I love to use acid/resurfacing serum – basically a serum containing a higher concentration of AHA/BHA to help the cellular turnover. There’s the daily exfoliation with the acid toner but there’s also a more intensive exfoliation treatment with acid serum. Usually I incorporate this once or twice weekly or a full week every month. Depending on what my skin need at the time. If I have a really nasty spots I will do the full week treatment. Otherwise I will do the once or twice weekly treatment.
How do I use them? Usually I will do my normal double cleansing, followed by hydrating mask (I have very dry skin so I really need this to keep my skin hydrated), a mild acid toner followed by the serum. I will use no other product after the acid serum to let the serum really work effectively throughout the night. I know there’s some pros and cons letting the acid works on its own, some people consider it an utter bollocks but some praise how effective it is by leaving it to work alone with nothing else in its way. For me, I leave up to you to try it how often you use it and whether you use is alone or combining it with other products.
In fact, sometimes when I need just an extra oomph the next morning without going the whole nine yards I would use one of these serums below in a serum step, after double toning, followed by treatment serum and moisturiser. Whatever works for you, love.
The four acid serums that I’ve tried and loving it so far are :
- Alpha-H Liquid Gold, this is new to my Skincare Arsenal so there’s no review yet. But I’ve been experiencing a positive result from the get go so I include it here.
- Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum, full review here.
- Sunday Riley Good Genes, full review here.
- Novexpert Peeling Night Cream, full review here, and the only one available in Indonesia.
I know some people will ask me about Paula’s Choice exfoliators. FYI, I’m not using any of the Paula’s Choice exfoliators – toner or serum – because when I tried two samples from her products that contain acids, I have a serious negative reaction of redness, major stings and it itch to high heaven. This is not to say that her product is bad but it seems that I don’t bode well with her product.
More about how I use the four of these after the jump!
1. Alpha-H Liquid Gold GBP 33.50/AUD 59.95 100ml
5% Cosmetic Grade Glycolic Acid pH 2.5
HOW TO USE (from the website)
Apply Liquid Gold onto cleansed skin each alternate evening. Moisten cotton pad with solution and apply to face, neck and décolletage. When the skin is touch-dry apply your preferred Alpha-H moisturiser or serum. For an intensive treatment do not follow with a moisturiser or serum.
I reach for this when I have dull skin, spots, I want something strong but not as strong as Good Genes but more oomph in an instant compared to Novexpert Peeling Night Cream. I see that this is better for spots and when my skin cellular turnover feels a little sluggish. Tom Ogden from Alpha-H said that this is like taking your skin to the gym. At pH 2.5 your skin will work really hard to create balance to your skin and help shed those sluggish cell that doesn’t want to shed on its own. I see significant result in dark spots in just a week time and also deep lines. Not that drying but this tingles really badly on me. More so than the others and even Good Genes. At some occasions I have to apply soothing cream after 20 minutes. Which is fine, I still see significant result.
2. Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum GBP 26.00
10% Glycolic Acid pH 3
Cucumber & aloe vera extracts to calm skin and vitamins A, C & E to nourish
HOW TO USE
Massage 2 to 3 drops onto cleansed, toned skin before moisturizer.
I reach for this when I want something milder but I want a better complexion in the morning. Or when I know I’m due for my monthly exfoliation or just weekly exfoliation treatment but I don’t think my cell is that sluggish and they look ok. Just when you think all you need is just that little jog around the neighbourhood to keep your body fit. This is mild. Mildest among the four. I like that this is the most hydrating one and I don’t need to use hydrating mask beforehand. Also, this feels the best when you just want a little bit of glow and to make sure that your skin able to hydrate itself better. Use it alone or under a moisturiser. I chose to use it alone for that extra oomph or this one is great for maintenance to use daily because it’s not that strong.
3. Sunday Riley Good Genes USD 105 / GBP 85
40% Lactic acid pH 2.6
Lemongrass to improve circulation and protect from environmental aggressors and Sunday’s patented NV-5 Ageless Complex to wage war on the early signs of aging.
HOW TO USE
Use five days a week as a serum, either alone or under your chosen Sunday Riley moisturiser. Or apply a thicker layer to cleansed skin and leave for five to ten minutes, to rewind ten years!
A lot of people are hooked on this. When you’re already addicted to this I don’t think Pixi Overnight Glow Serum will do any difference to your skin. I think this is the serious big gun when it comes to acid serum. This is THE GUN to bail you out when you have serious spots, dull skin and your cells are seriously being sluggish. When you’re in an overweight state and you need to go to the gym intesively with a PT every single day. This is the PT that you want to hold your hand.
It tingles on my skin but not as badly as Alpha-H liquid gold. It doesn’t feel as drying but it’s not as hydrating as Pixi’s. One thing about this one is that this is bloody expensive and need I repeat it’s a 40% lactic acid and it’s unneutralised acid that keeps on working at pH 2.6 all night long. You want this, but you don’t want this all the time.
4. Novexpert Peeling Night Cream IDR 495,000
In Indonesia this is easily available from Beauty Box, like I said the only one available here. A French brand which means it’s also widely available in Europe.
Gluconolactone, Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, Papaya fruit extract 10% formulation (I think the entire acid lot) at pH 3.5
HOW TO USE
Apply small dabs to the entire toroughly cleansed face, avoiding the eye contour and sides of the nose. Massage into skin, using circular upward strokes. Only a small amount of product is needed. Every evening as an intensive 1 month treatment. Because Peeling Night Cream is a powerful skin renewal program, we recommend that you discontinue use for 1 month minimum between each intensive treatment
I only use this as monthly intensive treatment for 5 or 7 days straight. Single use with nothing on top of it. I reach for this if I have acne spots or I feel my skin is a bit dull. But when everything is still manageable. I feel this delivers two third of Good Genes result at a third of its price.
Bottom line: I don’t think everyone need an acid serum yet. But incorporating it into your skincare arsenal when you have dull skin or when you’re already above 25 regularly would be beneficial. Start slowly and not too strong. Not only the percentage matters but the pH also matters. Take for instance at only 5% Alpha-H works wonders because of its low pH at 2.5 and even the slightest difference with Good Genes at pH 2.6 it already delivers result.