I do have a hyper-pigmentation issue ~ I have sun damage (brown spots) on both sides of my face ~ mainly in the cheek area but I have noticed a few big freckles cropping up around my eye area that weren’t there before. I never was a sun worshiper, but I did live in Southern California for over a decade ~ where I cycled, sailed, roller-bladed, hiked and just in general, was outside a lot, due to the beautiful sunny weather. I was also really bad at applying sunscreen, as most sunscreens at that time were thick, gloppy, greasy messes that made me breakout ~ so I avoided the sunscreen. For many years, my skin was fine.. until age came creeping up and the damage I inflected on my skin in my younger years decided to make its presence known … in a big way.
To reduce and lighten hyper-pigmentation, you need to use products that exfoliate and encourage cellular renewal in a major way. I am not talking about a facial scrub, but actual acids on your face. I have tried in the past various treatments ~ vitamin C serums, BHA and AHA by different companies ~ and with no luck. They all would make me break out ~ not in a normal purging sense of a few whiteheads to start clearing my skin of the toxins and gunk, but in a horrible angry way (Paula’s Choice was a major culprit for me) ~ huge blemishes that were painful, way under the skin and took forever to heal, not to mention the lovely PIH that was left behind. I wasn’t looking to purge my skin ~ my acne issues are totally different from my sun damage hyper-pigmentation, so I avoided using many products that were marketed as anti-aging serums and treatments.
I tried a more gentler route using products that had brightening or whitening in their names and descriptions, but to no avail ~ they usually just moisturize. I did find a few lovely products that helped me overcome my negative feelings about actives ~ cosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner (review here) and Melano CC Spot Essence ~ cosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner, at a pH level of 3.9, helps keep my skin smooth and silky ~ it doesn’t do much in terms of reducing hyper-pigmentation, but I noticed that it did not cause purging on my skin and cleared up some blackheads that I had. Melano CC Spot Essence is a wonderful product for me ~ it is life-changing, really. I found this product on ratzilla’s site last fall ~ she focuses on Japanese skincare only ~ and also based on feedback from /r/AsianBeauty on reddit, I purchased it and never looked back. I wrote a full review on this a few months ago and I will continue to purchase this lovely silver tube of Vitamin C goodness ~ it has helped with my newer acne hyper-pigmentation (PIH) like no other product. I have found that if I apply this daily on new blemishes, they not only heal faster, but also don’t get really angry red-purple spots, but just pinkish ones until it heals up completely. Japan companies don’t reveal the percentage of actives, such as vitamin C, but I did do a pH test and it comes out to about 7 ~ I don’t think this is fair, as this essence is full of oils, which a pH test could have issues with. I just know this works for me and based on feedback from the AB community, it works for a lot of people. This has ascorbic acid, vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps with cellular renewal and can help reduce hyper-pigmentation on your skin. This also has Vitamin E, which along with Vitamin C, helps slow down free radical damage. You can read my full review on Melano CC Spot Essence here.
cosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner Ingredients: Mineral Water, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Water, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Lactate, Glycolic Acid, Water, Betaine Salicylate, Allantoin, Panthenol, Ethyl Hexanediol cosDNA.com analysis
Melano CC Spot Essence: Active Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid (Active Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Derivative), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate, Isopropylphenol. Other Ingredients: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Ethoxydiglycol, Alpinia Katsumadai Seed Extract (Alpinia White), Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Thickeners, Fragrances
Taking the Plunge
Based on my success with two products, I decided to get serious about getting rid of my dark sunspots while avoiding a chemical facial peel. I am not a skincare expert or professional and this blog post is based on my research and personal usage of the products. All mistakes are mine own and if you have some better information about AHA’s and BHA’s, please let me know in the comments below! I would be happy to add them to my blog post. You may have different results and with any type of skin product, always patch test first. Try and introduce one product at a time, giving it a few days or even a couple of weeks before introducing another new product. This will help you determine what works for you and if you have a skin reaction, you can pinpoint the product that caused the problem a bit more easily. I just started using all of the products in this blog post within the last month or so and this is more of an introduction to these items and I will follow up with the results in a few more months. These types of products take time to work and you will not see immediate lightening, but my experience is that your skin will feel smoother, more refined and hopefully, less prone to blemishes and clogged pores.
Real Quick.. Both AHA and BHA are exfoliants, helping to go deep into your pores and skin layers and remove excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities, which will help speed up cellular renewal. They both help with hyper-pigmentation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and refining the texture of your skin. They do help reverse damage caused by photo-aging.
AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) are mainly derived from fruit and milk sugars ~ these are the most common using natural sources: glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), malic acid (apples, pears), citric acid (oranges, lemons), tartaric acid (grapes). The two acids that can penetrate deeper into your skin layers are lactic and glycolic acids. You want an acidity of 3 to 4, with a 5 to 8 percent concentration of AHA. The AHA ingredient should be one of the top 3 ingredients in the list and since AHA’s need time to absorb into your skin, you should not really bother with products that will be rinsed off, like cleansers. You should pick AHA’s if your skin is not prone to breakouts or you really want to lighten hyper-pigmentation and tone and firm your skin, as they can stimulate collagen and elastic production in your skin.
BHA (beta hydroxy acids) is salicylic acid ~ which most natural products get it from willow bark. BHA needs a lower concentration, around 1 to 2 percent, and should have a pH level between 3 and 4 to work effectively. Also, BHA ingredients should be in the lower half of the ingredient list. BHA’s are usually less irritating than AHA’s and unlike AHA’s, BHA’ are lipid/oil soluble, which means they can dissolve in fats and penetrate sebum filled pores much better than AHA’s. BHA’s are best for oily skin and blemished skin. If you have combination oily/normal, you can use BHA’s, barring any sensitivities.
My skin type and concerns: oily, blemish prone, aging concerns ~ hyper-pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles. All of the products mentioned here have the product name linked to where you can purchase them. This is my kick off introductory post of my products and I will update the progress and how these worked for my skin in a few months.
Silk Naturals 2% BHA Toner (ph 3.5 ~ 4.5) I rarely use a BHA product as that is more for clogged pores and I do not have a major problem with that. However, I do like to use this as a spot treatment ~ I use a Q-Tip and soak it in the toner, then gently swipe it on and around my nose and chin area, which are my hot spots for reoccurring blemishes. This has a flip cap and it does squirt out product when it is full :( Since I dip a Q-Tip in here, I just twist off the cap and bypass the squirting.
BHA’s help to get into your skin to break up oils and it helps soothe inflamed blemishes. Silk Naturals 100% natural, gluten-free BHA toner doesn’t contain any alcohol or preservatives and uses willow bark as their BHA ingredient, which is more gentle. There is also aloe vera in this product which will help hydrate and soothe your skin and it is full of vitamins, so it is also an antioxidant. This has a slight odor to it, but nothing unpleasant ~ it smells like salicylic acid. So far, this seems to have helped with my pores around my nose and I am hoping that with the warmer months ahead, it will help reduce excess oil and blemishes. This bottle will last me for a while, as I don’t use much of it. Full Size 4 oz (120 mL) RV $11.75
I am impressed that there are only 3 ingredients in here! This is a minimalist toner and the BHA ingredient of willow bark is last in the list, which is proper for a BHA product. This looks to be a pH level of 4.5 to 5.
Description: This is not a harsh super stripper like a traditional salicylic acid product. It’s meant to clean out pores, and remove excess oil. It’s not a super strength chemical exfoliator. To remove excess layers of skin we recommend using our Microdermabrasion Gel, or our AHA Toner for a lower pH exfoliator. Acid based toners are not compatible with Retinoids. Do not use this if you’re allergic to aspirin. Do not use this if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Black Willow Bark Extract
Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner (pH 3.5) I found out about Silk Naturals when I was looking for a good AHA product on Makeup Alley, which is a fantastic resource for thousands of product reviews on makeup and skincare items. I use this on the sides of my face and around my temples, which is where I have my major hyper-pigmentation sun damage. AHA’s help brighten dull skin tones and bind water to your skin, so your skin will look more firm, plump and hydrated. This product uses 8% lactic acid as its AHA, which is derived from milk. It does have a bit of that sour milk scent to it, but it disappears quickly. I soak a cotton pad with this and press it into my skin. I wait about 10 minutes before proceeding my skincare routine. AHA’s will actually remove layers of skin, so I started out slow with this product so that my skin could get adjusted to it. Since I use this on the sides of my face, where I am not blemish prone, I have not seen any blemishes ~ however, that doesn’t mean that can’t happen in the future. According to Silk Naturals, it will take about 2 weeks for your skin to normalize and get used to an AHA. I have been using this product for 3 weeks now, and so far, so good with the lack of purging.
When I started using this product, I used it during the day and discovered that it would be better to use it at night time only, as it is so photosensitive. AHA’s help remove outer layers of dead skin, and when the new and healthier skin is exposed, its sensitivity to sunlight can cause your skin to sunburn. Even though I wear a sunscreen, it just seemed that it would be better if I used these powerful products at night. I do not experience any tingling when I use this product. I make sure my cotton pad is firmly placed over the lid before opening it, as it also suffers from “spitting” at me when it pops open.
