Sometimes, in the skincare world, all it feels like anybody talks about is exfoliating–scrubs, brushes, toners, masks, moistruizers, serums, etc.etc. the list goes on and on.
I’m a huge fan of exfoliation, but over-exfoliation is dangerous territory. Skin can become red, raw, inflamed, and thin which makes skin more sensitive to touch and the sun.
It can be hard to restrain yourself from too much exfoliating–who doesn’t want baby smooth, soft skin every time they wash their face? Exfoliation is necessary, but we must be careful what we’re doing it with and how often.
If you are using several different treatments on your skin, i.e. serums, toners, moisturizers, retinol, acids, etc., then it is important to make sure that what you’re using doesn’t cancel out another product’s function. I, myself, am now using a doctor-prescribed retinol at nights on my face (for acne), so I need to make sure that I’m not combining retinol with glycolic acids, because glycolic will actually render the powers of retinol redundant.
As of right now, my exfoliating includes using my Clarisonic in the morning, followed by Clarins Gentle Exfolliator which contains a small amount of glycolic acid.
At night, I simply just double cleanse, apply my retinol and eye cream, wait an hour (to let the retinol sink in), then apply moisturizer. Retinol on its own will resurface the face, and can cause some flaking or peeling, so it is important to be gentle with the skin when using this ingredient. Once or twice a week I may do a scrub (Exfolikate, which yes, contains glycolic, however, I rinse off the scrub so it doesn’t matter) if my pores are feeling congested, and one night a week I might use Alpha H’s Liquid Gold.
So here we are finally. Onto the review of my two toners.
Clarins Gentle Exfoliator: This is a great introductory toner for someone who is nervous about using acids. It is so gentle, no burning or stinging, and has a lovely slightly thick feel to it. Less watery, more lotion. Lovely.
Alpha H Liquid Gold: This is a much stronger exfoliator, at about 5% of acid. I use this totally alone at nighttime. I know. So boring and plain, right? But, by excluding any extra serums or moisturizers, it allows the acid to work, uninterruptedly. Don’t worry, your face may feel slightly dry at first, but the feeling goes away. It can be used under a moisturizer, but I prefer to let it work to its full potential.
Who knows–this still may be considered as too much exfoliating for one person, but I really feel like my pores get congested easily, and this formula helps to keep breakouts at bay and my skin smooth.
As always, please remember: If you are using any products at all that contain any acids or retinol, you MUST use a sunscreen. Your skin becomes more photosensitive from these products and any anti-aging/scar or dark spot diminishing you were hoping to accomplish will be all for naught if you don’t wear a sunscreen.
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