Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with PSA Skin and Cult Beauty (gifting) and Space NK and Medik8 (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page  for further detail -  

If you want a hard-working chemical exfoliant that's not going to be too intense for your skin; you've come to the right place...

First up, a newer discovery of mine: Skin Rocks the Gentle Acid* | £49. This toner is on the pricier end of thing but cheaper options are coming up later in the post and this is one of my favourites! This toner combines Mandelic and Lactic Acids with PHAs to create a skin-friendly powerhouse. Mandelic Acid is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) with a large molecular structure to absorb more slowly into the skin; as well as its resurfacing benefits, it's shown promising results in terms of improving discolouration and it has antibacterial properties, making it perfect for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Lactic Acid is also an AHA, which you can think of as the gentler, more hydrating sibling to Glycolic Acid. Despite Glycolic being much more famous, Lactic delivers the same super-smooth skin and glow boost without the potential irritation for my skin. PHAs are a class of their own and are often considered the next generation of AHAs; they're hydrating, gentle and have that larger molecular size that slows down absorption and reduces any potential irritation. PHAs like the Gluconolactate in this formula are probably the least drying and least irritation form of chemical exfoliant on the market. Skin Rocks formulates these acids alongside glycerin and panthenol to draw moisture into the skin and help the skin to retain it, which is perfect for neutralising any potential drying effect that exfoliating can cause. This is a well-rounded formula featuring all three of my favourite gentle-but-powerful acids, which is why I had to mention it! It gives my skin an immediate glow boost and clarifies things and smooths its texture without causing me any irritation at all. I like to use this around three times a week.

Next, we have a BHA option for those who want a heavy-duty spot-fighting acid without stripping their skin: the Naturium BHA Liquid Exfoliant 2%* | £19. I often find that products formulated with Salicylic Acid are kind of drying and stripping on my skin; people with dry and / or dehydrated skin break out too! However, this formula is effective, gentle and non-stripping. This toner uses a 2% concentration of Salicylic Acid, which is a really efficacious level, standing toe-to-toe with much harsher products on the market. BHAs are oil-soluble (unlike water-soluble AHAs and PHAs) so can actually penetrate the pores and clear out spot-causing debis. So, they're not only resurfacing the skin and helping with dark marks by increasing skin cell turnover, but they're actually working on active breakouts too, speeding up the cycle so your spots move along faster. This is a simple formula that helps with blemishes and breakouts without any added extras that doesn't irritate or dry out my skin. This is a product I use as and when my skin needs it, though if you lean towards being blemish-prone overall and want this to be your main exfoliating toner; I recommend using this twice a week.

An old favourite of mine is the PSA Skin Heroine Mandelic & Licorice Superfood Toner | £35. This is a great alternative if you don't quite have the budget to stretch to Skin Rocks, and if you struggle with discolouration; it might actually be the better option! It's a glycerin-based formula that combines the AHAs Mandelic Acid (to help with blemish scars) and Lactic Acid (to make it a bit more punchy and effective when it comes to resurfacing the skin). It also contains Licorice Root extract, which is a tyrosinase-inhibitor, meaning it interferes with the hormones that make your skin produce excess melanin following injury or irritation (such as sun-activated melasma or a dark mark after a big spot has healed). This balanced formula also contains Centella Asiatica (Cica), a plant extract with hydrating, soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits. I can use this every other day with no irritation and it's amazing at smoothing my skin and subtly boosting its radiance.

For those with sensitive skin, I have the Medik8 Press & Glow PHA Daily Tonic* | £32. Personally, I wouldn't use any acid 'daily', but this works for my skin every other day. This is the simplest and gentlest of the bunch, containing PHA chemical exfoliants only, helped along with an enzyme activator. It's formulated with skin-soothing aloe and our favourite exfoliant buffer glycerin. As an advanced skincare user, I can apply this alongside other active ingredients that my skin is accustomed to, though obviously you shouldn't try this if you're sensitive! It genuinely does feel hydrating on my skin, and whilst it's not some big dramatic resurfacing exfoliant; it does that cumulative background work to keep my skin glowing, hydrated and feeling smooth.

Lastly, we have a wash-off treatment in the Versed Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask* | £16.50. Short-contact therapy is a great idea if your skin doesn't really agree with leave-on exfoliants. This is a jelly peeling mask formulated with Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic! The wash-off nature of this treatment and the fact that glycerin is the second ingredient in this product (after water) means that despite it containing the stronger acid options out there (including Glycolic, which often doesn't work for my skin); it still fits within my 'gentle' criteria (albeit on the upper end of this category). You apply this, leave it on for just 2-3 minutes (so you can pop it on then brush your teeth whilst you let it do its work), rinse and then continue with your skincare routine (I recommend sticking to something barrier-supportive afterwards). Honestly, this flash facial gives me baby-soft skin that looks fresh and radiant without any of the negatives I've sometimes experienced with products that cocktail together strong acids.

Have you tried any of these gentle but effective exfoliants? Are there any others I should check out?

Don't forget to follow me on:

Read more posts from this series here!


No comments

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment - I read and appreciate every single one :)

There's no need to spam - I will check out your blog if you leave a click-able link under a genuine comment!

If you have a question please check back for my reply or tweet me @jasminetalksblg


© Jasmine Talks Beauty | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig