Honestly, the amount of chemical exfoliants that are on the market right now is overwhelming. There are AHA serums, toners, BHA and AHA combination products, and more. So I asked Dr. Sandra Lee to break down the different types of chemical exfoliants, and key components behind each.
“Two of the most effective chemical exfoliants include salicylic acid (a BHA), and glycolic acid (an AHA). Lactic, citric, and malic acids are other very commonly used alpha hydroxy acids,” she said.
“If you’ve got acne-prone or oily skin, salicylic acid is a great choice, because it’s oil-soluble — meaning it’s able to penetrate into sebum-filled pores. So it not only sloughs off some of those dead cells (which helps eliminate dullness), it dives down into the pores to release any cells that are trapped, which helps prevent acne,” Lee explained.
“Glycolic acid stimulates the cells in your dermis to make hydrating substances like hyaluronic acid. This is why it’s great for treating dry, rough skin — including keratosis pilaris, that bumpy condition we sometimes call ‘chicken skin.'”