All About Exfoliating Acids

Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, during microdermabration or chemical peels at medical spas.

Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.


This process involves physically scrubbing the skin with an abrasive. Mechanical exfoliants include microfiber cloths, adhesive exfoliation sheets, micro-bead facial scrubs, crepe paper, crushed apricot kernel  or almond shells, sugar  or salt crystals, pumice and abrasive materials such as sponges, loofahs, brushes, and simply fingernails. Facial scrubs are available in over the counter products  for application by the user. Microdermabration  is another mechanical method of exfoliation.

How often can I use this type of exfoliation?
If you want to use brushes, sponges or scrub make sure not to use harsh skin products and do not see signs of skin irritation from using this type of exfoliation. You should limit the use of this procedure within a maximum of once or twice a week and only if you feel it will really help.
Although this type of exfoliation is the best known and most widely used, its benefits are very low. Basically will remove a small amount of accumulated excess cell death.


Chemical exfoliants include scrubs containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, citric acid. Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain  alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to ease away. This type of exfoliation is recommended for people treating acne.

Advantages of using exfoliation :

  • Improves the appearance and texture and to some extent ameliorates evens skin color and prevents blackheads and whiteheads.(BHA/AHA)
  • It removes excess sebum from the pores, reducing the number pistules which normally forms on the skin.(BHA)
  • Improves blemishes and acne scars (in combination with other ingredients necessary long-term effect).(AHA)
  • Improves wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation solar surface (in combination with other ingredients needed in the long term) (BHA/AHA)
  •  Anti inflammatory and antibacterial easy, necessary in cases of acne and / or rosacea.
  • Following the action of removing the surface layer of dead cells on the skin exfoliated applied ingredients penetrate the skin more easily and quickly which means that the skin will make better use of all other ingredients used.
  • Remove impurity excess sebum and dead cells accumulated in excess (However solidify and form blackheads) diminishes the appearance of pores, deep clean pores, leading to a bright appearance of the skin.(AHA/BHA)

        AHA (Alpha Hidroxy Acid) acids type:

There are many AHA acids, but the most known and used are chemical peels role of glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Glycolic acid is more potent than lactic, but for people who have very good tolerance to acids possible variant milder lactic acid to be ideal to benefit from exfoliation of dead cells on the skin without the skin is affected by possible side effects of the acid. AHA acids are most suitable for dry skin or normal skin and are ineffective at presenting excess sebum designed to clean pores, but are effective for all the points listed below, no matter what skin type are applied.                                                                                                AHA  acids are soluble in water, but the percent soluble in oil which means they can not penetrate the sebum and skin can not clean pores so effective as it does acid BHA, but that does not mean acids AHA are less potent as acid BHA but pure plain are used for other purposes and different skin types.

BHA (Beta Hidroxy Acids)

There is only one type of BHA, namely the salicylic acid, the only acid that can penetrate the sebum and pore depth can be reached.
Due to the fact that the BHA is lipid soluble (dissolve in oil not in water) is the most suitable in the case of skin that shows excess sebum (normal, mixed and oily) and is the only solution that can remove blackheads without manually extract .
Salicylic acid is a substance made in the laboratory that was first synthesized from willow extract. In the list of ingredients of an exfoliating product you must find written *salicylic acid* to make sure that the product contains that ingredient.
Willow bark contains salicin of a substance consumed orally, is transformed by salicylic acid digestion process, but here up to the company that this substance can trigger skin peeling is too much. No skin enzymes needed to make this transformation possible. Although willow bark exfoliates not, it has some anti-inflammatory qualities if found in sufficient quantities in a cosmetic product.

How to apply chemical exfoliantii?
Exfoliating acids apply skin clean and dry (absolutely dry). If you use a toner after cleansing skin toner expect to absorb into the skin and only then apply the acid. Avoid the eyes, mucous membranes and lips. If you have not used chemical exfoliating start by applying 2-3 times a week at night and carefully observed skin reaction.
Remember, regardless of the season, apply sunscreen each morning in thick layer, at least SPF 30.

What is the difference between a scrub everyday and peeling?
Exfoliators that can be used daily and have concentrations above ph. They can be used daily or as many times as needed per week (for obvious effects on the skin is necessary to use exfoliating at least 2 times a week) and do not rinse the skin.
Peels have concentrations much higher than 20% AHA and BHA over 10%, much lower pH between 2.5 and 3 and remove the skin after a few minutes of application.

The disadvantages of using exfoliating acids

All acids are photosensitizers !!!!! This means giving as applied to your skin without protect skin from sunlight with SPF 25 minimum is likely to be adversely affected by radiation. Misuse, exfoliating acids can cause irritation and even eventually produced sunspot.


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