A Beginner's Guide To Chemical Exfoliants For Smoother Skin

If You Want Smoother Skin, Take A Look At This Beginner's Guide To Chemical Exfoliants

There are two types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

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I'm sure there was a time in your life when you used the St. Ives Apricot scrub with the tiny granules to exfoliate the flaky skin off around your nose. But what if I told you there was something that could that and more? Behold, chemical exfoliants, an absolute game changer to skincare. The way chemical exfoliants work is different from physical ones. They use, you guessed it, chemicals to help speed up the process of cell turnover, which is just a fancy way of saying dead skin being shed. They also help to brighten dull skin, smooth fine lines and textural issues, fade pigmentation, unclog pores, and even reduce acne and oil production.

OK, so maybe they're a bit more superior. That being said. if you want to know the 411 on everything about chemical exfoliants and become a skin goddess, keep on reading.

Benefits and products that contain chemical exfoliants

There are also two types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

Alpha hydroxy acids

This is a water-soluble acid, so it doesn't penetrate as deep as BHAs but is great for moisturizing the skin and is still very effective at shedding dead skin cells. AHAs are great antiaging fighters as they stimulate collagen production, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces the appearance of acne scars and dark spots. AHAs are naturally derived and can be found in fruits like grapes. Products that include AHAs will be labeled with glycolic acid, lactic acid, alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid, etc.

Beta hydroxy acids

BHAs are oil-soluble so it can penetrate deep in the skin. This is very beneficial for acne-prone skin as it works to unclog pores and reduce oil production. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in BHAs is what makes them great to put in acne products. Be on the lookout for products with salicylic acid and citric acid on the label.

How do you use them?

First off, when trying out chemical exfoliants for the first time, it's best to gradually incorporate them into your skincare routine. Start by using the product once a week until you can handle using it every other day. Also, if you have sensitive skin, try a patch test first to see if your skin can handle it. Now, depending on the way the chemical exfoliant is added or used in the product, instructions can vary. Those that come in the form of toners can be applied with a cotton pad all over the skin after you've cleansed then followed up your moisturizing routine.

There are also exfoliating pads that give you the best of both worlds and include a chemical exfoliation in the solution and a physical exfoliation via a more abrasive texture on one side of the pad. With these, you can just rub it all over your face and let it dry or some require you to wash it off afterward. Serums and essences can just be pat into the face by putting a few drops into your hands. Chemical exfoliants can also be used day or night, depending on your preference.

One very important thing to remember when using chemical exfoliants is to use sunscreen! Using chemical exfoliants makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and can cause more damage for you to fix.

Recommended products

Now that you know the lowdown on chemical exfoliants it's time to dive into some products to try out!

Toner

The Pixi Glow Tonic is a holy grail for many and there's a reason why. It's an AHA product with 5% glycolic acid that brightens dry and dull skin, giving your skin a glow. It's formulated with aloe vera as well to help soothe the skin.

Exfoliating pads

The Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine pads are also a cult favorite for many. The pads include lactic acid, but the star ingredient is Resveratrol, naturally fermented in red wine and has naturally occurring AHAs. This ingredient is a great antioxidant that helps prevent wrinkles.

Serum liquids

The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is my personal fave and I've been using it for months now. As the product name suggests, this essence targets blackheads and unclogs pores. I also found that it helped to fade preexisting hyperpigmentation as well as quickly fade any scarring from a popped pimple. This essence really helped to clear up the acne I would frequently get on my forehead and it really smoothed any texture on my face. I also noticed the number of blackheads on my nose decreased.

I know, that was a lot to take in. But hopefully, you've learned a lot and will consider working chemical exfoliants into your skincare routine. Try out some of the products mentioned above and witness your skin transform into the skin of your dreams!

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Things You Should Know About Undercuts

Bonus: See the journey of growing out an undercut
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Undercuts are fun, man. They allow you to play with your looks and they can be extremely beneficial to some. But of course there are people who are scared to go for an undercut because it’s shaving a part of your head off. And the longer your hair is (and/or the more attached to it you are), the more frightening it is to think about shaving your beloved locks off.

