On Doing Acid Toning Responsibly

I posted an article on daily and weekly exfoliation at Female Daily. It basically laid out all the basic theory of what, how and when of the exfoliation. Since exfoliation, in particular acid toning is the it thing among my friends and I noticed some of my followers in Instagram ask me alot about it, I thought I do a follow up post. Thanks to Lena which pointed out to me that a younger skin might only need a physical exfoliation – I’ll talk more about this below.


Some of these stuff that I talked about regarding exfoliation in general and acid toning in particular are the fruit of research, reading blog entries from various bloggers that talked intensively about skincare and ingredients such as Caroline Hirons and Skin & Tonic, and also from personal experience. In no way that this post (or any other) can be regarded as a professional opinion because I’m no dermatologist – I get paid to preach people on other stuff and it’s legit. So when I write and discuss something, I expect people to take it with a grain of salt and to make an informed decision by enriching themselves with information from various sources before they actually make a decision. Don’t worry the actual post itself is not that lengthy. 

I started acid toning at the tender age of 15. Yes FIFTEEN! Oh those days. My only regret is that why did I bloody choose an alcohol-ladden acid toner! By my 21st birthday, I’ve started to incorporate weekly resurfacer (that is a higher concentration acid that is used periodically, depending on how you want to use it). What I didn’t know at that time was that there’s such this as over exfoliating. That too much of a good thing is BAD! I used the acid serum everyday for the next 2 years or so. During my early 20s my skin is just at its worst condition and using acid serum had helped it regain its strength and glow so I’m just hooked. It’s so good that I don’t want to part with it and I want to use it more and more. The combination of alcohol-ladden toner and too much acid when I didn’t need it makes my skin overly sensitive, thinning skin and I can’t even bear the touch of acid anymore for the next couple of years by the time I reached 25. A mild acid that is not even active ingredient is what I can take.

I tried a weekly resurfacer once when I was in my late 20s and boy did my skin itched and burned. I gave it some more try every month and still to no avail. Surprisingly after I reached my 30s, I felt that my skin is at its best. But the build up of dull skin is getting worst. Lab test that I did several months ago confirmed my suspicion. That the regeneration of my skin is not perfect. The shedding of dead skin cells is not uniform. That is when I realised I really need to get this acid toning business a daily chore.

I’ve incorporate slowly acid toning from a year ago. 

I started small. Clear toner first with no acid or very little that it only acts as antioxidant instead of exfoliant. Move up the ladder with low percentage of BHA – which surprisingly very gentle for sensitive skin. Now I’ve graduated to 5% Lactic Acid! Even my skin is not so squeamish anymore at the touch of acid serum.

My point is, everyone is different. You need to ‘listen’ to your skin and see how it reacts. What not work now might not be the same tomorrow or years to come. So here are some more points.

  1. Chemical exfoliation is good. Acid toning is good. You need it because as you get older your skin doesn’t flake as it once was when you’re carefree teenager.
  2. If you’re not older or old, think about exfoliation as a walk in the park in Jakarta. A thing that you do only once in a blue moon as required.
  3. Younger skin might not need chemical exfoliator, they probably need physical exfoliation more. But that’s not to say that you need to do it everyday! Try once a week first and at the maximum twice. Just my two cents.
  4. Still on no 3, please don’t overdo mechanical facial cleanser. I personally don’t use it because I think my hand do the job of cleansing my face perfectly fine. But if you do I won’t judge but just don’t overdo it. It’s a form of physical exfoliation.
  5. For an even milder physical exfoliation, you can wipe your face with flannel (as the Lady Hirons like to call it) or otherwise known as waslap! This you can do with your cleanser and each time you’re doing it.
  6. What about muslin cloth? I like that it’s thinner than waslap, but it’s also have more coarse texture and don’t you feel it’s abit gritty on the face? I’m still on the fence about this one. I prefer the softer texture of waslap.
  7. Choose the right acid according to your skin need at the time – AHA, BHA or PHA. From my personal experience, if you’re not sure, try the mildest one. PHA or BHA seems to be milder and works better for sensitive skin. I flare up instantly when using AHA.
  8. Don’t just jump into it. Build your way into acid toning.
  9. How much is according to your skin. Again listen to it. The suggested use is twice a day.
  10. Know how to pick acid products! This is important. I saw some 20% or 50% acid content products. I’m not sure how I feel about that much acid power. Maybe you need it? Maybe you just use it for mask? The point is, at the moment, I don’t know yet that’s why I don’t go into that foray. But before I jump into acid toning, I did alot of reading on what and how to choose the right product.

I’ve prepared an article on the pointers on how to choose acid toner on Female Daily. So be on the look out for that post.

As for the products that I’m using and when? That’ll be another post.

On Doing Acid Toning Responsibly

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