AHA

Enzyme & AHA Exfoliators

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Today in the market we have a massive range of exfoliators to choose from, of course the traditional physical exfoliator continue to exist but many have evolved to chemical (AHA and Enzyme) exfoliators. There is also a combination of physical and chemical exfoliator. So ultimately it comes down to your own preference and skin’s tolerance level. The general theme to all these products is the following category of ingredients:

  • Natural fruit enzymes loosen dead skins cells from the surface of skin. Also includes fermented fruit extracts
  • Physical exfoliants can be a huge range from botanical, herbals, precious stones to buff away surface dead skin cells
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids gently exfoliates skin and depending on type of AHA (and it molecular structure…to learn more about AHA click here), goes deeper than enzymes (learn basics of enzymes, click here). Lactic acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid
  • Cellulose peels & Sugar extracts polishes, lifting away dullness revealing brighter skin

Choice of product depends on many factors such as:

  • How many actives? Just enzymes or AHA’s or combination?
  • Purely chemical exfoliation or including physical exfoliation too?
  • Product effectiveness?
  • Other factors to consider such as packaging, consistency, texture, smell?
  • Of course how much $$$ we need to fork out?
  • Certain brand principles and ethos?

In this post, I have attempted to round up all exfoliators I’m currently using and provide a brief summary on their composition and performance. Any questions or feedback you’d like to add to any product please post in comments below.

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PCA Skin Revitalizing Mask was a complete surprise for me! The ingredient listing, performance, results and finally the price. Primary base and first ingredient as Papaya fruit extract adds to the distinct green colour of the product. Tingles in a good way and sloughs off dead skin from surface. The product is enriched with Squalane, Sugarcane Extract, Sodium Chlorophyllin-Zinc Complex, Honey/Mel/Miel, Rose Geranium Flower Oil, Fennel Oil, Patchouli Oil, Green tea leaf Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, Sucrose, Soybean Oil, Rosewood Wood Oil, Lime Fruit Extract, Orange Peel Oil. The skin glows and if followed by clay mask, the final result is spectacular. This is certainly not for sensitive skins, with combination of strong enzyme and essential oils it might be tad much.

Planted in Beauty Detox Exfoliant is a classic combination of physical and chemical exfoliation (pineapple enzymes). The physical exfoliation is very fine and wouldn’t scratch or damage the skin. It is also enriched with some lovely antioxidants (Raspberry and Moringa Seed Extract), plants extracts (Great Burdock, Fenugreek, May Chang, Alpine Willow Herb, Wintergreen), and sugars (Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide). It appears to be well rounded in terms of formulation and performance is immediately visible results. Packaged in a tall 120ml/4oz pump bottle makes it very convenient. The addition of essentials oils makes it smell something like a product used in a spa.

Dr Lewinn’s Reversaderm Enzymatic Detoxifying mask sounds promising and heavy in its name. Purely chemical exfoliation, with slightest tingle however in terms of performance it does ok for people with low expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it does it’s job however its limited in its performance compared to many others in this post. The inci list stars include, Irish Moss Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Papain, Bromelain, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Resveratrol Ferment Extract, Oligopeptide-24, French Saffron Extract, Glycolic Acid. Also the availability is limited to Australia and possibly online in UK.

BeautyPie Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial is a newer product on the market, with an interesting brand concept where their members can shop from an ever-expanding selection of unbranded luxury skincare and makeup products, and pay only the straight off the production-line prices. Anyway aside that, let’s talk about product formulation and performance. So formulated with Glycolic Acid, Pumpkin Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus  Pomegranate Fruit Extract, Quartz Powder, Bamboo Stem Extract, Rice Starch, Pomegranate Bark Extract, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Witch Hazel Bark Extract, Raspberry Leaf culture. It is thick mildly physical exfoliating gel which positively tingles the skin and definitely does its job. Except how the brand works and does it truly save money, is largely questionable.

