The skincare community has taken a boom in the past few years and is now a trending topic that is discussed everywhere. Skincare revolves around removing dead skin cells and the result is glowing and rejuvenated skin.
Chemical exfoliation is an acid that is a primary step in the reduction of dead skin cells. It is a combination of effective ingredients and the right techniques which helps the skin rejuvenate. Our skin all over our body has a natural rotation of regeneration of skin cells almost every month.
Due to excessive sun exposure, aging, pollution, and stress the process of regeneration takes a toll. That's where the different types of chemical exfoliators come in handy.
There are two types of chemical exfoliants: physical and chemical
What are Some Types of Chemical Exfoliators?
1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids( AHA )
AHAs are extracted from natural resources but can also be produced synthetically. AHA works by lifting off the build-up of dead skin cells to improve the skin's texture and make it brighter and younger looking. Some skincare products like toners, serums, and exfoliators are made up of glycolic, citric, or mandelic acid.
AHA is the weakest acid with a pH of 3.9.
Such types of chemical exfoliators are water soluble which signifies that they can't reach deep inside the skin but can only be on top of it.
Because of this, it is mainly added to products like chemical exfoliators.
Types of acids are glycolic and lactic acid.
2. Beta Hydroxy Acid ( BHA)
The second type of chemical exfoliator works both ways, they penetrate deep into the skin as well as on its surface. It is oil soluble which is best for oily, acne-prone skin people who are prone to bumps, clogs or scars, and enlarged pores.
It has skin-soothing properties which will work for sensitive skin people.
If we talk about BHA the only thing we need to put our focus on is salicylic acid. This acid works best at a pH level of 3 to 4. It is enriched with retinol and antioxidants which makes it more suitable for people above the age of 30. It mainly helps in anti-aging
3. Polyhydroxy Acid ( PHA )
PHA is a younger and milder version of AHA. Because of their molecular size, they can't pass into the skin. It can be an ideal choice for those who just started using acid on their skin. PHAs are considered AHAs next generation cousins. They are more hydrating and less irritating than AHAs. Because of its molecular size, it stays closer to the surface of the skin making it more gentle.
They are great for people with sensitive skin. Firstly the skin needs moisturizer and then the concern of the skin should be focused on the other types of chemical exfoliators.
How Can We Use a Chemical Exfoliator?
Various types of chemical exfoliators work as a treatment for removing dead skin cells. It is an alternative to gritty scrubs and masks. In comparison with such scrubs, chemical exfoliants are a hassle-free process of removal of skin cells. It also begins with familiarity with your skin and its concerns.
1. Patch Test
Firstly it is an acid that can be a bit tricky to handle so it is always recommended to do a patch test before using and putting it on your face mainly.
2. Don't Overdo It
Less is more doesn't always work in the favor. Acids are a component that needs to be put in a moderate amount. Unless stated, use it only once a week, and then can gradually grow it up to two to three times a week.
3. Sunscreen is a Must
Including sunscreen in your daily routine is a great step. Even when not using any type of chemical exfoliator it is always better to apply sunscreen with at least SPF of 40 PA+++.
It is important to keep following what you started. Exfoliating once or twice a week is great to remove the buildup because then it will not get the time to increase and will stop at a point. You can gradually increase the acid's concentration to see what gives you the best results.
What is The Best Type of Chemical Exfoliant for Oily Skin?
Overactive sebaceous glands produce excessive sebum production which makes oily skin people regularly deal with enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne problems.
BHAs are probably the best type of chemical exfoliator for oily skin.
Salicylic acids are the best option to use for oily or acne-prone skin which will help reduce the production of oils in the skin.
Salicylic acid has mainly the properties of chemical variety. As it is oil soluble, this works best for oily skin.
Oily skin people can exfoliate their skin up to two to three times a week only if their skin can tolerate it. First, they can start with one then can gradually grow towards more times a week.
How to Use Chemical Exfoliants for Acne Prone Skin?
Chemical exfoliants are better than physical exfoliants to use for acne-prone skin as it helps remove acne-causing bacteria and dirt that lead to acne production. As physical exfoliants only focus on the surface of the skin whereas chemical ones help products reach deep into the skin.
Using different types of chemical exfoliators can increase sun sensitivity which makes it more important to use SPF after it.
1. Chemical Exfoliation for Post Acne
After the active acne clears, it takes a lot of time for the acne scars to fade away.
Then Azelaic acid and gallic acid come into action which helps reduce hyperpigmentation and hampers the production of excess melanin. They also offer antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties which help in an overall brighter complexion.
2. Chemical Exfoliants for Sensitive Skin
As it suggests sensitive skin is prone to more irritation, and redness, and prone to the risk of the skin reacting to the acids. In the start PHAs are the best type of chemical exfoliator to use for the skin which has just started to be used for acids.
The type of chemical exfoliant which is the most forgotten is Mandelic acid but not anymore as it has now come into movement as the solution for sensitive skin people has been kicked back by the increased mandelic acid production rate.
Mandelic acid can cause sun sensitivity because of which it works best when used in the PM routine.
3. Chemical Exfoliants for Dry Skin
People with dry skin can incorporate products that provide them with hydration and brightens their skin. Dry skin people can include glycolic acid or lactic acid in their regime as they both target the parameters which are dark spots, hydration, and most importantly dryness. The type of chemical exfoliator should include honey which will provide moisturization.
As mentioned in the above article, the routine use of chemical exfoliants can relieve dead skin concerns. It is important to get rid of dead skin cells to get glowing and rejuvenated skin in return. Exfoliating in a pattern can also help the additional products used get well absorbed.
A decent and well-advised way of using chemical exfoliants can help purify and bring out fresh skin.
FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the most effective chemical exfoliant?
Salicylic acid is the most common and effective best chemical exfoliant for acne-prone skin whereas glycolic acid is the best type of chemical exfoliator for overall glow. Salicylic acid being oil soluble makes it apt for cutting the oil blockages and penetrating deeper into the pores. It also improves the skin complexion and brightens the skin.
2. Is lactic acid AHA or BHA?
Lactic acid is an AHA that is not extracted from fruits but from lactose in milk. It does an amazing job of improving overall skin texture and tone. After its use, like any other type of chemical exfoliator, you are likely to feel a difference in the plumpiness of the touch immediately. It also helps with hyperpigmentation and fine lines. The only concern for it is to use it carefully for dry or sensitive skin people.
3. Is glycolic acid or salicylic acid better for exfoliating?
As salicylic acid is oil soluble it can easily penetrate deep into the skin and reduce the production of sebum because it does not have the properties to fight against the oils like various types of chemical exfoliators. Whereas glycolic acid works on the surface of the skin, it also helps in brightening the appearance. It is also a key anti-aging ingredient. Glycolic acid is the strongest of all the other types of chemical exfoliators as its molecules are very small.
4. Is niacinamide a chemical exfoliant?
Niacinamide is vitamin B3 which soothes skin and helps purify the skin' texture. It protects against water loss and helps retain moisture. It is not a type of chemical exfoliator. It is more on the hydrating side and lesser on the exfoliating. Niacinamide is most likely to be used after the BHA exfoliant. It lightens skin and reduces hyperpigmentation when used for a long duration of time. Niacinamide and retinol work wonderfully together.
5. Is hyaluronic acid a chemical exfoliant?
Even though it has acid in its name, it doesn't exfoliate the dead skin cells. It is neither AHA nor BHA. nor is the opposite of other types of chemical exfoliators such as glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid. It works by holding and retaining water in the skin. It is right to use hyaluronic acid twice a day in the morning and at night routine. It helps restore firmness, and moisture in the skin. It rarely has any side effects.