ALL ABOUT ACIDS
Exfoliating acids can be your skin’s superhero; they can exfoliate, smooth and visibly brighten many stubborn skin concerns. As some of the most well-proven ingredients in skincare, they have the potential to transform skin tone and texture in just a matter of weeks.
At Medik8, we have 3 categories of products and treatments containing exfoliating acids:
Daily Acid Exfoliation
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Before we get into our different acid categories at Medik8, let's look at how they actually work. Exfoliating acids break down the bonds between skin cells to allow them to shed off more easily, helping to stimulate faster skin cell turnover. As a result, they can help to resurface the texture of the skin and minimise the appearance of hyperpigmentation. They can even reduce congestion and the likelihood of blemishes forming, all while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There are many different exfoliating acids to choose from, and it’s super important to tailor your ‘acid wardrobe’, as we like to call it, to your individual skin type and your concerns.
AHA vs BHA vs PHA
So let's meet our 3 types of exfoliating acids: AHAs, BHAs and PHAs. They all have different ways of working on the skin, all with slightly different end results.
AHA - Alpha hydroxy acid. Usually water soluble and work to exfoliate the upper layers of the skin. Examples include glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid - see Sleep Glycolic our true 10% glycolic acid at-home peel, or Pore Minimising Tonic which contains a blend of lactic and mandelic acid.
BHA - Beta hydroxy acid. Oil soluble and can therefore penetrate deep into pores, unclogging blockages to prevent blemishes. Examples include salicylic acid - found in our Blemish Control Pads and Blemish SOS at a maximum strength of 2%.
PHA - Polyhydroxy acid. Water soluble, and are made up of big molecules therefore they stick to working on the top surface of the skin. Examples include gluconolactone - found in our everyday, twice a day acid toner Press & Glow.
So now we’ve met each type of acid - let's get into our different categories at Medik8.
MEDIK8S GUIDE TO: DAILY EXFOLIATION
When high strength exfoliating acids are used every day, multiple times a day, skin can become overwhelmed. Over exfoliation of the skin can lead to an impaired skin barrier and ultimately sensitised and dry skin which is less able to repair itself. To meet the desire for daily glowing skin, we have developed multiple exfoliating acid products that are suitable for daily use.
Starting with the all-rounder star of Medik8 daily acid toning, lets meet Press & Glow. Press & Glow was born out of a need for a powerful exfoliating acid toner that you could use every day, twice a day. Non-drying and non-sticky, this is the acid toner without the ouch: featuring hydrating polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone (at 5.5%) for radiant, glowing skin. Press & Glow is ideal for use alongside your daily CSA routine.
Or if enlarged pores are your main concern, you may want to check out Pore Minimising Tonic. Utilising the powers of AHAs mandelic and lactic acid, the refreshing tonic can be used both morning and evening to improve visible tone and texture of the skin, leaving skin with a flawless base for the next steps of your skincare routine.
Finally we have Blemish Control Pads, designed to reveal a visibly clear, decongested complexion. Soaked in maximum strength BHA salicylic acid (2%), the innovative water-based serum provides effective exfoliation while keeping skin hydrated. Perfect for blemish-prone skins for use up to twice a day.
MEDIK8’S GUIDE TO: AT-HOME TREATMENTS
As we explained earlier, overuse of high strength exfoliating acids can result in a damaged skin barrier. Your skin barrier is crucial for overall skin health. Keeping this in mind, our ultimate guidance on using at-home high strength exfoliating acid treatments is simple - treat your skin 2-3 times a week rather than every day. Remember it is a marathon not a sprint to reach your skin goals; long-term skin health is most important.
Let us introduce our newest addition to our Acids Family: Sleep Glycolic. With an innovative take on at-home, high strength glycolic acid, the hydrating leave-on treatment delivers the powerful exfoliation potential of this AHA in a way that keeps our skin barrier in perfect health. Recommended for use 2-3 times a week, Sleep Glycolic is crafted with time-release technology that gradually delivers the 10% true glycolic acid throughout the night, minimising any potential for irritation. This is ultimate glycolic power, without the downsides.
MEDIK8’S GUIDE TO: PROFESSIONAL PEELS
Zooming into our Medik8 Professional treatments, let's have a closer look at how we do exfoliating acids in-clinic. Chemical peels are fast-becoming the number one clinical skin treatment worldwide due to their ability to go deeper into the skin meaning they can target the most stubborn of skin concerns. Offering the ultimate in skincare results, professional peels need to be delivered in a controlled environment and are recommended for less frequent use, compared to at-home treatments. Medik8 have an extensive range of Professional Peels that are specifically formulated to target different skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone (see Even™ ), or for congestion and oiliness (Clarity™ may be the one for you), or for concerns around fine lines and wrinkles (Rewind™ is our go-to peel for signs of ageing). Delivering visible results with less discomfort and downtime, we take clients on a unique peeling journey, with high performance peeling results with reduced sensation.