Själ Pearl Exfoliating Mask is the most expensive product on this post. A triple-performance exfoliant and mask that effectively detoxifies pores and brightens skin texture through a complex of enzymes, multi-fruit acids, and crushed pearl to minimize dullness, remove dead skin and excess sebum. The inci list is dissected below for each category of ingredient:

  • Galactoarabinan: Larch Tree extract (recommend reading this article by Oskia)
  • Precious Stones Exfoliators: Pearl Powder, Sapphire Powder, Diamond Powder, Citrine Powder, Amethyst Powder, Tourmaline Powder, Ruby Powder, Amber Powder – claims to have its own vibration that creates a gentle cooling effect when applied to skin that stimulates micro-circulation while helping to improve clarity and brightening. I don’t know enough about precious stones vibration and its impact & effectiveness in skincare but surely intrigues me a lot.
  • Enzymes: Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Pomegranate Fruit Ferment Extract, Bromelain, Papain, Bilbery Fruit/leaf Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Sugar Maple Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract
  • Other Extracts & Cellulose/Sugars: Smithsonite Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Mushroom Stem Extract, Algae Extract, Fennel Extract, Mannitol (type of sugar), Cellulose, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Royal Jelly Extract
  • Essential Oils: Blue Tansy Oil, Rosewood Wood Oil, Lavender Oil, Lime Peel Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil

Upon application this product does tingle my skin, dries fairly quickly, and finally the skin is visibly radiant. To remove, I wet my fingers and gentle buff away the product as it has slight physical exfoliation component through precious stone powders. It is pricey and has a competitor in same price range which I’ve talked about below (Omorovicza Copper Peel).

Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator’s is much revered among the blogosphere, and social media. Of course I had to grab myself a 1.5oz (45ml) jar at $60. Quite a pricey proposition and the formula is basically Honey, Plant Oils, Herbal Enzyme (powders), Papaya Enzyme (41th / 49th ingredient) and Essential Oils. While it leaves skin soft, smooth, radiant, its essentially a physical exfoliant in a honey base and very little active enzyme (Papain, of course honey too). I feel no tingle expected from a typical enzyme exfoliant, however get more from this product through its physical exfoliation. I’m possibly the only one who feels this way about this product, and also feel there are other physical exfoliators at a much competitive price too.

Colleen Rothschild Dual Enzyme Polish (50ml at $55) is unique formula in this category of peels and exfoliants. While the formula consists of usual Bromelain, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Papain, it also has notable ingredients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and finally few more ingredients like Comfrey Leaf Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Argan Kernel Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Olive Fruit Oil. The Vitamin  and C are on skin for such a short while I don’t see them making an impact on skin. This polish to be applied, left on for few minutes and then gradually exfoliated off the skin. Fresh, bouncy, soft skin reveals itself.

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SkinJuice is an Australian skincare distinguished by its intense bright colour packaging. Not widely known to the world but it is surely a brand to keep an eye out for. I tried their Facial in a Jar mask which is basically a hot pot of AHAs, Enzymes and potent botanical extracts. Some known ingredients included in this formulation are: Lactic Acid, Witch Hazel Distillate, Pomegranate Fruit Ferment Extract, Mandelic Acid, PhytoCide Elderberry Extract, Sodium Lactate, Manna sugar, Malic acid, Pumpkin Fruit Extract, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Moth Bean Seed Extract, Irish Moss Extract,  Rapeseed Oil, Ginger Root Extract, Papain, Sodium Hyaluronate etc. Packaged in an air tight pump up jar, and need only 2-3 pumps for a layer over the face. Slightest tingle on skin and leaves skin incredibly soft, radiant and refined. No physical exfoliation at all, however it major concoction of AHA’s and enzymes I doubt the skin needs any more exfoliation.

January Labs Power Peel & Go is one product I was very excited to try however it left me very underwhelmed. It appealed to me for its short, concise inci list and hoped it performed like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, but it left a lot to be desired. For non-elephant skin individuals this peel might work, however for me it didn’t do a thing. I contacted brand and they sent me the Pro version, which gave me mild tingle and flush to skin mainly because of Cinnamon Oil. Sensitive skinned people should be careful using Cinnamon oil in this formulation, as it may irritate the heck out of your skins. Long story short, for USD $75, there are much better alternatives available. Full Inci List: Water, Hypromellose, Phenol (magic ingredient in Biologique Recherche P50 1970, for numbness), Cinnamon Oil (stimulate the skin and increase circulation), Potassium Sorbate, Chloroxylenol, Grapefruit Extract (purifier, antiseptic, and preservative).

