Last week, I mentioned that incorporating an AHA peel into your skincare routine can be an excellent way of treating problematic skin. When hotter weather makes oily skin oilier or causes (heaven forbid!) sun damage, AHAs can really help.
AHAs are literally THE mutli-tasking wonder of a modern skincare routine; you're really missing out if you're not using them.
AHAs are Alpha Hydroxy Acids. You can read about what exactly these do in this handy post on acid toners. Essentially, they loosen the bonds between dead, thickened surface skin cells and the lovely new cells underneath, leaving you with softer, smoother, more radiant skin. This completely eliminates the need for physically exfoliating the face.
Products full of harsh, gritty exfoliating agents like peach kernels (St. Ives, you have SO much to answer for) are bad news. They damage the surface of the skin, can create broken capillaries (which only laser treatment can eradicate) and don't evenly and efficiently exfoliate the skin.
AHAs are also among the only ingredients (along with retinoids and sunscreens) which have proven anti-aging benefits. They work. End of.
This treatment peel from Neostrata is the most effective skincare product I've encountered in some time. It's not new, but it is certainly worth talking about! A professional AHA peel is great if you can afford it, but they can really add up and only those with a big budget could feasibly have one more than once or twice per year. Besides, skin benefits from regular use of AHAs. A weekly application keeps cell turnover in the skin high and helps to work on pigmentation issues, acne scars, breakouts and the signs of premature aging.
This Glycolic Treatment Peel from Neostrata is a double whammy product. It contains both AHAs and PHAs (Polyhydroxy acids), which are a gentler and more hydrating form of AHA.
PHAs also loosen the bonds between old surface skin and new, but they are larger in size, which means that they work more slowly than glycolic acid and hence cause less irritation and stinging. They also attract water, so skin is essentially hydrated while they work. PHAs are gentle enough for sensitive skin, even rosacea prone skin.
This Neostrata peel contains 10% Glycolic Acid (an AHA) and 10% Citric Acid (a PHA). In the box, you'll find four little bottles of cleanser, four sachets of citriate solution, which is the peel itself, and four sachets of Neostrata's Bionic Face Cream, which you apply after the peel.
The citriate solution comes in a thoroughly saturated pad. This is the process:
- Thoroughly cleanse skin, either using the little cleansers in the pack, or a good oil cleanser.
- Take the citriate solution pad from its sachet, and sweep across dry skin thoroughly. Avoid the eye and lip areas!
- Leave for anything from fifteen minutes to three hours.
- Cleanse thoroughly to remove all residue.
- Apply your chosen skincare - your skin will drink it up!
When you open the citriate solution, the smell will be a touch overpowering. Don't worry! It smells scary, but it won't hurt you. The solution will go on very thinly, but will thicken and become tacky on exposure to the air. Expect a bit of sting but it shouldn't hurt obviously.
You will both see and feel the difference in your skin after this treatment. There are a few things to note about this, however. If you've never used a glycolic acid product before, your skin may react to it. The best way to prevent this is to acclimatise the skin to glycolic acid by investing in a glycolic acid cleanser, like this lovely one from Elave. Daily use for a couple of weeks prior to using this treatment will ensure smooth sailing.
The first time you use the citriate solution, leave it on for the minimum fifteen minutes (unless you're a regular user of AHA products) and graduate up with each use, leaving it on the skin longer each time up to the maximum duration, which is three hours. Use this product once weekly for a month.
Now for the finger wagging - glycolic acid increases sensitivity to sunlight. Use of glycolic acid without sunscreen will worsen pigmentation issues like sun spots and will increase the rate of premature aging of the skin. If you use this product, you need a separate SPF. The one in your moisturiser isn't enough. There's just no getting around it! If you're willing to put in the extra effort, though, you WILL have better skin!
This kit is approx €49.95 and a full list of stockists is available here: www.neostrata.ie/store-locator.asp.
Have you tried this product, and are you a fan of AHA products? Let us know in the comments!