I have been a long time AHA user. Having a normal to dry skin type, I am much more concerned with anti-aging, spot lightening, skin texture, all of which addressed by AHAs rather than BHAs, which are more helpful for oilier or combination skin types (By the way, if anyone is confused about the different types of chemical exfoliants, I’ve inserted some resources right at the bottom of the post). My favourite has always been Sue Devitt Beauty Microquatic Lactic Renewal Facial Peel, which is a lactic acid-based exfoliant, but I have since been unable to find it anywhere on the internet :'(. I’m guessing that the brand flopped or it has been discontinued.
Point is, since then, I have been unable to find an AHA that I like. Cosrx was all the rage a few years back, there is a consistent supply, and so I went for it.
A short and sweet list. Sodium hydroxide may be an issue but various people on r/AsianBeauty have tested its pH to be below 4.0 so we’re safe.
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Water, Niacinamide, Sodium Hydroxide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol
How I use it in my routine
I use once every 2 to 3 days, after cleansing and toner / fermented essence. It is light and slippery liquid, not unlike Chifure Essence (review).
I am immune to any tingling or stinging by this point, but if you are new to acids, they hurt. Like hell. It is like the acid is burning your face off and if you touch your face it will melt off like goo. Also, some acids that are poorly formulated can cause a breakout. I experienced it personally with the Alpha Hydrox (Reviews). Some souls on the internet call this purging and advice you to push through this difficult period following which baby-like skin will follow. Nope. It is as good as telling someone suffering from food poisoning (with the whole shebang of diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps) to continue eating the contaminated food because “your body is undergoing detoxification”. Go ahead at your own risk.
Overall, I rely on AHAs a lot for the daily maintenance of my skin–texture refinement, spot lightening, preventing wrinkles. Cosrx has done a fine job so far. It has done everything that I want from an AHA, with the added bonus of being readily available and affordable.
- Alpha H Liquid Gold
- Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask (Reviews)
- Andalou Naturals BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask (Reviews)
- Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream (Reviews)
- Sue Devitt Beauty Microquatic Lactic Renewal Facial Peel
If you’re new to chemical exfoliants. There are tonnes of good resources out there so I shan’t bother writing my own version when I don’t have anything new to add on.
If you listen to podcasts on your commute or at the gym, the Snailcasts Episode 17 is a great introduction to chemical exfoliants without doing any reading. Hoojoo Beauty also has a great article here. I remembered Skin & Tonics had a science-y blog post, but I can’t find it anymore.