If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know an alpha hydroxy acid product is one of the staples I recommend to anyone wanting to put together an anti-ageing skincare routine. They’re a great way to chemically exfoliate to reveal fresher, brighter-looking skin; smooth away fine lines. As I’ve recently been given a couple of AHA products to trial I thought I’d tell you about three of the nicer ones.
First up, we’ve got Hyaluron-Filler Night Peeling & Serum (R499,99, Clicks). It contains two different serums, each in its own chamber, that mix together when you pump it out. Serum one is the exfoliator and contains glycolic acid (an AHA), gluconolactone (a polyhydroxy acid that’s super duper mild) and a dash of lactic acid (an AHA known to be hydrating). The other serum is the hydrator that makes use of hyaluronic acid (HA). For those getting confused by all the ‘acids’, know that HA, despite being called an acid, it is actually an intensely hydrating molecule that occurs naturally in your skin. It’s not going to exfoliate or cause any irritation.
Eucerin doesn’t disclose the AHA percentage but, if you’re familiar with them, you can tell how potent something is just by the way it feels and this particular product isn’t a strong one. If you’ve got sensitive skin and want to dip your toes into the world of AHAs it would be a very nice place to start as it’s got ingredients you want, but in a concentration that isn’t likely to sting or cause redness. Thanks to it’s light, gel-like texture, you could wear it under another moisturiser if you didn’t find it hydrating enough, although I’d wait a little bit in between applications so you don’t dilute its efficacy.
If you’re looking for something stronger, you might like Dermalogica’s new Rapid Reveal Peel (R1 499). Packaged as a cute little wallet containing single doses, each mini tube contains a serum that includes lactic acid, fruit enzymes and a type of lime known to be a source of citric acid.
Like Eucerin, Dermalogica doesn’t disclose their product’s percentage but does refer to it as their ‘maximum strength exfoliant’. Don’t let this make you nervous, however, because, to be fair, they only have one other chemical exfoliant in their line up and it’s not very strong. Dermalogica suggests you kick start your ‘peel regime’ by using a tube every three days then transition to just once a week. They advise that you leave it on for three to seven minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Being a hardened AHA thug, I cracked open a tube, smoothed the slightly tacky gel all over my face, chest and the back of my hands then went to bed. I initially felt a mild tingle but there’d be no rinsing for me. I just lay around watching Netflix before blacking out when my sleeping tablet kicked in. The next day, after getting out the shower, my skin looked smooth, not red, and it had sizzled away a bit of flakiness on the side of my nose.
In all, this is a fab medium strength product if you’re already used to AHAs, but a potent one if you’re not, in which case you should probably follow the instructions. The only thing I’d change about Dermalogica’s newbie is the packaging. I’d prefer it in a single pump bottle so I can choose how much I want to dispense per night and don’t end up with a leftover that’s exposed to air. This is an easy fix, however, because you can always just squeeze everything out into another container, provided it’s airtight and opaque.
Last, but not least, if you’re a diehard AHA user like me, I’ve got a little something you’re going to love – BOOST! Skin Serum Smooth (R499, Boost Skin).
Developed by a local plastic surgeon, it contains a whopping 10% glycolic acid. It looks and feels just like WATER, so you could literally layer it under anything. Other fab ingredients in its mix include a fair amount of hydrating hyaluronic acid, pigmentation-fading niacinamide and a dash of antioxidant vitamin C.
For the last year or so I’ve been using Dermaceutic’s Light Ceutic as it contains 8% glycolic acid and has a light, lotion-like texture that isn’t sticky in the least. Still, at just under R900, it’s not exactly pocket-friendly so I’ll be replacing it with Boost’s formula. It’s even more potent than Light Ceutic yet almost half the price!