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Exfoliating Acids in Skincare - What you need to know

Posted by Gemma Harling on
Exfoliating Acids in Skincare - What you need to know

With the power to plump and hydrate whilst tackling dullness, pigmentation and even scarring – the benefits of using exfoliating acids are endless with immediate results. 

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

An acid’s ability to re-texturise can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, it is vital to 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.


AHAs and BHAs are potent and powerful and can act as an added boost to your weekly routine. 

It is 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 on the top layer of the skin, leaving complexions bright and rejuvenated with less likelihood of side effects. At Luneia 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.

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. AHA’s increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, helping reduce fine lines and AHA’s 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 more commonly known AHAs you may find across the ingredients lists of your skincare collection, but there are more to discover. 


BHAs - Beta-hydroxy acids

BHAs - Beta-hydroxy acids

Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) is derived from willow bark which has been hailed for centuries as a natural pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory qualities.

BHAs oil-soluble nature and ability to penetrate into pores make them essential for keeping breakouts at bay and supporting oily, acne prone skin types. 

Alongside their congestion clearing qualities, BHAs can 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

AHAs and BHAs are both exfoliants. Although they go about the process in different ways, both effectively clear 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.

AHAs and BHAs are both 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 exploring acids: what they are, who they’re for and the reasons why we recommend adding them to your skincare routine. 

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