Chantecaille Fruit and Flower Mask is a gorgeous cream mask with not so clean ingredient list but performance surpasses many masks! A light whipped cream consistency mask, packaged in thick glass bottom jar, and enriched with Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Hibiscus Flower Extract, Mandarin Orange Peel Oil, Grapefruit Fruit extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Papain (Hyaluronate and Papain/Papays enzyme are last few ingredients). I do feel a mild tingle on applying this mask, it smells just gorgeous of florals like Rose, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Narcissus. I also enjoy steaming my face as this mask eats away dead cells from surface.

Pixi Peel & Polish is a mild physical exfoliating or a leave on peel. Hence the name Peel and Polish. P&P is formulated with Lactic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Witch Hazel Water, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Papaya Fruit Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Sugar Maple Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract, Bilberry Fruit Extract. The physical exfoliation is courtesy of Polylactic Acid beads which are tiny, and not as abrasive on skin’s surface. For $24 this product performs well, and quick spruce up for skin. By no means this is an indulgent luxurious or clean product but like I said, does the job.

Speaking of luxurious and indulgent lets talk Omorovicza Copper Peel. A brightening two phase peel for brightening skin, combining a blue copper paste and a lactic acid activator, polishes and smoothes complexion and visibly reduces pore size for a brighter, more even skin tone. I was very dubious about this product, given the price and ingredient list appeared reasonable but basic.

So let me cut to the chase, did it live up to the hype? Yes! The paste is very very fine and very gentle to massage on dry skin. Paste is enriched with Sodium Bicarbonate, Squalane, Copper Gluconate, Camphor, Yeast Extract, and essential oils like Sage Oil, Chamomile, Geranium. I tend to leave it on for few minutes before proceeding with the Activator enriched with Hungarian Thermal Water, Lactic Acid, Hungarian Thermal Water Ferment Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, and Chlorella  Protein Ferment. Gently massage in the activator and it forms white foam (don’t think soapy suds, no). Finally splash water on water and throughly remove any residue. The skin feels soft like cloud, radiant like first ray of sun. The tubes last least 3 uses, for me personally I used 4 times. So it seems the dollar goes much further than initially anticipated and results surely make it worth it for me.

So as a final round up, couple of quick points from usage perspective, I tend to use 2-3 times a week. Typically after cleanse and before a dense purifying clay or mud mask. Also highly recommend steaming your face with these products on your skin, the results are astounding. If there is any product you’d like to recommend in this category, please leave your recommendation in comments below.

HHW.com

xx

SkinBetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream

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SkinBetter a skincare brand converging beauty and science. The skinbetter science team of aesthetic experts who developed Restylane® and Dysport® have a comprehensive approach to age management and skin care. One of their best selling products the AlphaRet® Overnight Cream claims to go to work while the skin is at rest, to visibly reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. This formula is supercharged with AlphaRet, with unique combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and a Retinoid to create a revolutionary double conjugated retinoid.

Let’s cut to the chase and get into the nitty gritty of this product:

fullsizeoutput_4036Major props to this brand for Packaging, in an air tight container, with no sun or light exposure, no bacteria exposure through fingers and  nails, sleek and elegant colour scheme packaging. Once you hold the bottle its light plastic bottle but does a darn good job for aforementioned reasons.

In addition to the bottle, it also has a solid box casing with all benefits, claims and ingredients listed on the box. In saying so, the website is transparent with its inci lists so no hide and seek games there.

Talking about inci lists, lets dive in the best part of the review:

Aqua/Water, Sodium Glycolate, Glycolic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Pentylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Sorbitan Olivate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Glycerin, Ceresin, Glycol Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Squalane, Methyl Gluceth-20, Ethyl Lactyl Retinoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ceramide NP, Hyaluronic Acid, Ubiquinone, Tocopherol, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Superoxide Dismutase, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Allantoin Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Linoleic Acid, Cholesterol, Linolenic Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Steareth-2, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Hydrated Silica, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Star performers in the formulation include, Ethyl lactyl retinoate (a proprietary blend of lactic acid and retinoids that exfoliates and boosts collagen production); Squalane, Niacinamide, Ceramides, and Fatty acids (moisturize). Last few ingredients are preservatives or consistency improvers, and this is the exact place you would want to see these ingredients.

