Thursday, October 9, 2014

Acid? Chemical Exfoliant? What You Need to Know as a 20something feat OITNB.

It's been a while since I got around some good gifs and basic skincare tips, and this one is an absolute doozy, a skincare game-changer, plus I'm using gifs from one of my all-time favourite shows, Orange is the New Black

Hands up if you thought exfoliating was rubbing your face with plastic bead thingys?

Yeah. Nah. I was in that camp too, uuuunnntiiiiilllll.

You see, we exfoliate because as our skin gets older, it becomes worse and worse at replenishing itself. But it's not just as easy as physically scraping away at our skin. Skin is complex, and muti-layered, it's not just a matter of scrubbing skin like dirty dishes.

If your skin could talk, it would tell you....

So, what's the best way to exfoliate?

The thing that's just going to get rid of the old skin without scrubbing off the good stuff?


I know, that sounds scary! But the truth is, they're not the type you clean your bathroom with. Chemical exfoliation is a process which uses naturally occurring acids, to exfoliate your face.

So really, they should have called it naturally-occurring-acid-exfoliation, but I suppose that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

The most commonly used chemical exfoliants, are AHAs and BHAs. I suppose now I should tell you which is which, and what they do, but the lovely Zoe Foster Blake has already done that so brilliantly, you can just click here. 

The wonderful thing about acid/chemical exfoliation, is that it realllly works. Not only will your skin be less likely to break out* and receptive to any product you put on afterwards, it will look brighter, and so marvellously glowy that it becomes somewhat addictive.

Possibly you'll also develop a bit of a strut.

The only problem with strutting-around-all-glowy-skin is that at 20 something years old, your skin isn't too bad at exfoliating itself.  And a lot of these products are designed for 40-50 something skin, which needs more help to exfoliate.

If you've got 20 something skin, which is not too bad at exfoliating itself, with the exception of the odd pimple, if you go too hard on the acids, your skin will go from woohoo to boohoo pretty quickly.

Or in skin terms, you may find yourself red, aggravated, rashy dry or flaky. This will be particularly exacerbated if you're using other products with AHAs or BHAs on top of them (aka skin clearing products, or anti aging products)

Basically, if you go too hard, you'll overstrip yourself into a red hot mess.

So what to do? By all means get around some chemical exfoliation, it's great if you've got acne, any scars or marks, or just to prep your skin to get maximum efficacy from your serums.

Just don't go too hard.

I use a very gentle exfoliant 2-3 times per week. I love the Go-To Skincare Swipeys and would absolutely recommend them as a first-exfoliant for anyone interested. Not only are they easy to use, in a cute little coral jar, and delicious smelling, they're one of the gentlest acid exfoliants around, and very reasonably priced for such an active product.

 Now I've been exfoliating for a while, I've also invested in a more intense product  in case of emergency- Dr Dennis Gross Peel Pads are great, but super dooper strong.

I would also recommend that you be vigilant about re-neutralising your face after use. I know that not all products recommend it, Go To Skincare advises users to rinse off, while Dr Dennis Gross doesn't. In my experience, if I don't, my skin feels uncomfortable and fragile. Imagine that the acids have your face all fired up. That's fine for now, but if you don't tell your skin to slowly calm down again, those acids might keep working away over night. A spritz of some kind of toner, or even a quick run over with a hot cloth does me fine.

One of the best things about chemical exfoliants, is that they're easy peasy to use, because the majority come in cute little swipeys/pads/whatever you call those cotton discs.

So it's just a matter of swipey swiping with one side of the pad all the way over your face neck and chest until it feels dry, then flipping to do the same on the other side. Because I'm prone to hormonal pimples, I'm always sure to reach right to the edges of my face and jawline. Or, as Taystee says

That's all I've got on chemical exfoliants. I must say, I notice a huge difference in my skin when I use them, but you do need to get the balance just right in your routine.

Plus they've got a bunch of other weird uses, like clearing up ingrown hair areas, removing injury tape stickyness and disinfecting any open spots you might have.

I would recommend starting with a nice gentle one, before moving up to more significant peel-age. Also some sting is good, pain an tight face is not.

But two times a week, swipey swipe = happy days.

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