The chemical craze, explained
Just when we thought we had got to grips with natural, paraben-free beauty, someone comes along and starts hailing the properties of acids. Acids? We reply, but aren’t acids disgusting chemicals? No, they say, acids will make your face glow unlike any other product. Intrigued, we read on…
Acids work to exfoliate the skin without the need for physical exfoliation – grains and beads that scrub away dead skin – by dissolving dead cells on the skin’s surface, which then means the other skin cells can better do their job. This form of exfoliation leaves the skin looking clearer, brighter and fresher in general, but specific acids are better at targetting specific acids.
Cosmetic acids can be split into two main groups: AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, are water soluble and work at the surface of the skin to exfoliate; and BHAs, or beta hydroxy acids, are oil soluble and work inside the pore, so they are great for deep pore exfoliation. The main AHAs that you’ll find in products are lactic and glycolic acids, the main BHA is salicylic. Many exfoliators contain a mixture of acids in order to get surface- and pore-level exfoliation. We’ve picked our favourite, below:
Biologique Recherche P50, available in store at Liberty
Biologique Recherche’s P50 is guaranteed to be on the shelf of every woman with good skin you know, or at least it should be. Containing one of the heaviest duty acids you can buy, carbolic acid alongside a whole host of AHAs and BHAs, this tingly water smells like vinegar (sorry, we’re being honest) but can slew off dull skin, treat blemishes, and resurface unlike any other liquid exfoliator. Add a couple of drops onto a cotton pad and swoosh across the face for unparalleled GLOW!
Alpha-H Liquid Gold is a hardcore resurfacing product that contains 5% naturally derived glycolic acid. It’s pretty strong, so expect a tingle and use it at night, three times a week. It’s good for all skin types, especially dry but also works to reduce blemishes, scarring, discolouration and pigmentation.
These cute little single-use pads are perfect for uneven skin tones. From American dermatologist David Colbert, the discs are steeped in patented Phytomoist QuSome technology, which alleges to have 400 times as much moisturising power as hyaluronic acid. There’s also Q10 to protect from UV damage, and lipoic acid oil to replenish fatty acids.