Winter has a way of sucking out all the joy, or it might just be central heating killing my moisture levels. Regardless, the need for some glow-boosting products remains in these frigid, cold months. My favorite solution is an acid exfoliant, here are four that work for me.
As a Glossier fangirl it might be strange that I’ve yet to try Solution, but alas I’ve yet to make an order and have more acid exfoliators than I can handle at this moment. There are several types of acids, BHA, AHA and PHA but I’ll let you google your way to what those mean. In general, acids are the best way to exfoliate as they mean no harsh physical beads tearing at your skin. Some formulas use a mix, some use just one and some use a whole host of ingredients for gentle skin-caring exfoliation. I won’t be splitting these based on ingredients but rather by use; masks, toners, and add-ins.
These were probably my first foray into acids, with REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. Since then I’ve built up my skin’s tolerance to acids and can use the big ones. The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% packs one hell of a punch, I can tolerate it for around 10 minutes at best (usually I wimp out after 5) and even then only once a week. This is one hell of a chemical exfoliating and is sure to blast away dead skin, but it might also be a bit harsh for first-timers. This is the most affordable of my round up but requires a quick slather of something hydrating in its wake, as the very bare formula lacks hydrating factors. Another acid packed mask is the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial which boasts 25% AHA and 2% BHA, there’s also some hydrating ingredients like marula oil and balancing chickpea flour. Unlike The Ordinary’s mask, this one has a fairly complex ingredient list, comes with a fancy pump and plastic packaging and is also very expensive at $80. Word on the street is that Drunk Elephant will be making a UK debut in SpaceNK sometime in the spring.
The cult favorite Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is one of the world’s most famed acid exfoliators. I’ve recently acquired the pigment targeting version called Lotion P50 PIGM 400. Acid toners are made for daily use, after a period of diluting the formula, so they pack less of a punch but with daily use, you can see some pretty spectacular results. I’ve turned at least 4 people around me into P50 converts, my mother included and am now trailing the PIGM version. So far, I haven’t seen life-changing pigmentation fading with it but it’s giving me similar results to my usual P50 so I’ll finish off the bottle.
This was a fairly new concept to me, an acid that you mix in with another product – in this case, night cream. Lixir Skin has 3 different “boosters” PHA/AHA, BHA/AHA and a Retinol. You can use this on a cycle to help your skin’s spotty issues, boost anti-aging or just combat general blah skin. The booster you choose targets your problem, simply mix it in with your night cream – they recommend the universal emulsion that Lixir Skin offers, and apply to the face. Alternatively, you can use this liquid as a flash mask after cleansing and then continue with your routine as usual. I enjoy diversifying my acids so this little bottle has been a fun addition to my mix. I reach for it when it’s been a hectic week that doesn’t allow for a 20-minute masking session or daily toning ’cause the snooze button is that much more important.
Acid peels have been a huge thing for me, aiding me in my battle with hormonal acne and those pesky scars. In the last few years, peels have been picking up traction and scrubs have gone out of fashion. In my experience, exfoliating with an acid-based product yields far better results than any physical counterpart. I strongly recommend trying some out if you’ve got a case of lackluster winter skin or acne scars that won’t go away. Most important: always use a sunscreen when you’ve got an acid in your routine, you will become photo-sensitive and that? That’s more damaging than the Lotion P50’s price tag.