Ingredient to be perceived negative or potentially congestion inducing for many is addition of Shea butter, however in this formulation is works beautifully to moisturize the skin without irritating or congesting it.

Skin Type: I would say absolutely any skin could use it except for super sensitive, or eczema prone skin.

Texture & Consistency fullsizeoutput_4037

The dispensed product feels like light whipped cream, 2 pumps is sufficient for face however 3 needed to take it all the way down to neck. Following with an oil or balm and no peeling, rolling or piling experienced. Wonderful to layer products with. In a typical skin care routine, this is the order I would take it in:

Makeup Removal – Second Cleanse – Mild Acid or Essence patting – Hydrating Serum – SkinBetter AlphaRet Intensive Cream – Oil/Balm.

To be 100% transparent and honest with you, this product was not instant love for me. I used it 3-4 times and set it aside thinking its not doing much for my skin. So first point to be noted here is Consistency of use to see visible results. Also why this may not have performed on my skin first 3-4 times like many others is because my skin is extremely in tune with potent AHAs and Retinoids, standalone as well as combination. Hence it didn’t blow me away in first few uses.

Fast forward to few weeks later, on a work travel trip, I committed to using it for 2 weeks straight with a basic hydrating serum, and BAM there I fell in love. I truly saw the product’s performance capability. So lets go through its claims and benefits and see if it stood true.

Benefits, Claims, Performance & Results

  • A significant reduction in the appearance of depth and size of wrinkles in as little as four weeks, with little to no irritation.

Fortunately I don’t have deep line or wrinkles on my face, so cannot speak to it. However I experienced absolutely no irritation on the skin, in fact left it moisturized even on nights when I didn’t follow with an oil, cream or balm.

  • Glycolic acid helps retexturize and increase the efficacy of AlphaRet

Yes Yes Yes it surely worked to improve my skin’s tone and texture. It felt more taut and clear of congestion.

  • A targeted peptide blend acts synergistically with AlphaRet resulting in fewer visible age lines.

Not qualified in this area to provide an opinion.

  • An ultra hydrating blend of squalane, niacinamide, ceramides, fatty acids provides deep moisture to help counteract the dryness associated with traditional retinoid based products.
  • A trilogy of skin soothing ingredients including allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid, bisabolol and portulaca extract provides a sensation of calmness.
  • A potent blend of antioxidants helps provide protection against free radicals.

For the last three bullets, the combination has surely worked to improve my skin’s overall health. I view this product as a crockpot of goodness, brimming with healthy, boosting, and skin health improving ingredients.

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Now for the million dollar question,  what is the difference between regular AlphaRet and Intensive version, well its really simple! The order/potency of their Second – Sodium Glycolate (salt of Glycolic Acid) and Third – Glycolic Acid is swapped to make it “intensive” and stand true to its name. All ingredients thereafter are exactly the same and in the exact same order too.

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The availability and price may deter some from this product. Available through professional physicians and at USD $110. For the well researched, this is not the only product in the market that has combined AHAs with Retinoid, however what sets it apart is the addition of peptides, antioxidants and a blend of squalane, niacinamide, ceramides, and fatty acids. A well rounded, one stop shop treatment for skin. In my view, its definitely worth the dough, as it captures most skincare needs in one product unless you have a very specific concern.

HHW.com

xx

Alpha H Liquid Gold Series

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Hellooo everyone, seems like I’m back to blogging after an unexpected and unintentional hiatus. Anyway so here I am, back from a visit down under i.e. Australia aka my home. On my random walk into Sephora I discovered Alpha H Liquid Gold (LG) Rose, without thinking and within a blink of an eye it made its way to the checkout counter.

I posted about it on IG and had a few questions, mainly around how is it different to original liquid gold in terms of performance and formulation. Widely known fact, I’m obsessed and addicted to Liquid Gold for a while now. Many moons ago, Ruth Crilly – A Model Recommends had me hooked me on this liquid gold (pun intended).

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Before we dive in, quick capture on the original LG for the virgins: basically an overnight  glycolic acid treatment, to be used every alternate night and the results show a visible difference in skin tone, texture, scarring, pigmentation, sun damage and signs of aging.

Moving on with comparisons of original LG and Rose LG. First up, Formulation & Ingredient focus.

