Find out which chemical exfoliant will give you glowing skin
The key to glowing skin is the regeneration of new cells and the removal of dead skin cells. While our body is capable of shedding dead skin on its own, factors like ultraviolet exposure, pollution, and ageing slow down this process. This is where we need exfoliants to manually remove dead cells.
Any skincare routine is incomplete without exfoliation. Earlier exfoliation was limited to physical scrubs, but in recent years chemical exfoliants have become more accessible and popular. However, for consumers, more choices mean more confusion. Besides, one should have knowledge of acids and their concentration. One way to estimate the strength of a chemical exfoliator is by checking its pH level. The lower the pH level, the higher its intensity.
Chemical exfoliants work by sloughing off dead skin, stimulating cellular growth and resulting in glowing skin. They unclog the pores and are gentler than physical exfoliators. It is also universally advised that you should use chemical exfoliants at night and then use sunscreen during the day.
Chemical exfoliants can be divided into the following three types:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
The alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are water-soluble acids that are mostly extracted from sugary fruits. Due to their ability to mix in water, they dissolve on the skin surface and improve its tone and texture, giving you glowing skin. It has been found in research that AHAs form an immunological barrier on one’s skin that prevents DNA breakage. Other than this, AHA’s peel away the damaged skin and are useful in reducing sunburns. One 2015 study established that 9 out of 10 participants who used AHA-based products for 21 days showed significant improvements in their skin texture.
Dermatologists recommend AHA-based products to those with dry or combination skin. They are mostly used to treat cases of pigmentation and dullness. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the most common AHAs that are used in skincare. While citric acid is commonly used in toners, glycolic acid and lactic acid are comonly used in chemical peels and masks.
- Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil-soluble acids. These acids can penetrate your pores and are used to treat acne, sun damage, and control excess oil. BHAs work by seeping into your pores, unclogging them by drying out excess sebum, resulting in glowing skin. They have been proven to be highly effective in treating rosacea-related redness. Any skin type can use BHA-based products but they are most suitable for combination and oily skin.
The most popular and commonly used BHA is salicylic acid. Other BHAs are trethocanic acid and tropic acid. You can use BHA-based products for daily use, however, people report mild reactions when they initially start using them. Your skin takes about a week to get fully accustomed to oil-soluble acids. Even though BHAs do not increase photosensitivity, it is still advisable to wear sunscreen.
- Poly hydroxy acids (PHAs)
The polyhydroxy acids or the PHAs are second generation AHAs. They can be derived out of fruits or produced synthetically. Some of the most common PHAs are lactobionic acid, galactose and gluconolactone. In terms of working, PHAs work the same way to provide glowing skin, but the only difference is that since their molecules are larger, they cannot penetrate as deeply as AHAs.
PHAs are gentler than all other chemical exfoliants which makes them the suitable option for sensitive skin. Other than this they also have hydrating properties that work wonders for dry skin. PHAs shed away dead cells on the top layer of skin and promote epidermal repair and growth. This gives you smooth and even toned skin. It prevents glycation, a condition in which collagen is weakened after digested sugar gets attached to it.
Follow these simple rules when choosing a chemical exfoliator and you will have glowing skin within a few applications.