Chemical Exfoliation 101 (The Ordinary)

Chemical Exfoliation. PS- I have to start by saying I’m not a professional dermatologist, whatever I’m talking about are things that I’ve researched as well as learned by experience so that you guys don’t make the mistake that I might have made in the past also that you guys are a little bit more aware on how to chemically exfoliate your skin. Always start with a patch test before use these all over your face because this is a serious job.

What is Chemical Exfoliation?

To understand the procedure we need to break down the chemical exfoliation. Chemical, in this particular context we’re using it for an asset that will help in exfoliating. Exfoliation means cleaning, scrubbing, and getting rid of something so we’re going to be using chemical or acid as a way of exfoliating and getting rid of dead skin cells, oil, sebum. Physical exfoliators have scrubbing particles in there which we manually use would get rid of dead skin cells as well as a lot of different things that are on our skin maybe like a blackhead, Whitehead, clogged pores, etc. But in chemical exfoliation, we’re gonna be using acid to do the same thing for us. It is not as abrasive as a physical exfoliant because physical exfoliation can create microtears in the skin, but with chemical exfoliants, it’s not as abrasive and works much more than a physical exfoliation. it works on a much deeper level than a physical exfoliant so that’s why a lot of people are moving towards a chemical exfoliant and leaving the physical exfoliant world behind.

Types of exfoliants.

When we talk about chemical exfoliants, we have three different types of chemical exfoliants AHA, BHA & PHA. AHA is Alpha hydroxy acid, BHA is beta hydroxy acid and PHA is polyhydroxy acid. We have more commonly available is AHA and BHA separately as well as together. the PHA is still coming up they are there but they’re like in a fewer number.


Let’s start by talking about AHA or Alpha hydroxy acid, these are supposed to resurface and retexturize your skin, they work on the upper layer of skin, they just remove dead skin cells from the layer of your skin, so that your skin can regenerate and look cleaner and smoother. AHA is the most popular chemical exponent out there in the market and there a couple of different fields of AHAs that you can get. two of the most popular chemical exponents under the AHA brands have to be glycolic acid as well as lactic acid let’s out of my talking about glycolic acid, glycolic acid resources help in making your skin appears smoother it also adds a little bit of brightness to your skin so if you suffer from dull skin or skin that has a lot of dead skin cells and is constantly clogged, glycolic acid is one that you should be going for you. Lactic acid also resurfaces and brightens up your skin, it has an element of moisture in there as well so doesn’t dry up skin out.


BHA or beta hydroxy acid is supposed to work a little deeper than an AHA. AHA works on the topmost layer of your skin but BHA works on the internal layer of the skin so if you have clogged pores, acne issues, white and black that are deeply rooted, BHA is what’s gonna help you in getting rid of that so it helps in cleaning up the skin from within. It is again of very intense chemical so you have to be careful. the most popular type of BHA that’s available in the market is salicylic acid, salicylic acid is something that helps in intensely cleaning up your skin and ensuring that the acne goes away from the root cause rather than just its topical layer of application so truly helps in cleansing out your skin.


Lastly, we have a PHA or polyhydroxy acid, polyhydroxy acid is a milder form of AHA and can be very intimidating for a lot of people special people who have sensitive skin so polyhydroxy acids come into play when if you have sensitive skin and you still want to chemically exfoliate PHA is what you should be going for.

How to Chemically exfoliate your skin?

These days you get AHA, BHA, as well as PHA, in all of your products. so you have a chemical exfoliant face wash, toner, a serum a mask moisturizer, name the product and you have a chemical exfoliant variant of it. The first one and the most popular product out there is The Ordinary AHA plus BHA peeling solution. This is highly concentrated with 30% AHA and 2% BHA. It is supremely strong this is not an entry-level product this is something that you start using once his skin is used to some sort of chemical exfoliation because this can be super strong, directly going with this OK so this is strong but supremely effective the other product.


Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

Such products can cause pigmentation and irritation, redness, or uneven scarring in the skin if it’s applied improperly always do your Patch test a minimum of 24 hours before the peal hopefully 48 to 72 hours, and do it on both the inside of the arm and on the back of the ear.

  • Before applying the peel make sure your face is thoroughly cleansed without any active ingredients present in the cleanser.
  • Drop the product onto your fingertips and then swipe it on or you can drop this onto a cotton pad and apply it to the skin. ( Avoid the undereye area)it might have a warm or slightly tingling sensation.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Wash it off with cold water but do not put other toners or serums on your face after.
  • Use a moisturizer without any active ingredients like salicylic acid benzoyl peroxide no retinol.
  • If it’s daytime you must use sunscreen.

Extra precaution for the next two or three days after that your chemical peel is complete make sure that you are monitoring your process and taking before and after pictures, you want to document how this works for you so that you know is this something that you should do regularly, is it working for me, if you spend money on this again.

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