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What is the best cleanser for your face?

If you have ever had the pleasure, or displeasure of painting a house, you will understand the benefits of starting with a fresh canvas. Trying to apply a fresh coat of colour over top of old, chipping paint is an exercise in frustration. It looks horrible and you are just wasting your money on the paint.

The same can be said of your face. Throughout the day, dead skin cells build up on your face. This layer of dead skin cells makes our skin appear dull and lackluster. It also acts as a barrier that doesn’t allow your skin care to penetrate to the deeper levels of the dermis. It is important to properly prepare your skin in order for your skin care products to have maximum effects. The most effective skin-cleansing agents are a combination of AHAs and BHAs.

What are AHAs and BHAs?

AHA stands for “Alpha Hydroxy Acid”. In skin care products, the most common AHAs are lactic and glycolic acids.

BHA is an abbreviation for “Beta Hydroxy Acid”. The most common one found in skin care products is Salicylic acid.

What do they do for my skin?

Although, both of these types of acids are excellent for exfoliation and as skin cleansers, they act in slightly different ways. This is why it is important to select a cleanser that has a combination of both to give your face the most thorough clean possible.

AHAs help loosen the bond that keeps dead skin cells clinging to your face. This action drastically eliminates the build up of these dead cells, leaving your skin looking refreshed. AHAs have also been linked to improving the quality of elastin fibres, increasing dermal thickness and increasing collagen density. All of these anti-ageing properties will help your skin maintain its youthful appearance. AHA’s can be thought of as the ‘PULL’ of new skin cells, in other words, removing the dead skin cells often allows for new cells to come through. Retinol can be thought of as the ‘PUSH’ of new skin cells coming up to the surface. High strength AHA peels are also used for pigment reduction.

Due to their chemical make up, BHAs penetrate further into the skin than AHAs. This action makes them a good option for people with oily skin or blocked pores. They help to exfoliate from within the dermis. Many BHAs also have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory problems, which help alleviate a wide range of other dermalogical problems. Salicylic acid is one of the best cures for acne.

What should the concentrations be?

Since AHAs and BHAs are acids, you need to be careful that your concentrations are not too strong or you risk irritating your skin. On the flip side, you don’t want them to be so weak that they do nothing. Many of the large cosmetic companies say they have AHA in their cleansers, please check the concentrations to ensure they are actually effective. We recommend concentrations of;

  • Lactic acid-6%
  • Glycolic acid- 3%
  • Salicylic acid- 2%

How do I use it?

Cleanse your face in the morning and at night before you apply any other skin care products. Apply to wet skin and massage for 30 seconds, taking care to avoid the eyes and then rinse your face well. Ease yourself into using an AHA/BHA cleanser by using it every second day and if you need more moisture use our RENEW Peptide Serum or less effective Cetaphil Moisturiser.

By Mike Clague