I have been using BHAs and AHAs for about a year and a half, but only in the last 6 months have I introduced retinoids and vitamin C. I just wanted to share some small reviews of my favourite products in this category. I would encourage you to do some research on how to best use these types of products, such as the order of application and necessary pH levels, in order to be safe and use them most effectively.
⭐ My skin is normal with a little bit of hyper-pigmentation (dense clusters of freckles that form brown spots on my jaw, mostly) and my goals are to maintain moisture, maintain a bright and even skin-tone, and prevent signs of aging. ⭐
|from left to right: The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%, OST Pure Vitamin C 21.5, pixi Glow Tonic, CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix|
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
Because I am very interested in maintaining good skin and preventing signs of aging, my research lead me to looking for retinoid products. The Advanced Retinoid 2% by Deciem's The Ordinary is inexpensive and easy to use, with a dropper and a darkened bottle. Retinoids are supposed to "cause enhanced collagen production, be skin smoothing, and even out pigmentation." I have been using this about 2-3 times each week in the evening for 9 weeks. I have seen improvement in fine lines of my forehead and generally more smoothness in my skin.
Pure Vitamin C OST Advanced Serum
I didn't initially look into trying a vitamin C (L-AA) product because it seemed like a greatly loved ingredient for people with acne scarring, but this wasn't a concern for me so I glossed over such products for a long time. I have some dark spots on my jaw that I wouldn't mind to fade, and who doesn't love smooth and glowing skin, anyway? I figured I had nothing to lose, so I started using this serum. I keep it in my fridge at the recommendation of most bloggers because it oxidizes quicker without being in a cool, dark place. I usually use this at night. So far I have been using it daily except for days where I use my retinoid. I seem to have faded some pesky red spots from a breakout I had in April from just my first few uses, and I'm quite happy about that. It's kind of a nuisance to go back and forth to the fridge and I don't move on to applying other products until at least 30 minutes after using it, but I think it'll be worth it.
pixi Glow Tonic
A very popular AHA (glycolic acid) in the online skincare world. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews and apparently the pH is too high for it to be a really good exfoliant. I still enjoy using it. I love the scent (mmmm, witch hazel) and it makes my face feel smooth and clean. I do find it a bit expensive in Canada for a small bottle, but you don't need much and I've had the smaller bottle since January and I'm not done with it yet.
CosRX AHA/BHA Treatment Toner
I recently discovered that this is best used just before applying actives because it prepares your skin to best use/absorb other ingredients and lowers pH. I like to spray it onto a cotton round and then swipe my face with it before applying vitamin C. It's super gentle and can be used daily.
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
These are the same idea as the pixi Glow Tonic, but they are pre-soaked rounds. pixi actually has a similar product, but I really wanted to try these. I like them because they are convenient to use and saves me from buying cotton rounds on their own, but I would like to try the "Extreme" version which has glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid. These are definitely gentle for more sensitive skin-types.
I would repurchase all of these products and I feel they have really helped me achieve my skincare goals.