Hi and welcome to the second article in my little skincare series, today I'll be talking about chemical exfoliation.

PSA❗ If you're new to acids please start from the lowest concentration and slowly work your way up to higher concentrations. Don't use it more than 1x a week and try to use it 2-3 times a month in the early stages. Then you can start using it regularly, like 2/3 week.

First of all, if you're really new to this let me tell you what exfoliating is.

In plain terms, exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells.

Now we have two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. From my observations, it seems like a lot of people on whi love using physical exfoliants. I know everyone knows what's best for their skin but the reality is that a lot of the physical exfoliants used are pretty harsh for your skin. A physical exfoliant like scrubs or spin brushes, like I said can be pretty harsh and typically work on just the surface level.

If you do want to include some physical exfoliation in your routine we recommend konjac sponges, micro-fiber cloths, or products containing jojoba beads. (r/SkincareAddiction)
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So, what's so bad about physical exfoliants?
As I said, they are pretty harsh on your skin. A lot of the scrubs actually cause micro-tears on your skin which ends up doing more harm than good for you. So please when next you want to repurchase an exfoliator opt for a chemical one. Leave the natural homemade stuff in your kitchen (especially if you used baking soda, lemon, apple cider vinegar - please stop, you're ruining your skin). Say no to scrubs!

Why choose to chemically exfoliate
I know the word 'chemical' will probably throw you off and make you feel unease but it really is the best for you. Please note that I'm not dissing natural skincare but science and technology has come so far and so much research has been done - and is still being done to improve skincare. So don't just give in just because 'natural looks better'.

Chemical exfoliants come in two forms: AHA's (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHA's (Beta Hydroxy Acids). Some popular AHA's are glycolic acid, lactic acid and a popular BHA you might probably be familiar with is salicylic acid.

Image by natalia skincare and the ordinary image

So what's the difference between AHA's and BHA's?
Well AHA's only work on the surface level and are water soluble. Their molecules are too large to penetrate deep into your skin. They're great for treating things like pigmentation issues, improving the moisture levels of your skin and uneven texture.

AHA products:
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Pads
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel

BHA's on the other hand work on both the surface and can penetrate into your pores because they are oil soluble. So if you're dealing with acne, clogged pores, or damaged skin due to the sun then this is great for you.

BHA products:
Stridex Maximum Strength Pads aka 'Stridex in the Red Box'
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Some even better news, these two can work together! so you can tackle more issues at once. If you have a separate AHA and BHA product, always alternate use - so one in the morning and one at night or alternate days. Make sure not to overdo either or you'll end up over-exfoliating and will end up with more problems. Always make sure to follow up with suncream in the morning if you use an AHA, they make your skin more photosensitive.

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Well that's all, I hope you were able to learn something new. More skin care articles to come!