If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know how much I luuuurve me some AHA as well as why it’s important. If not, here’s your recap: Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are exfoliating acids that can help speed up cellular turnover. This means smoother, fresher-looking skin as well as less pigmentation, provided you’re dealing with something mild. Beta hydroxy acid (BHA), however, is also important. Unlike AHAs, of which there are many, there’s only one BHA and that’s salicylic acid. While AHAs exfoliate on the surface, BHA exfoliates below, getting deep into your pores to keep them clean and clear. This is why pretty much every face wash aimed at spotty teens is full of it but, inexplicably, it’s super hard to find a potent BHA product in the drugstore. In fact, I don’t think you can.
When it comes to percentages, 2% sounds low but it’s pretty potent – the magic number you need if you’re to blitz blackheads in their moer. As I like to spend a lot of time in the East, sweating my oil-prone little face off, using a high strength BHA product is important to me. On my last trip I relied on Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel (2%) and really like its non-sticky gel-like texture as I could wear it in the day under sunscreen. The only downer is the price tag – R765 for 50ml. If I’d had a sunscreen-induced bacne breakout (I’ve had one and it’s the worst!) I’d have cleared it with generous slatherings of Dermalogica’s gem, alternating with Differin gel, wincing at the cost.
On a mish to find a less expensive 2% BHA product, I bought The Ordinary’s version and totally hated it. It foamed up on my skin and I’m told this happens when you use too much of it, but that felt crazy because two drops just aren’t enough to coat my face and any more than that turned into foam party. So ja. That product’s not my friend. One I am loving, however, is another of Dr. Alek Nikolic’s newbies – Sk.In Pure Medi Shot.
What makes Pure Medi Shot awesome is the fact that it’s not just 2% BHA. You’re also getting 2% hyaluronic acid (a brilliant hydrator/skin plumper), 4% niacinimide (a soothing pigmentation inhibitor), papaya and pineapple extract (exfoliating fruit acids) and zinc (an antibacterial anti-inflammatory). In short, lots of bang for your buck. And speaking of buck, at R700 for 100ml, it’s very good value.
The only negative about Pure Medi Shot is that it’s got a slightly sticky texture. Not crazy sticky, but definitely not the kind of product I’d want to wear under my make-up. This limits me to night time use, but when you consider all the pros, it’s really not a biggie. Also, if you’ve got sensitive skin, you might find it a bit sensitising. As I’m used to a routine full of acids and enzymes I attempted to wear this three nights in a row and had to dial back to two and limit it to my oily T-section as it started to sting. (If you’re the reactive sort, Dermalogica’s Overnight Cleansing Gel would probably be a better bet. It’s fruit acid-free and I could wear it every single day.)
So, here’s the bottom line – if you’re after a great value multi-tasking gem that’s going to murder black heads; gently lift dry, dead skin and lighten the look of mild pigmentation Sk.In Pure Medi Shot is a gem.