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Exfoliating Acids in Skincare - What you need to know

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Exfoliating Acids in Skincare - What you need to know

They may sound more suited to your cleaning regime than your beauty routine, but acids could be the hero ingredient your skincare shelf never knew it was missing.

With the power to plump and hydrate whilst tackling dullness, pigmentation and even scarring – the benefits of using them are endless. Better still, acids can offer immediate results. 

Although we are totally down with watching Friends reruns in our favourite loungewear, what better time to add a new string to your skincare bow than lockdown? 

We recommend introducing an exfoliating acid into your routine initially once a week and building upon what works for you, that way you can really tailor them to suit your bespoke skincare rituals. As with the introduction of any new skincare product, always patch test first babe.

An acid’s ability to re-texturise can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so, always use an SPF, and ideally use acids during your night-time routine.

AHAs and BHAs: What’s the difference?

Exfoliating Acids in Skincare

Without a doubt, you’ve seen, heard of (and pretended to know) what these two buzz-word ingredients are, and why they’re on the tip of every skincare guru’s tongue right now. Think of them as an added boost to your weekly routine - potent and powerful, when used correctly, they’re game changing.

Important to note, both AHAs and BHAs are forms of chemical exfoliants, rather than their physical counterparts. Physical exfoliation relies on the manual removal of dead skin cells which can be unnecessarily harsh on skin - leading to microtears, irritation and lasting skin damage. On the other hand, chemical exfoliation is a gentler alternative. Dissolving the “glue” that holds skin cells together, chemical exfoliants effectively work away on the top layer of the skin, leaving complexions bright and rejuvenated with way less likelihood of those nasty side effects. At Luneia, we’re chemical exfoliation fans all the way, which is why we use only these types of exfoliants in our Radiance Ritual mask


AHAs - Alpha-hydroxy acids

AHA’s - Alpha-hydroxy acids

AHAs - or alpha-hydroxy acids- are derived from sugar crops, including sugarcane, as well as fruit and milk. Best suited to those with normal, dry or combination skin, AHAs work at re-texturising the skin’s surface by breaking down the bonds between dead cells and sloughing them off.

With a smaller molecular size than their BHA alternatives, AHAs are able to penetrate the skin’s surface to address concerns including fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. 

But they don’t stop there. AHA’s also have the ability to increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, helping with any fine lines which may have started to appear. Impressively, they also act as a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin. 
These various qualities of AHA’s combine to leave skin visually brighter, feeling smooth to the touch and super hydrated. 
Glycolic, Lactic and Citric acid are some of the more commonly known AHAs you may find across the ingredients lists of your skincare collection, but there’s far more to discover.


BHAs - Beta-hydroxy acids

BHAs - Beta-hydroxy acids

When it comes to beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs, to those in the know), the real magic is happening waaay deeper down in the skin’s pores.

Derived from willow bark - hailed for centuries as a natural pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, BHAs are an oily, acne-prone and sun damaged complexions’ new best friend.

Thanks to their oil-soluble nature, their ability to penetrate into pores and cut through embedded dirt make them an essential at keeping breakouts at bay. 
Alongside their second-to none congestion clearing qualities, BHAs can actually work to slow down the production of sebum, proving them as an excellent preventative treatment too.

Skin concerns including milia and comedones can also be eased, and whilst the actual size of pores cannot be reduced, through addressing congestion and blackheads front on, beta-hydroxy acids can help them become less visible.

AHAs and BHAs: Can I use them both? 

Exfoliating Acids - what are they? Women with glowing skin

For all their defining qualities, there are also many areas in which both AHAs and BHAs could be your go-to.

First and foremost, they’re both exfoliants. Although they go about the process in differing ways, both effectively work away at dead skin cells and leave skin looking smoother, brighter and feeling more hydrated, whilst lessening the impact of potentially clogged pores.

By increasing  collagen production in the dermis, both AHAs and BHAs work on fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in long- lasting firmer and plumper looking (and feeling) skin.

Super effective for pigmentation sufferers, the shedding of discoloured or damaged skin cells mean that dark marks, scarring and uneven skin tone are noticeably reduced through their use.

In this series, we’ll be diving into the world of acids: what they are, who they’re for and a complete rundown of why you need them in your life.

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