Everything you need to know about EXFOLIATION & ACIDS

by likuna khaburzania

Exfoliation is the removal of dry or dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and is one of the most important aspects of your home skincare routine for face and body. Exfoliation not only helps many skin problems, but it also increases blood circulation, which in turn helps you to achieve healthy and glowing skin. Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells every 30 days. Sometimes as a result of age and unprotected sun exposure—this shedding process slows and may stop along. Sometimes This can result in dull, dry, or flaky skin, clogged, enlarged pores, bumps, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and uneven skin tone. Exfoliating can help prevent this.

 There are two kinds of exfoliation.


Physical Exfoliator

Exfoliating tools or skincare products that will physically scrub the surface layer of the skin. For example, towel, scrub, Clarisonic brushes, peeling gel.

These products definitely work but you should be really careful with physical exfoliators. It’s important to be gentle enough because it can cause the epidermis layer of the skin.

 Chemical exfoliator

Chemical exfoliator contains ingredients that will help remove dead skin cells without having to scrub. This product helps you to get rid of the glue that holds dead skin together which is what causes breakouts and clogs pores. It helps to increase your skin situation and make it glow.


 Acids are actually some of the most beneficial ingredients available in skincare. They’re the miracle tools used to fight acne, wrinkles, age spots, scarring, and uneven skin tone. But before u decide to try a product which contains acids, you have to know where, how, and when to use them. They can be found in toners, serums, moisturizes, face masks and basically in most of the skincare products. As we know there are two types of acid.

AHA  ( Alpha Hydroxy Acid)


BHA ( Beta Hydroxy Acid)

How chemical exfoliants work 

Epidermis ( surface skin) – AHA

Ideal for dry to combination skin, sensitive skin.

Dermis ( deeper skin) – BHA

Ideal for combination to oily skin, acne-prone skin.

AHA ( Alpha Hydroxy Acid )

• Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural acids found in foods.

•Suitable for all skin types. It’s gentle enough for everyone to use.

•Water-soluble ( can’t penetrate into pores)

AHA benefits

• resurfaces the texture of the skin

•even out the skin



Most popular AHA acids

• Glycolic acid

It is usually found in sugar crops.
Glycolic is Monarch of the AHAs. This acid exfoliates gently and removes dead skin cells, stimulates collagen promotion, helps skin to feel firmer and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Because of its small molecular size, it can penetrate the skin better than most other AHAs, which is why it is found in almost every single product that has AHA.

• Lactic acid

Lactic acid is found in sour milk and tomato juice. 
It is less irritating on the skin. It works the same way as glycolic acid by removing the top layer of skin cells to reveal fresh up bright up a pumper skin under knees but it is milder and moisturizes skin while it exfoliates.

• Mandelic acid

Mandelic acid is found in almonds.
It is gentler than most AHAs. Mandelic acid is anti-bacterial and exfoliating which is great for people who have acne.

• Malic acid

Malic acid is found in many fruits, like an apple.
It is not as strong as glycolic or lactic acid it’s mostly used in combination with other AHAs. This acid is brightening exfoliant.

 BHA ( Beta Hydroxy Acids )

• A beta-hydroxy acid is an organic compound that contains a carboxylic acid functional group.

• Suitable for acne-prone skin

• Oil-soluble (It can dissolve in oil )

•  it can penetrate deep into your pores and break down the sebum that’s causing breakouts, hormonal acne, and inflammation

BHA benefits

• anti-inflammatory

• treats acne and breakouts

• Reduces Bacteria and Decreases Hyperpigmentation

•BHA basically goes where AHA can’t go within the deep into your pores and can dissolve all the nasties and oils that cause breakouts.

Most Popular BHA Acids

• Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is usually found in willow bark.

This ingredient is best known for its exfoliating, acne and bacteria-fighting powers. it goes deep into your pores to unclog blackheads.  It treats acne, blackheads, breakouts and stimulates collagen production.

+ it hydrates and moisturizes the skin.

• Tropic acid

Tropic acid is a chemical synthesis

This acid is anti-aging.

Other Acids

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is found in the human body. The large amount of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes.

This acid is ideal for any skin type. It solves your problems like dullness, fine lines, sensitivity, aging, uneven skin tone, and texture. After using this product your skin will feel hydrated and healthy.

Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is found in wheat, rye, and barley.

This acid can significantly diminish the appearance of skin blemishes, help fade post-acne marks and other discolorations, refine skin’s surface, and reveal a more even skin tone. It can even reduce skin sensitivity and is compatible with any skin type.

 My Advice

• Use Sunscreen!!! Acids increase sun sensitivity even when they are not on your skin.

•I personally don’t recommend acids in summer. But If you decide to use them, use a strong sun protection cream.

•Don’t use AHA acids together!

•You can use AHA and BHA acids together. The two types actually have different properties and can be used together for increased effectiveness.

• It’s great to use AHA/BHA acids and Hyaluronic acid together. the combination helps to hydrate the skin and reduce the risk of irritation.

• Don’t use acne treatments and salicylic acid together. It can be very drying and irritating when applied together.

• It’s better to use acids at night.

• If you are beginner Use It slowly. Even if it’s recommended to use 3 times a week just take it slow and use it once to see how your skin reacts to this product.

• If your face mask contains AHA/BHA 1-2 times a week.

• You should start with the least concentrated versions of acids.

• Be careful while using chemical and physical exfoliants at the same time.


Photo by: Ritualofme