Skin Barrier 101
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Let’s talk about chemical acid exfoliators. It sounds a little scary and kinda makes you wonder: Is applying chemicals on my skin even safe? Won’t ‘acid’ anything burn off my skin? But are these products really as daunting as they sound?
Not at all. AHAs and BHAs can be great allies to our skin when used smartly. Not only can they smoothen the skin, but they can also help fade pigmentation, reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines, and even help fight acne (Um, yessss please). To top it all off, they’re often gentler to use on the skin than physical scrubs are and with regulated use cause less damage to your skin barrier.
BUT HOW DOES ANY OF THAT ACTUALLY WORK?
Our skin has its own natural cell turnover cycle where we shed dead skin cells and produce new ones on the daily. Over time, this shedding process slows down due to biological or external factors, causing undesired skin consequences such as clogged pores, acne, dull skin, hyperpigmentation, as well as, skincare products not absorbing properly.
Chemical exfoliators help to speed up our skin’s natural process of shedding dead skin cells and revealing fresh and healthy skin. Regular use of chemical exfoliators has been linked to smoothing out and brightening the skin’s complexion, as well as, reducing the appearance of acne and fading skin hyperpigmentation. So cool, right?
SO WHAT ARE SOME KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AHAs AND BHAs?
AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) is a water-soluble exfoliant that mainly works on the surface of the skin. Some AHAs specialize in hydrating and enhancing our skin’s natural moisturizing factors– meaning MORE hydration for us! They work by chemically ungluing the bonds between dead skin cells so that the old dead skin cells can gently leave your skin. Overall, AHAs are particularly great for reducing signs of sun damage, evening out skin tone, and exfoliating for most skin concerns. If you’re also in need of some ‘glow’, AHAs can definitely help!
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), on the other hand, is oil-soluble, meaning that it’s able to penetrate deep into your skin. (*Side note: Many people think that our skin absorbs watery ingredients better, but that is far from the truth. Oil based– AKA lipophilic– ingredients are actually able to go much deeper!) BHA works both on the surface of the skin AND inside the pores, dissolving all of the nasty gunk that accumulates there and making it a great ingredient for people with acne-prone and oily skin. In addition, BHAs can not only treat acne and reduce the appearance of large pores, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties that help manage P.acne bacteria in our skin.
So let’s dive a little deeper into some common AHA and BHA agents and give you a general rundown of what makes each one so special.
Glycolic Acid, like our Kale-Lalu-yAHA
Now, acids aren’t so scary after all, are they? As always, we remind you to take the time to listen to what your skin is craving, and if what you just learned chemical exfoliators seems to fit the bill, definitely give them a try!
All the skincare basics covering routines, skin concerns, ingredients, and more.