By Palwasha Khan
I never really thought about my skin when I was younger. I appreciated that it encased my vital organs and veins and helped me tell hot from cold but that was about it. With the advent of adolescence came the realization that, like everything else in life, my skin had issues.
The older I got the more needy it became. What started as a simple three-step cleansing routine soon transformed a chemistry lesson in pimple prevention. I can confidently say I’ve become an expert of sorts, after using myself as my own guinea pig for over a decade, and here is my latest discovery: Acid toning. The miracle of BHAs or Beta Hydroxy Acids as the chemical name goes – lies in a lipid that breaks down the oils on the surface and penetrates deep in to the layers of the skin to remove the gunk that stands between me and my “glow”.
Too good to be true
The first time I heard about acid toning was on a hard core Reddit skin care thread where the debates ranged from pH levels to product types. I was lost. The gist was that acid toning could help remove the upper layers of the skin cells, unclog pores and allow easier absorption of creams. Could this be the miracle salve that would change my relationship with my skin? I had to find out.
The best of the acids
There are dozens of acid toning products in the cosmetic market and in your pantry. I recommend BHA products. Why? First of all, they are perfect for clearing desi skin and unclogging pores with minimum inflammation. Skin cells die and need to be removed by exfoliating. But that doesn’t mean resorting to a harsh granular apricot scrub. BHA’s gently reveals new skin by “dissolving” old skin. Horrified? Don’t be.
It’s not as scary as it sounds
The idea of applying acid on your face is pretty freaky. Except when you remember that almost every natural beauty totka works because of an organic acid.
- Lactic (AHA) – resurfacing, great for dehydrated and dry skin. (Naturally in milk)
- Glycolic (AHA) – stimulating for better collagen production. (Naturally in sugar)
- Malic (AHA) – good for boosting collagen production (Naturally in apples)
- Salicylic (BHA) – best for spots/acne. Surprisingly gentle. (Naturally in strawberries)
- PHA’s (Poly hydroxy acids) – best for those in need of hydration and deep penetration of product afterwards.
These natural acids can reduce the process of aging to make your skin look radiant and fresh. You’ll spot them in Korean beauty products and traditional daadi ke beauty tips. The BHA products are the most gentle and the best way to dip your feet in the acid toning pool. The products will generally get rid of blackheads and whiteheads unless of course they’ve already developed and are mature, in which case BHA can help you reduce their effect over time.
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Three ways to do BHA
To achieve radiant and smooth skin, adding a BHA product in your skin care regimen can only do
wonders for you; however try out different products containing BHA till it appeals to your skin. You can try scrub, liquid, cream or gel formula.
The DIY Powder BHA: For this simple at home facial combine aspirin and lemon in equal ratios.
The Popular Liquid Buy: Paula’s Choice’s Skin Perfecting Liquid is a gentle and effective starter acid toner that will work as a cleanser.
The Natural BHA Fix: Boil some white willow bark extract and apply with a cotton ball.
Remember, BHA products will remove the dead skin cells so it is essential to use a sunscreen to prevent damage.