If you asked me what’s the secret to soft, radiant and blemish free skin, I would never feed you some tired line about drinking more water. Sorry Jennifer Aniston, it doesn’t work. The secret ladies and gentlemen is acids, alpha and beta hydroxy acids to be more precise.
At their most basic level, these products loosen the bonds that hold dead surface skin cells together. The skin cells shed off imperceptibly, and reveal newer ones beneath, which are less damaged by environmental factors like sunlight and pollution. Over time, it diminishes lots of little things that make a big difference: dullness, congested pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a cleanser, toner or exfoliator that launched recently, which doesn’t contain some form of acid, whether its glycolic , salicylic or lactic. Look out for these acids in moisturisers and serums too.
For a lot of people who’ve dabbled in acids, there is a general consensus that acids are the key to good skin and their goal is to work their way up to higher strengths to continually see improvements.
The problem with this approach is that your skin continually improves but plateaus at a certain percentage and will only regress if you introduce higher strength acids. Underneath the surface, your skin will be incredibly inflamed and bumpy. You can’t feel the irritation nor see it, until you look at your skin under direct sunlight.
Would you believe that acids are now being vilified for causing irritation? It’s clear that the resultant irritation that comes from using acids is due to human error, you need not join the non-acid exfoliation movement if you follow the guidelines below.
One acid step in your routine
As you now know acids could be in anything, check the ingredients list to eliminate the possibility of layering acid on top of acid unintentionally. Toning is the step in which most people use an acid product,hence the term acid toning
Switch things up so your skin doesn’t build tolerance.
Every once in a while use a different acid so that your skin doesn’t build tolerance to any one of them. You should ofcourse test for reactions before applying product all over your face.
Leave higher percentages for the doctors office
Concentrations of upto 15% glycolic or 5% salicylic are best administered by specialists. Personally I’d never use such high concentrations on my face, perhaps on my body and even then I’d be cautious not to over-exfoliate.
Buffer the drying effect of acids with a moisturiser
Some acid products can be quite drying and this causes irritation. Following your acid product with a moisturiser should solve that problem.
Consider products like NAAP
Even after following the above guidelines, some people’s skin might still be too sensitive to handle acids. Never fear, that’s the reason NIOD has formulated the Non-Acid Acid Precursor.
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