Many people exfoliate their skin at home. And there are tons of different tools for physical exfoliation, such as buffing powder, face brushes, scrubs, and others. But what about chemical exfoliation? One easy way to do it at home is with cosmetic acids!
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Acids are used as exfoliators
The acids which are used for chemical peeling are from the same group: hydroxy acids. The different acids within this group can treat various skin conditions, such as dry or dehydrated skin, acne, wrinkles, pigmentation, scars, psoriasis, and others. The effect of those ingredients is to peel off the dead cells and the top layer of the epidermis to relieve the symptoms of the above-mentioned skin conditions. Many of the hydroxy acids are naturally found in plants, such as sugar cane, tomatoes, citrus fruits, grapes, apples, and animal tissues.
They can be divided into two categories:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
- Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA)
Beta hydroxy acids (BHA)
- Salicylic acid (extracted from the bark of willow trees)
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (occurs widely in nature and in the human body)
- Tropic acid (it is artificially derived acid)
- Trethocanic acid
Effect of BHA Acids
The Beta hydroxyl acids diminish the appearance of signs of aging, make the skin firm and tight, improve texture and skin tone, and hydrate. You can see on the picture below their deep penetration in the dermis.
All the acids from the BHA category act as deep exfoliators with antibacterial properties. They are oil soluble and penetrate deep into the skin structure. Products with BHA act not only on the surface but inside the dermal layer, as they clean the pores in depth, draining all dirt and excess sebum. They reduce the damage caused by free radicals (such as pollution, smoking, malnutrition, and UV radiation), lower the risk of inflammations and calm the skin.
The drawback of BHA acids is that they tend to dry the skin, as they drain the oils from the pores. Just like AHA, BHA acids make the skin sensitive to UV rays. Thus you have to use sunscreen daily.
Why to choose BHA?
If your skin is prone to acne, breakouts, blackheads and shiny look, BHA is suitable for you! Even if your skin is sensitive! In any case, use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated!
How to use BHA?
When you start using BHA acids, at the begining it is recommended to start by chosing products with low concentration and gradually increase the frequency of applications.
For instance, begin with applying the product 2 times per week for a couple of weeks and then increase the frequency to 4 times a week until the end of the treatment. Balance your own “schedule” to make it work for your skin type! This way, you will avoid any irritation symptoms or unwanted effects, such as burns that can “break” your skin.
BHA acids should be applied on cleansed skin, before sleep. Just a small amount of product is needed. Put it on a cotton pad and carefully apply it on the skin surface using both tapping and sweeping motions. Be careful, avoid the sensitive areas around the eyes and lips.