If you are toying around with the idea of getting an undercut, here are some tid-bits of info that people don’t really tell you about undercuts.

People who can pull off undercuts best are those with thick hair. People with thick af hair use undercuts to take some weight off of their head, and when your hair is down, it looks like you have normal, “I-totally-didn’t-shave-my-head-mom” type hair. People with thinner hair sadly do not have this sort of luxury. If you have thin hair and get an undercut on both sides of your head or all around your head, you might end up looking a tad bit like Gollum. If you have thinner hair but you really want to try an undercut, I recommend only shaving one side of your head instead of both or all around.

If you are genderfluid/genderqueer/non-binary (or anything on the transgender spectrum, really), getting an undercut is really helpful with easing gender dysphoria. I personally had all of my head shaved except for the top part (which I always keep above shoulder length), and it was perfect because I could just put it up or down depending on where my dysphoria was at on certain day.

Undercuts do in fact make you feel badass af. When you look badass, you tend to feel badass. However, do not be tricked that the undercut life is a breezy one (actually, jk, when your head is shaved, it will be very breezy up there). What I’m trying to say is, is that undercuts require maintenance. It can be annoying because you need to get your head re-shaved about every 3-5 weeks. If you end up getting an all-around shave (like mwah), than it can start becoming a nuisance because, if you are anything like me, I could not shave my head myself and I did not have the tools to shave my head and I did not trust any of my friends with my hair. That meant hiking up to a barber shop and shelling out $10-$25 on a simple shave every month (with money I probably should have spent on food). If you stick to side shaves or only one side shave, then investing in a razor is not a bad idea. This way you can easily save yourself the trip and the extra money on getting a pro to renew your shave. However, whenever getting a normal haircut, do let your barber/hairdresser shave your undercut. They may suggest doing cool patterns and such and that is always a fun idea.

Growing out the undercut. Dun dun dunnnn. Because undercuts actually require more maintenance than normal hair, I threw in the towel after four months of having an undercut and decided to grow it out. In university, I’m not picky about my looks like 80% of the time, so the less effort the better. Having an undercut was fun while it lasted, but I did miss having a full head of hair from time to time. I personally thought the outgrow was going to be an ugly, itchy mess. I even bought a wig. I was surprisingly wrong. Fortunately for the most part, when growing my hair out, I actually liked the look. During the middle months was definitely not the highlight of this time, but I got through it and it wasn’t terrible. I really got into wearing hats, though, but it was also the summer time so I could totally get away with it.

As someone whose hair is somewhere below the chin and above the shoulders, as of today, my undercut has still not completely grown out. It has been about 9 months since my last shave and it’s almost done growing. The most annoying part about it is not how it looks, but rather at a certain point it does become kind of itchy. You may want to get the tips cut or the hair on the back of your neck to be taken care of by a professional (if you don’t know how to do it yourself) so it doesn’t bother you very much.

Here are some photos of my ~transformation~ if you are interested in seeing the grow out process of an all-around undercut looks like. Please do not be alarmed by the makeup selfies, they are just photos with good representation of the stages of my under cut.


These first 3 photos were before I started growing out my undercut, to show you how versatile an undercut can be.

This was taken after a month or two of letting my undercut grow out. I was so worried it would look horrid for a formal, but it looked fine.

This was taken in late July (about 4 months into my growout). You can also see how my undercut was around my entire head.

This was my hair down with the growout. You can't tell I have an undercut with my hair down at all.

This picture was taken today, 9 months into the growout. The hair at the very back of my head is longer and needs to be cut. The grown-out undercut is almost chin length.


Like I said at the very beginning: undercuts are fun. If you want one and you are willing to keep up with its maintenance, go for it. It's just hair, it'll grow back, trust me (even if the grow out can be painstakingly long).

