A “basic” skincare routine generally involves just three steps (that should’ve been ingrained in us by now): cleanse, tone, moisturise. Perhaps the occasional serum, if we feel our skin needs it. But that’s more like the usual skin maintenance – like “housekeeping” – to take care of skin health.
If you’re looking to take your routine up a notch – which would, of course, translate to a clearer, smoother and brighter complexion – we recommend adding an extra step to the basics. Include a product that chemically exfoliates your skin.
Now, before you jump at the thought (Chemicals! Exfoliation! Both together!), chemical exfoliation is anything but scary or painful. It also doesn’t include using scrubs (which may potentially cause micro tears in your skin).
Instead, these chemical exfoliators are mostly products that are infused with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) which help to slough away dull, dead skin cells that your cleanser may not be able to get at.
Common AHAs used in skincare products include glycolic acid and lactic acid. Most of these products are leave-on ones that you simply slather on like how you’d use a moisturiser. The acids in these formulas then work on the uppermost layers of the skin’s, “eating away” the dead (or dying) cells to reveal radiant, brighter, cleaner skin beneath.
For people who’ve never tried chemical exfoliants before, we suggest incorporating just one product first so that your skin gets used to the effects of AHAs.
Text: Chelsea Tang, Her World / Additional reporting: Arissa Ha
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