Our Peels range features an assortment of exfoliating acids; lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid, gluconolactone, pyruvic acid and lipohydroxy acid. We keep the acid concentrations high and the peel pH low for optimum penetration and results, but with the addition of Time Release Technology. In each peel formulation, we have included arginine – a naturally occurring amino acid that slows down the penetration of exfoliating acids on the skin, causing the stinging sensation to build up gradually and easing the client into the peel experience. We never compromise on experience for results, or vice versa.
12 weeks → 8 clinic appointments → 6 professional peels
Medik8’s 12 Weeks to Wow introduces personal training for the skin. A 12 week programme of 6 in-clinic peels tailored to your specific concerns, combined with a prescribed at-home regime of ‘CSA’ products. Clients are assigned a dedicated Medik8 professional who will guide them through the treatment journey with educational tips, personalised homecare and a unique peels experience. Over the 6 treatments therapists have a choice of 12 peels from our portfolio to treat skin concerns, which can be built up in strength and layered for maximum results. The final appointment is the ‘WOW Reveal’ where clients will be able to measure their skin results by comparing photos taken in their first consultation.
THE MEDIK8 DIFFERENCE
At Medik8, you can be rest assured that we take every step to avoid any unnecessary discomfort with exfoliating acids. When developing our exfoliating acid products in our in-house laboratory there are many areas we take into consideration: careful selection of what exfoliating acids we want to use based on extensive research, trialling and testing different inclusion levels (%) and experimenting with different ways of delivering the acid to the skin (see Time Release Technology in Sleep Glycolic). We also ensure that our ‘directions of use’ are crystal clear, and combine these amazing ingredients with hydrating and nourishing actives to counteract any drying or flaking. We believe that when exfoliating acid use is done right, they are comfortable on the skin and can promote a healthy skin barrier, resulting in smooth, glowing, resilient skin.
|Daily Exfoliation||Daily||Press & Glow||Gentle, exfoliates skin surface only||PHAs (Gluconolactone)||Promotes smooth textured, visibly radiant, hydrated skin everyday with no discomfort.|
|At-Home Treatments||Occasional 2-3 times a week||Sleep Glycolic||High concentration treatment Ideal for at-home top ups||AHAs Glycolic acid||Visible brightening, smoothing and decongesting results|
|Professional Peels||Infrequent||Medik8 Signature Peels (Clarity, Rewind, Even)||In-clinic only, can deliver high power treatments to address stubborn concerns||AHA/BHA/ PHA||Incredible brightening, anti-ageing and skin smoothing benefits Results you can personalise in-clinic|
Top tips for keeping your skin barrier healthy when using exfoliating acids:
Always check the product’s direction of use and stick to them; and be sure to give your skin a break every now and then with a barrier-building hydrating treatment. (See Ultimate Recovery Bio-Cellulose Mask or Ultimate Recovery)
Moisturiser! Following each acid use with a moisturiser can keep skin comfortable and keep the skin barrier strong.
SPF is a must, in any skincare routine (see our CSA strategy). It is especially important if you use acids, as some can leave skin more sensitive to sun damage.
Shop our Acids Family here.
How many leave-on acids can I use at one time?
We recommend choosing one leave-on acid (Sleep Glycolic, Press & Glow, Pore Minimising Tonic, Blemish Control Pads, Glycolic Acid Activator) to use in a single routine - either AM or PM. For example, if you regularly use Press & Glow, twice a day as per our directions of use, and want to use Sleep Glycolic, we would recommend you avoid using Press & Glow in your evening routine where you are going to use Sleep Glycolic. One leave-on acid per regime will ensure you don’t overwork your skin barrier.
What happens when I overuse acids?
Overuse of high strength AHA/BHAs everyday can leave the skin barrier impaired, leading to sensitised and dry skin. If you want to introduce an every day, twice a day acid to your routine, we recommend our acid toner Press & Glow. Its hydrating, skin barrier supporting qualities make it perfect to avoid the downsides of overusing acids.
Can I use a scrub with an acid? Is chemical acid exfoliation enough?
Again, we don’t want you to over do it. Keeping your skin barrier intact is crucial to skin health and over-exfoliation is not good for it. Therefore, we would always recommend to switch out your acid exfoliator on the days you wish to use a physical exfoliant.
Can I use a cleanser with acids in with a leave-on acid product (toner, serum, mask)?
Yes! Wash-off acids are fine to use in conjunction with a leave-on product, as you are not layering upon layering acids onto your skin. Providing they are washed off properly after use, they can be an excellent way to incorporate multi-acid use into your routine. Wash-off acids can be the perfect stepping stone for those hesitant to start using exfoliating acids, see Surface Radiance Cleanse for an AHA/BHA combination cleanse that quickly reveals a visibly smoother, brighter skin surface.
Of course, if you feel your skin does not react well to multi-acid use - please refrain from using both! Top tip; try them both separately first to check they are individually friendly to your skin, before using them together.