Acids are the main ingredient in chemical exfoliants (peels) in cosmetics, and we adore them for their multiple effects: they help the skin function better, gently exfoliate dead skin cells, even out tone and texture and make the skin radiant and clear. Who wouldn't want that?
To begin with, acids can be divided into three basic groups:
BHA: salicylic acid
AHA: glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid
PHA: gluconolactone or lactobionic acid
These ingredients help the skin by accelerating the natural cell turnover that does not function optimally due to skin ageing (and often due to genetically determined factors such as hyperkeratosis). Acids or keratolytics are used to regulate the activity of skin cells (keratinocytes) primarily for the purpose of achieving better skin texture or for the purpose of cleaner pores in skin prone to imperfections.
Salicylic acid is the only oil-soluble acid and reduces sebum production, so it is recommended for oily skin prone to clogged pores and comedones. Acids from the AHA group are fantastic for repairing texture and surface pigmentation, such as hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema. PHA is the most gentle known variant of AHA acids, so it is an ideal choice for use on more sensitive skin. The synergistic combination of acids in one formulation will work best on multiple skin levels. For example, for treatment of acne and comedones (with post-inflammatory erythema) combination of AHA + BHA in the product is ideal.
Although acids are not for everyone, especially not for individuals suffering from chronic skin conditions, most of us notice huge benefits with their regular use.
When you are just introducing acids into your skin care, a good measure of precaution is to do a patch test on a small area of skin. Conservatively apply your exfoliant of choice on clean skin and monitor the reaction. Slight tingling and redness are completely normal when you are introducing acids, and your skin should calm down completely within a maximum of half an hour.
If no negative skin reaction occurs within 48 hours, it is time for the first real application of your exfoliant. After the usual evening cleansing, apply two to three drops of Clarion or one to two pumps of Lumion to dry face with your fingers. Both of these products contain acids and therefore you are not supposed to use them together, you only need one product according to your skin type and issues. Be sure to avoid the eye area. Slight tingling and short-term redness may (or may not) reoccur, especially if you have fresh blemishes on your face, but it should certainly not be an intense burning sensation. After the exfoliant, continue with your usual skincare, avoiding similar comedolytics and keratolytics like retinoids and azelaic acid. Don't worry, hyaluronic acid is not a keratolytic, so now is a great time for a lot of hydration with your favorite product.
The next evening, skip the exfoliant. At first, it’s enough to use it every 3rd or 4th day, but later on the frequency of use can be increased. Skin will probably turn less red over time and stop tingling completely, as it gets used to this product. Extremely sensitive skin can always be a little red immediately after applying acids, and this is quite normal as long as the redness subsides in a short time.
Over time, you will be able to use your favourite exfoliant several times a week, maybe even every evening, but until then, be sure not to overload your unaccustomed skin. And yes, get ready for a total transformation!
Don't forget: when using a chemical exfoliant, it is advisable to protect the skin during the day with a product containing a high UV protection factor, as exfoliated skin is more sensitive to the negative effects of sun exposure.
Frequently asked questions:
What is the difference between Clarion an Lumion?
If you have combination to oily skin accompanied by acne and comedones, choose Clarion which contains a combination of 2% salicylic (BHA) and 4% glycolic acid (AHA).
If your skin is not so oily, but you occasionally have problems with surface imperfections such as blemishes, textural changes (pores and wrinkles) and some comedones, Lumion is for you. It contains a potent combination of 5% AHA (glycolic and lactic acid) and 1.58% PHA ( gluconolactone).