Hello again! Let’s talk about some products with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (‘AHAs’) / Beta Hydroxy Acids (‘BHAs’). The IGTV video I uploaded yesterday goes into product reviews and whether or not I recommend them. Here, I’ll share some information based on research I did back when I started using said ingredients as well as a little more info on my experience overall.
Quick reminder on this mini series, or if you’ve read this in my previous posts, skip straight below to watch the video or read on! =)
I’ll be uploading a series of videos about skincare ingredients that I love to include in my routine. They might be in one specific product or in many across the various steps of my routine.
I have dehydrated skin and, before using these ingredients, I had hyper-pigmentation and uneven skin-tone. I also didn't know how to manage or treat blemishes (unless you consider picking and squeezing them a remedy!).
The videos include brief reviews on the original products I used and any I have used since then. I talk about short term and long term results, price points and what I like or don’t like about them.
Since I used ingredients that were specific to my concerns, I believe that all of them contributed to the long term results, hence calling them my favourites.
These blog posts go into a little bit more detail on the ingredients themselves and how they work with our skins. I hope you enjoy the videos, and find these supplementary blog posts useful!
*As with all my posts across social media, I would like to remind you that I am not a skincare expert. All information that I share I have acquired through research, and will include sources on my blog posts. All opinions are my own and I will specify where otherwise.
AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliants that can be found in cleansers, toners, serums, peels and creams. Both types of acid help to exfoliate the build-up of dead skin by dissolving the bonds between the dead skin cells and, as a result, improve the overall radiance of complexion.
AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acid
AHAs are water soluble and therefore only work on the surface of the skin. AHAs loosen and release dead and dehydrated cells increasing the rate of exfoliation and therefore promoting cell turnover. This makes AHAs effective in anti-ageing as they minimise the appearance of fine lines, uneven texture and dull skin tone. The most commonly known AHAs:
Derived from sugarcane
Penetrates deeply due to small molecular structure.
Known as the most effective AHA for anti-ageing
Historically derived from milk but is now synthetically made for stability.
It has a larger molecular structure than glycolic, so it is a gentler exfoliant since it doesn’t penetrate as deep. Caroline Hirons (theeeee queen!) likes to describe lactic acid as pacman as it gently eats up the dead skin.
There’s also Tartaric and Malic acids which are derived from fruits (apples, grapes, cherries, pears). These are gentle acids, as wells as antioxidants which help with skins respiration.
BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acid
BHA is known more commonly as salicylic acid. It is oil soluble so once it dissolves the bonds between the cells, it penetrates beneath the skins surface and cleans excess sebum from pores and reduces oiliness. Salicylic acid is derived from willow bark and has natural skin-calming properties so it makes it gentle for use on sensitive skin.
Incorporating AHA/BHA into my routine
I started off with using AHA toners and noticed that concentrations would fall between 4-10%. The first toner I used was Pixi Glow Tonic (5%), followed by The Ordinary (7%), and now I am just about finishing the Ren Steady Glow Daily AHA (5% lactic acid).
Since AHAs/BHAs were new to me, I wanted to use them gradually. For each glycolic product mentioned above, I used it 3 times a week for the first fortnight, and then once everyday afterwards. Ren Steady Daily Glow, I knew it was a gentler product so I used it as instructed; am and pm daily.
Salicylic acid, I have only used to spot treat. I pretty much use this as and when needed, straight after my toning step and before any other serums. Whenever I have blemishes, or feel one is about to appear, I spot treat in the am and pm daily.
With the acids in my routine, as with the use of vitamin C, I always use an SPF.
Using, at most, twice weekly I have also tried cleansers, peels and wipes across my routine. In the video I also mention Herbivore’s Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion. This product includes 5% natural fruit acids. I love this. I didn’t use this as long as the other products mentioned (luggage spillage!) but it was such a beautiful product to use. Using this instead of the usual toners that I would use, this really did make my skin GLOW. Even if I just washed my face, PRISM it away then apply my facial oil/moisturiser - the results, I loved and wanted more. I also love how, similar to Drunk Elephant products, you can just mix it up really nicely with some of the other Herbivore products (see Michael’s IGTV tutorial here) and I am all for it!
I do believe that glycolic acid contributed to my brighter, more even-toned skin in the long term. I say this because, as a short-term result, using such toners daily brightened my complexion compared to when I didn’t use them. I feel that lactic acid has done the same but, as expected since it is gentler, I don’t feel I got the instant daily brightening and glowing effect as visible or as vibrant.
I also recently had a HydraFacial with Medicetics, and have been thinking about how I want to go forward with acids. I’ll leave for that for another post but I’m now thinking about trying more products with natural fruit acids… more Prism like products, perhaps… We’ll see!
Key Points, the Round Up
AHAs – water soluble, work on the surface of the skin
AHAs include glycolic acid (penetrates deeper into surface since it has smaller molecules), lactic acid (larger molecules means it eats away only at the surface)
Exfoliates & stimulates cell turnover
Good for anti-ageing
BHA = Salicylic Acid – oil soluble, can penetrate beneath skins surface
Exfoliates and treats blemishes; cleans out excess sebum and reduces oils in pores
AHA/BHA Products used
Have a watch of the video and see what I have to say about the following products.