Chemical exfoliation sounds more like something from a beauty horror story than a skin-care routine game-changer. But as it turns out, it's the secret for getting glowy, post-facial skin—without ever seeing a facialist.
"Chemical exfoliants work to break down the cellular bonds so dead skin cells can be removed from the top layer of the skin," explains New York-based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. There are two special ingredients that make chemical exfoliation the miracle-worker that it is. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for dry, dull skin, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are reserved for more acne-prone complexions.
AHAs and BHAs can be used together if you have combination skin, but you should take some precautions when adding them to your routine. "The biggest mistake you can make with exfoliants is to overuse them, and to use them with other ingredients that can cancel out their effects, like retinols and vitamin C," says Engelman.
Ready for some chemical exfoliation? Try one of the below masks a few times a week, and get ready to glow.