About exfoliation

28-10-2011 | Adiana |

I like to wear my complexion naked. Yep, fully naked and sexy.

But in order to do that, I have to work it out. Don’t think it’s easy. You got to plan in advance, buy best options on the market, fight sleep in the night to cleanse the face, battle water in the morning when you would kill for five more minutes. Nothing comes easy in life, right?

What I want to bring into discussion today is exfoliation. None of our attempts to fight aging would be successful if we wouldn’t “scrape” the layers of dead skin cells to let baby butt skin perform. There are many ways to do that (scrubbing, AHA/BHAs, chemical peels etc), but I personally prefer BHAs .

BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid and is a medium peel with low irritation risk. There are many types of AHAs (glycolic, malic, lactic, tartric, citric acid) but just one for BHA, named Salicylic Acid.

As a proud owner of oily/combination skin (my complexion has its own free will.. depends in what mood it’s in a certain day) I can say that BHAs are a real solution for my stubborn skin. I don’t do it every time, I alternate different methods of exfoliation but once a year I think a 6 weeks treatment with 1 application per week it’s enough. And seriously taking into consideration that it’s best to be done in autumn or winter (when sun is not all that present) and with sun protection. Even though you think sun can’t see you through the clouds, you may be punk’d and get yourself a nasty sunburn (especially that after exfoliation new layers of skin are sensible and easy to damage).

So here is my first my experience with this procedure. Defendant: Salicylic Acid 20% Peel from skinlaboratory.com (available on amazon.com too)

I placed an order with another 2 girls (i had Salicylic Acid and they picked Lactic Acif and GlycoPeel) so we could split the shipping (35 $ shipping to Romania when the product itself costs around 15 $) and it was the first time I was trying this type of exfoliation (facials at salon doesn’t count).

First time I applied it, I was something like “Oh God it burns!! Fireee in the room!! My skin!! I am gonna melt.. WATER!!!! “. So I didn’t make it more than 2 minutes. Next week looking in the mirror: “I can do this shit! I’m a brave girl! We can rule the world! [……pause……] No we can’t!! Wateeer!!!” .. this time I could stand for 5 minutes. Starting third application I am “7 minutes and 50 seconds.. OMG, I have to wash it off. When did time go so fast?” (yeah I timed myself to be sure I wasn’t overdoing it). Attention! Do not exceed 8 minutes if you are using the same product i used.

Results so far: first of all, no flaking. I thought I would be a changing skin snake. But no, absolutely not. After third week, the skin was visibly improved. Old scarring faded almost completely and texture of the skin improved so much I can almost say I have flawless skin.

My opinion: As effective as some sessions of microdermabrasion at a fraction of the cost.

Before doing what I did, you should read opinions and all kind of information that help you make the right decision for you. Everyone is different and we react differently. What works for me might not work for you.

Now some research:

The only difference between AHA/BHAs is that AHA is soluble in water and BHA in oil, which makes the latter a more appropriate choice for those with oily skin (penetrates oil in the pores and exfoliates all dirty little things that made home inside).. AHAs are better for dry skin with no problems like blackheads or breakouts. Which is not my case..

People smarter than me say that in order to produce exfoliation, an acid must have a PH level somewhere between 3 and 4. In my case, I use a product with a 2.3 PH level so I don’t really know what to say about that.

There’s a tricky part also: the concentration of the acid. BHA is thought to work best at 1%-2% concentration and AHA between 5%-10% concentration. But again, I guess it depends on the skin type because I am using a 20% concentration BHA peel (which qualifies this peel for salon use.. but with attention can be used at home too..). If you use peels with concentrations stronger than 30% you would need a neutralizator to wash it off. But I am not going to test my limits so I am going to stick to 20% concentration maximum.

Now there is another problem: many products don’t state the ph level. How could you choose wisely when you don’t have all information needed? Well, I bought a product that had listed what I was interested in. But if you don’t, you can assume. If a product has listed BHA (listed as acid salicylic) in the INCI list, it has to be somewhere in the middle, or even in the end of the list (because it’s effective at low concentrations too). In the case of AHA (listed as glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, tartric acid), it should be listed in the three first ingredients, indicating it’s in a sufficient concentration to do what it is supposed to do.

Important! Don’t forget to use sunscreen a few days after the procedure (high SPF). You really don’t want to ruin all you have accomplished for exposing your skin directly to the sun.  And a good moisturizer it’s more than welcome.  Skin has more absorbent powers after peeling and active ingredients can be better used as they are not blocked by dirt, impurities or dead skin cells anymore. This is the time when you can get the best out of your moisturizer.

Stay pretty!


Recent Comments

  • http://anatati

    November 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’d never be so brave to test these acids as such. I use Paula’s Choice BHA and SPF creams.

    • http://Adiana

      November 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Yeah, Paula`s Choice BHA Lotions are quite famous. I personally avoid using BHA lotions as part of my skincare regimen. I prefer doing a weekly/monthly exfoliation rather than applying every day a lower procent. Reading her books, i found many things i don’t agree with, and these BHA lotions are an example. I think her products are overrated. But everyone reacts different so it’s just trial and error when it comes to cosmetics

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