Original Liquid Gold

Rose Liquid Gold

Aqua, Alcohol Denat, Glycolic Acid (5%), Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract (licorice extract)

Aqua, Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Butylene Glycol, Maris Sal (dead sea salt), Sodium Carrageenan (sodium salt of seaweed), Potassium Hydroxide, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract (sacred lotus flower extract), Orchis Morio Flower Extract (orchid flower extract), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Phenoxyethanol, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil (geranium Oil), Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract), Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Linalool

Original LG is known for its intense, punchy formulation which is certainly not for everybody, definitely not for sensitive skins. The Rose LG is simmered down with addition of some hydrators and botanical extracts. Ingredients in red font are additions to the new limited edition formula. None of the ingredients from original LG are eliminated, so the soul of the product remains intact. The added ingredients are intended to help the product be gentle on skin and hydrate & plump the skin while it does its regular job (minus the intensity of original LG).

So you ask, how does the newer formulation impact the classic LG tingle factor and performance? Safe to say, it does have an impact on performance. Thankfully a positive impact, where it could open its doors to a larger audience with various skin types. To validate this, I did my own pH test on both exfoliators. We already know the original LG is famous for its very low pH (3.5) delivery system, giving it that tingle factor and making it a fabulous performer. So the new Rose LG, had pH rating slightly higher at 5.5 than original, which still means great execution with addition of new ingredients. The feel and effects on skin are more subtle, delicate, caressing, hydrating on the skin.

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Some more points to note about Rose LG is it smells a whole lot more appealing, not as much of a tingle factor on skin, and followed by rose water is an absolute delight (even though Alpha H recommend finishing up with night cream or leave as a standalone treatment). Typically I use both LG’s after cleansing, soak cotton pad with product and dab on skin, note here – not swipe. I always dab acid products on skin. Alpha H recommends leaving it here for an intense treatment however I prefer to follow on with hydrating toner, serum, moisturizer or an oil.

In terms of benefits for skin, LG helps to clarify and brighten the complexion, improve appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, pigmentation. However Rose LG goes one step further where it hydrates and plumps the skin due to the addition of botanical extracts in the formulation. Furthermore it is also anti inflammatory and helps with redness.

Some comparison points summarized:

 

Original Liquid Gold

Rose Liquid Gold

Skin Type

Mature, sun damaged, prematurely ageing and acne-scarred skin

Normal to dry skin, and mature skin. I wouldn’t recommend for very sensitive skins.

Recommended Application Frequency

Each alternate evening.

Each alternate night however in recent Lady CH video they say its ok for morning & night.

pH Delivery

Low pH delivery system – 3.5 Perfect pH – 5.5

Tingle Factor

6-8 / 10 4-5 / 10

Size Available

50ml, 100ml, 200ml 100ml – limited edition

My love for Liquid Gold isn’t slowing down any time soon, Rose LG or not, I’ll still be a regular user of LG. I would love for Rose LG to be a part of permanent line but I’m not fussed about it. For me the original LG, is still the one. This is beginning to sound like an undying love story, but it stands true for me. If you tried either of these, share your experience, I’d love to know your thoughts.

HHW.com

xx

Colleen Rothschild Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum

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Colleen Rothschild’s products are no secret to anyone. Over this past summer, she released a gorgeous new Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum. I’ve spoken about Mandelic Acid before (click here) which is derived from Bitter Almonds and helps with age spots and discoloration. Lets dive into CR Serum:

Claims: 

The Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum is an intensive daily treatment that promotes cellular turnover to address photo-agingfine lines, acnedark spots and overall skin texture. At the core of the formula is Mandelic acid which is a gentle, yet highly effective Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from the Bitter Almond.

Pollution, Aging, Sun, and Stress take a toll on the skin and its natural ability to generate and shed skin cells. Dead skin cells sit on the surface of the skin causing a dry, lackluster appearance. The new Colleen Rothschild Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum is formulated to gently exfoliate, dissolve, and breakdown the tiny bonds between dead skin cells, revealing healthy glowing skin. Over time, a brighter and more radiant complexion is unveiled.

