on the skin and stay, if it does not feel sore/itchy after placing immediately / overnight, then can be used.
Start with once a week, if ok then two times a week, then three times a week, and so on. Everyone has a different level of sensitivity. But, if the skin feels sore, dry, flaky, itchy, or burns, it should be reduced frequency.
But, if you are using BHA/ AHA, the doctor said that you cannot use Benzoyl peroxide, Vitamin C, and Retinol/ Retinoid/ tretinoin/ adapalene.
Hopefully, this info will help you achieve your dream skin!