As our understanding of the science behind skin science grows, the beauty industry becomes more and more knowledgable and adapts new skincare products for us in line with research in to whats best and whats good for the skin. As consumers, we learn that what was once a normal skin care routine, may not actually be what’s advised now, or what products we were using are now not always the best recommendation for your skin type. Not matter what the trend, the knowledge & the industry is constantly expanding and developing.
“Acid Toning” as a concept has been around for a good couple of years now although in reality many products have been around for far longer (Take the history of P50 as an example). The traditional “Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise” is slowly turning in to a 1) Remove make up 2) Cleanse 3) Double Cleanse 4) Acid Tone 5) Spritz… etc, etc. you get my drift. Essentially, Acid Toning is essentially exfoliating the skin, but without physical grains or scrubs which may actually be causing more harm than good. Each to their own, I have many friends that love that scrubby, grainy feeling and that’s totally fine.
If you have combination or fairly normal skin, obviously you are (lucky) able to pick and choose between acid toners and what you feel your skin needs. Those with mild acne prone or oilier skin types may decide to go for an acid toner that contains Salicylic acid (a BHA) and thats because its very slightly more drying than Glycolic. Glycolic acid on the other hand (an AHA) scientifically is made up of smaller molecules. Because of this, they are far easily absorbed further down in to the skin which means its going to yield far more superior results, technically. This is why you may find glycolic in anti-ageing or other premium skincare products.
I have 3 favourite acid based products that I love using. These are,
1) Alpha H, which contains glycolic acid (the most active of AHA’s). It’s gentle enough to use on a daily basis but I personally would use this twice a week and not any more than that, personally. A little goes a seriously long way but my skin always glows every time I use it.
2) P50. A legendary, world renowned holy grail of acid toning. It’s known for strengthening and exfoliating the skin, you’ve probably heard Caroline Hirons rave about this stuff. I have the original P50 version (there’s also a P50v and a P50w) it’s lactic acid based but absolutely no alcohol and no glycolic. I’d typically use this at least once, sometimes twice a week and during the evenings. I must warn you, this product stinks of vinegar! (There’s no alcohol so it needs some preservative). All for the love of clear skin! (Did someone say Fish n Chips?)
3) Next up and an alternative to P50, is the Pixi Glow Tonic. A much more affordable option and available widely. Its a lot more gentle and is easy enough to use every day, again no alcohol. I personally use this in the evenings and on days when I’m not using P50. It is also common for women to be using this in the day, and is gentle enough to do so, but I don’t like using acids or treatments in the mornings just because of the inevitable exposure to sunlight and then having the skin more at risk. If in doubt, use in the evenings.
Overall, it’s advised to keep the epidermis layer (top layer) of the skin on an acidic PH of between 3-4. Anything above this will be more alkaline and less able to protect the skin and fight off antioxidants, dirt, bacteria etc which is what more alkaline based products or soaps will destroy your skin from doing.
Typically, I acid tone and cover myself in serums, moisturising toners and oils in the evening and cover myself with SPF in the day 🙂 I must say though, word of advice and personal experience – I’ve totally stripped (pardon the pun) acid toning out of my life since I became pregnant and there are days when I do miss it, however, my skin recently has been extremely well behaved (must be all the pregnancy supplements!) It is often deemed dangerous to use acids and strong skincare that’s likely to penetrate too far in to your skin and potentially the blood stream, hence avoiding this whilst pregnant just to safe guard any ingredients entering the blood stream and ultimately a newborn baby. I’m not a doctor, this is just my personal thought and own routine!
I’ll be writing up reviews on each individual acid toner as well as talking to you about my favourite moisturising toners so watch this space!
Love, Anisha xx0