Gentle enough for use every day :

  • Refine skin texture and tone – Yes
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – Cant tell, I don’t have as many lines yet
  • Helps clogged pores and pesky blackheads – Yes
  • Inhibits dark spots and uneven skin tone – Yes Yes

INGREDIENTS (30 ml (1 fl oz) -$75)

Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid, Lactic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate (derivative of Azelaic acid), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate (tripeptide), Ergothioneine (naturally occurring amino acid), Salicylic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate(Vitamin C), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Saccharum O cinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacae Extract (halophyte plant), Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Glycerin, PPG-12 SMDI Copolymer, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Galactoarabinan, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide

FORMULATED WITHOUT: Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Synthetic fragrances or colorants

The wonderful thing about this inci list is all actives are listed before preservatives. To summarise, the list above is enriched with AHA’s like Mandelic, Lactic, Salicylic acids and derivative of Azelaic Acid. Includes Tripeptides, Vitamin C, antioxidants like Green Tea, fruit extracts of Apple, Sugarcane, Mangosteen, Pomegranate, Goji, Acai, Noni, Coffee, Orange, Lemon and fragranced with essential oil of Neroli.

In terms of consistency and texture, it is a clear slightly runny gel like liquid. The smell is wonderful of Neroli essential oil. Absorbs instantly in the skin. I take couple of pumps all over my face and neck. Generally layer it with some light hydrating serum. Due to the number of acids and essential oil actives, I find it does dry my skin if not nourished properly. To layer products on top is a complete dream, no rolling, no piling, just glides and absorbs smoothly in the skin.

Next morning, my skin has been smooth, even toned and textured and radiant. I absolutely adore how my skin looks and feels following morning. The makeup glides on beautifully and leaves a flawless finish. Although in saying so, I limit use of this gem to 2-3 times a week solely because it can be drying for my skin. The oilier skins would adore this serum, but my skin is temperamental in Chicago winter and has its dry moments. Over the course of summer, I used more frequently to address any sun damage and continue with radiance boosting products.

I highly recommend looking into Mandelic acid as an ingredient in your skincare routines. In this product, having Mandelic with other AHA’s, peptides, and anti oxidants gives it that extra boost. Do you have any other recommendations for products centered around Mandelic Acid?

HHW.com

xx

Acids 101: AHA, BHA, PHA

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We’ve all heard catch phrases and marketing spills from various brands that echo in our heads something along these lines, “using AHA, BHA …. product will give your skin glow from sun……………… blah blah blah!”

This post is intended to provide you further information on source of these acids, their purpose in life, how it would benefit the skin and some product suggestions.

ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS (AHA’s)

Operation Mode

AHA’s are water soluble which basically means it reacts with upper layer of epidermis and dissolves all dead skin cells on surface of skin. AHA’s operate at pH level of 3 – 5 (it’s the level of acidity, when compared to water at pH level 7 which is neutral).

Suitable Candidate or Skin Concerns

People experiencing sun damaged skin, aging, pigmentation, brown spots, wrinkles, rosacea, acne spots, congested skin.

Where should it be on the Ingredient list?

Products containing higher concentration of AHA’s would usually be listed 2nd – 3rd – 4th – 5th in the ingredient list (but these do not necessarily interpret effective result it may mean faster results).

Which acid is most effective? Which acid penetrates deepest in layers of skin?

It simply depends on the relevant acid’s Molecular size….Not all of the acids work in same way. Smaller molecules penetrate deeper in the skin for best results. But they are also the ones that give the skin tingling sensation or irritate very sensitive skins.

The following acids are in the order from . The following table shows the types of AHA’s, in the order of Smallest (deepest penetration in skin) to Largest molecule (more skin surface exfoliation), Source they are derived from, their Purpose in life and Product suggestions:

Type Source Derived from Function

Product Suggestions

Glycolic Acid

(Smallest Molecule)

Sugar Cane Degreasing and controlling production of sebum, and stimulate collagen production in skin. Alpha Hydrox range (12-14% Glycolic Acid)

Peter Roth Thomas Glycolic Range

Kate Somerville Glycolic & Retinol Peel

Alpha H Liquid Gold Range

Bravura London Glycolic Peel (10%) & Moisturizer (15%)

Lactic Acid Milk, Yoghurt, Sour Butter Milk or fermented fruit Antimicrobial, hydrating and adjusts ph level, skin softener, keeps skin moist Priori Gentle Facial Cleanser (13% Lactic Acid Complex)