Cover Image Credit: http://www.fiftytwothursdays.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PicMonkey-Collage1.jpg

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My Hair Journey After Box Bleaching My Hair

Although it may seem cheap and easy, the reality of box bleaching your hair is disastrous. Professionals, this article is dedicated to you.

nadoty
nadoty
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In 2017, I made the disastrous decision to box bleach my hair that I am still paying for today.

It seemed cheap, easy, and was something fun I could do at midnight. Little did I know, this would be a choice that I would still be regretting to this day. Besides the awful reality of box bleaching your hair, such as the chemicals in store hair dye already being disastrous for your hair, if you don't know what you're doing you not only run the risk of damaging your hair, having your hair fall out, but could also seriously hurting your scalp.

Follow me on my hair journey over the past two years and use this article to look back on if you're ever bored and in need for a change. Wait to go to a salon!

May 23rd, 2017.

Nichole Doty

I like to call this moment the calm before the storm. Back in 2017, I had long dark hair. I loved my hair and was very proud of how long I grew it. This is the longest my hair had ever been at this point in my life, and I absolutely loved it.

July 31st, 2017.

Nichole Doty

This was the day that everything changed. I made the terrible decision to not only box bleach my hair but to add box pink hair dye on the underneath of it. Not only did it look terrible, but it was also an irreversible decision that was made that I would have to live with for the next few years to come.

August 12th, 2017.

Kasey Bauner, (kasey_bauner via instagram), who works at Jay Marie Salon and Spa in Schereville, was able to save my hair in a beautiful way.

Nichole Doty

HALLELUJAH! My hot mess was fixed! Through hours and hundreds of dollars later spent at the salon, they were able to salvage my hair without shaving all of it off!

December 9th, 2017.

Nichole Doty

A few months later, after some length came in, that's when the roots started to appear. After the first glace at the outgrowth, I knew that I would have to keep chopping my hair until the roots fully grew out.

January 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

This was the first big chop I had to do since the box bleach disaster I did to my head. I knew that I didn't want to dye my hair back to its original color, so this began my repetitive cycle of hair growing out, getting a drastic chop, and growing it out again.

July 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

In July, my hair started to show more length since I had to originally chop it. My roots were starting to come in the dark so I had to try and wear hairstyles that would discretely cover how much my hair had grown.

August 31st, 2018.

Another big chop when school started in the fall of 2018. There's something so disappointing about having to keep growing out your hair just to chop it, but unfortunately, that's what I signed up for when I got myself into this mess.

November 29th, 2018.

At this point, my roots looked terrible. From the back of my head, the roots were growing towards the middle. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't see the back of my head so I could gracefully ignore how terrible it looked. Aside from this awful outgrowth I had going on, the color in my hair was starting to settle into a yellow mess.

January 31st, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As if I didn't learn my lesson from the first time, I started to experiment with different colors. I used the L'Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent dye. I will say, though, this really is the most Semi-Permanent dye I have ever used as it would fully wash out in two weeks without any traces of color left behind.

April 25th, 2019.

I felt as though if I added different colors to my hair it would make the roots look more natural. As it did, I do NOT recommend the Kiss Tintation hair dye. This was the most patchy dye I have ever used, although I did love the blue.

May 12th, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As of just a few weeks ago, my hair was a big green mess. The dye would not leave my hair, so I started to panic that I really messed up this time. I could no longer wait at this point as I felt the frantic need to chop my hair.

May 23rd, 2019.

Nichole Doty

Here we have it! At the end of my journey thus far, I have managed to almost have all of my natural colors back! Although there are some green strands still left behind, I am mostly back to a full head of hair being the same color.

Overall, I want this article to serve as a warning to those who are like me and don't think through decisions properly. I'm the type of person when I want something I want it at that exact moment no matter what. My rash decision has led to poor self esteem and issues throughout these past two years. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I'm like you who feels as though your hair is a big part of your identity and who you are as a person. Thank you for following my hair journey and remember: ALWAYS think through big decisions properly and wait to go to a salon to get your hair done!

nadoty
nadoty

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