Chemical exfoliants (also referred to as exfoliating acids) like glycolic and salicylic acid are up there amonst the most-Googled skincare ingredients of all time—driven in part by the single-ingredient skincare trend. While they have impressive benefits for those who want smoother, brighter, and clearer skin, when overused, acids can compromise the skin barrier, leading to increased sensitivity and irritation.
With acids popping up in toners, cleansers, serums, and masks, it can be easy to overuse them without even realising it—and further issues can occur when layering acids with other active ingredients like retinoids and vitamin C.
These days, we’re far more aware of the importance of skin barrier health, and the latest product launches focus on soothing and strengthening skin via ingredients like ceramides and squalane. While exfoliation is still a key part of a well-rounded skincare routine, opt instead for gentle exfoliants that utilise ingredients like mandelic acid or enzymes, and limit exfoliation to just once a week.