Bravura London Lactic Acid Peel

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Malic Acid Apples, Cherry, Pears Hydrating, soothing and increases tissue respiration, increases oxygen supply to skin Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Packs

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel

Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser & Enzyme Exfoliant

Tartaric Acid Grapes, Berries, Currants, Passionfruit, Red Wine Antioxidant Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Mask
Citric Acid Tomatoes, Oranges, Lemons (citrus fruits) Brightens skin, anti aging properties Mario Badescu Orange Tonic Mask

Ole Henriksen Truth Collagen Serum

Mandelic Acid Bitter Almonds Helps age spots, discoloration

Vivant Skincare Mandelic Serum

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution

BETA HYDROXY ACID (BHA)

Operation Mode

BHA’s are lipid (oil) soluble, which basically means it can break down the oils on surface of skin and penetrate deeper in layers of skin. Due to the ability of BHA’s going deeper in skin, they aid in acting against sebum congestion under the skin’s surface. They have anti-inflammatory properties too. Like AHA’s, these operate at pH level of 3 – 5. BHA products may result in dryness and dehydration to the skin.

Suitable Candidate or Skin Concerns

BHA products are suitable for congested skin, blackheads, whiteheads, acne, wrinkles, and ingrown hair.

Where should it be on the Ingredient list?

Unlike AHA products, the products containing Salicylic acid would usually be listed towards end of the ingredient listing. BHA is far stronger and therefore effective on skin.

Type Source Derived from Function Product Suggestions

Salicylic Acid

(Molecule smaller than Glycolic Acid)

Salicylic Acid derived from White Willow Bark. Aspirin is also derived from White Willow Bark and its active ingredient is Salicylic acid. You may have heard Aspirin masks for acne prone skin. Unclog pores, helps with underlying congestion, ingrown hair.

NO impact on sebum production or killing bacteria.

Bravura London Salicylic Acid Peel 2%

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (French Version)

Skinceuticals LHA Solution (also has Lipo Hydroxy and Glycolic Acids)

Dr Dennis Gross Purifying Booster

Perfect Image Skincare – TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) 15% Gel Peel Enhanced with Salicylic Acid

Body scrubs that contain Salicylic acid are brilliant for ingrown hair

Categories/Types of products that contain AHA’s and BHA’s

Cleanser, Toners, Exfoliators, Eye Creams, Serums, Moisturizers, Chemical Peels. Below I have summarized some of the products that contain AHA, BHA, or a combination of two. 

AHA & BHA General Knowledge

1) Most important thing to bear in mind is AHA and BHA do cause skin sensitivities especially to sun exposure. Basically all hard work done with skin care products, can be reversed with unprotected sun exposure or inadequate sun protection.

2)  Skin regeneration is turnover of new skin cells that is critical for healthy, radiant and clear skin. Whilst AHA’s, BHA’s and PHA’s are brilliant for chemical exfoliation which continually “promote” growth of collagen in skin, it should be noted that AHA, BHA, PHA don’t generate new collagen. These are a great prep point for repairing products that have specific ingredients aimed at repair and nourish various skin concerns.

3)  There are number of companies and products that have a combination of AHA and BHA (Salicylic Acid). As for AHA’s you will need to read the ingredient list to ensure which type of acid is included in the product. Some companies also used synthetically sourced AHA and BHA, which is not naturally sourced. Think of it as, Vanilla extract (in a bottle with alcohol) as against using natural vanilla pod! Similarly some companies use AHA concentrate rather than extracts from natural fruit or vegetable. 

POLY HYDROXY ACID (PHA)

For sensitive skins, that are irritated with deep penetration of Glycolic Acid or cannot handle the tingly sensation from AHA’s, the Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA’s) come to their rescue.

Polyhydroxy acids enhance exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin and normalize its thickness. Products containing PHA’s cause less irritation to sensitive skin due to their large molecular structures. Considering it has a larger molecular structure it doesn’t penetrate deep in layers of skin, however it has has been proven the efficacy is not impacted in anyway compared to any other AHA.

Generally, the two types of PHA’s available are Gluconolactone (from oxidized glucose – natural sugar found in human body) and Lactobionic acid (from oxidized lactose – milk sugar).

Some product suggestions with PHA’s:

Thanks for taking the time to read the post and hopefully it has answered some of your burning questions.

HHW.com

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