Recently, a viewer asked me if it’s ok to use an exfoliating product with both an AHA and a BHA together.
Those of you who know me know… how passionate I am about exfoliation. I believe exfoliation is the single most important therapeutic treatment you can do for your skin. But something that I haven’t spent much time discussing on DermTV is combination exfoliants. And when I talk about combination exfoliants in this episode, I’m talking about products with more than one exfoliating ingredient.
So… for those of you who are as excited about this concept as I am, I have good news. Not only is it beneficial to use combination exfoliants, but some combinations of exfolianting ingredients can synergize with each other to give you even better results than just the additive effects of two separate ingredients.
Let me show you how and why the synergy gives you great results.
I’ll start with my favorite AHA, glycolic…. the gold standard in chemical exfoliants. Because glycolic is water soluble, it’s very effective at gently and smoothly dissolving the excess dead cells on the surface of the epidermis. That’s exactly what we want chemical exfoliants to do. But salicylic acid, the most common BHA, is lipid or fat soluble so it can penetrate deeper into the epidermis and exfoliate slightly below the surface of the epidermis. Salicylic penetrates better than glycolic, even if it’s not as effective at dissolving the dead cells.
So what happens when an exfolianting product has both of these ingredients? While the glycolic exfoliates surface cells, the salicylic penetrates a little deeper to exfoliate below the surface. This then allows the remaining glycolic to work even better and deeper than it could have by itself. The net result is controlled yet more effective exfoliation than either the glycolic or salicylic could do by itself. A win-win situation, and a more effective exfoliating product to give you even smoother, more radiant, and more lustrous skin…. In addition to even better control of acne, by better preventing and dissolving pore clogs.
So, combination exfoliants represent an important advance in cosmeceutical science, and something I’m a big fan of.