Exfoliation: Acne's Worst Enemy?

When acne and congested skin start appearing on your face, you can feel overwhelmed about what to do and where to start. Often the first place people start is with harsh manual exfoliators to scrub pimples away. Although this may feel like it works in the moment, this action actually makes things worse. Harsh manual exfoliators can spread the acne-causing bacteria by creating micro-tears in the skin, thus making things worse. Now, exfoliation is essential to solving acne problems, but the right kind of exfoliation is key.

Let's Get Chemical

If you have congested skin, manual exfoliators are great! But for actual acne sufferers, chemical exfoliation is the way to go. There are two categories of chemical exfoliators: Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid. Both of these help to exfoliate the skin and rid it of dead skin cells and debris to reveal a smooth and healthy complexion.

The Breakdown

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are water soluble molecules that come from milk sugars or botanical sources, such as fruits. AHAs help to loosen the bonds within dead skin cells to help shed them away. This leaves your skin feeling renewed and refreshed as dead skin cells are sloughed off. What is also great about AHAs is that they also have the added benefit of keeping your skin nourished by helping to hold moisture. Two common forms of AHAs are Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid.
Glycolic Acid is one of the most common forms of AHAs - it has the smallest molecular structure, making it very effective. However, that effectiveness does come with a cost. It can leave the skin irritated as it drives deep into the skin due to its molecular size. COSMEDIX instead uses a chirally correct version of Lactic Acid due to its comparable efficacy. Lactic Acid minimizes the possibility of irritation unlike glycolic acid.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are oil soluble, making them great for acne-prone or congested skin. Instead of loosening the bonds of dead skin cells, BHAs work by diving into the pores to remove debris. Salicylic Acid is the most common acne-fighting BHA and for good reason! This ingredient is incredibly effective in helping to decongest and fight acne.
COSMEDIX often combines AHA and BHA molecules in formulas to help fight the appearance of acne without stripping the skin of its vitality.