Silk Natural’s 8% AHA Toner has a pH level of 3 to 3.5 and its ingredient list consists of 6 items, and Lactic Acid is right in the middle. Full Size 4 oz (120 mL) RV $8.95
Description: AHA’s are available in many forms and most of them are derived from fruit acids- citric, malic, and glycolic are all AHA’s. We use 8% lactic acid with a final pH of 3.5 in ours. Lactic acid is a larger molecule than glycolic so it’s less irritating while producing comparable results. It also hydrates the skin, increases barrier function by increasing ceramide production, and lightens hyperpigmentation unlike glycolic acid.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe Vera juice, Lactic Acid, Gluconoactone and Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Bicarbonate cosDNA.com analysis
Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate I actually went into the Kiehl’s store thinking about another product to purchase and I walked out with this instead. This treatment is highlighting its quinoa seed husk ingredient ~ and claims that it has exfoliating properties that will help cellular turnover and renewal and reveal new, healthy skin. This comes in a dark green glass bottle with an eye dropper applicator. I use about one dropper full to cover the sides of my face (cheek area) and part of temples and orbital bone where I have some new freckles!
In the highlands of Bolivia where communities cultivate quinoa; a revolutionary discovery in eco-friendly skin care was made! The inspiring creation of Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel with the gentle exfoliating properties of quinoa husk extract to soften and even skin tone. Dermatologist tested for safety and efficacy. Safe for nightly use on sensitive skin. Formulated with Quinoa Husk Extract – sustainably sourced from the protective outer shell of the Quinoa seed without chemical alteration and with minimal environmental impact. Its powerful exfoliating properties work to help accelerate surface skin’s nighttime cell turnover process to release dull surface skin. (source)
Supposedly, the quinoa can speed up the cellular turnover rate as it contains enzymes that will exfoliate and it is a powerful antioxidant, full of vitamins ~ such as A, B2 and E ~ minerals, peptides and amino acids. Now, Kielh’s claims that they did a study that proved this product worked just as well or better than a 20% glycolic peel and without irritation. This has exfoliators such as sugar maple extract and sugar cane extract, along with antioxidant ingredients as vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) and aloe vera. However, this product does contain a lot of citrus extracts, so if you are sensitive to citrus, you might wish to walk away from this product.
This has a light bitter scent, but it isn’t very powerful. This is a light watery liquid and it dries quickly, but leaves my skin tacky where I apply it. I usually let it dry for about 10 minutes before going onto my next skin care product. This does sting a little bit and it has a pH level of 4.5 to 5, so this is a bit high for an AHA. My skin does feel much smoother, softer and refined ~ I’ve been using this product for a month now, 3 times a week. Full Size 1 oz RV $54.00
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat., Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Sodium Citrate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract / Sugar Cane Extract, Glycerin, Propanediol, Phytic Acid, Carrageenan, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Water / Orange Fruit Water, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract / Lemon Fruit Extract, Disodium Edta, Acer Saccharinum Extract / Sugar Maple Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Juice / Orange Juice, Sodium Benzoate, Ascorbyl Glucoside cosDNA.com analysis
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment I received a sample of this product in my April 2016 Sephora Play! box and I decided to purchase a special kit at Sephora that is really a bargain ~ it contains 1/2 oz of the Luna Sleeping Night Oil (which I will review in the future) and a 1/2 of of the Good Genes product ~ these sizes are 1/2 the size of the full sized product and this kit is $78.00 ~ a fantastic deal as the full sized items are $105. 00 each. This is a very moisturizing and hydrating light-weight cream and it uses lactic acid as its AHA ingredient. The pH level on this product is around a 3, so it is very acidic and quite powerful ~ it might be too irritating for some people. This has a handy pump applicator and it dispenses enough product to cover one side of my face with one pump, so I use about 2 pumps. I do notice when I apply this product, there is some slight tingling on parts of my face. That sensation goes away quickly and I do not experience any other negative side effects (so far). This absorbs quickly into my skin with no tacky residue.
This contains 5% lactic acid, which will help brighten your skin and fade hyper-pigmentation, pump your skin, exfoliates dead skin cells, and aids and supports in the production of collagen. Lactic acid is also a humectant, so it will help attract and bind moisture to your face, which is why is it so moisturizing. It also contains lemongrass and licorice to help brighten your skin tone and aloe vera for moisturization and soothing. This product is cruelty free and free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates. You can use this during your daytime routine, but I have switched it to my night time routine instead. This does have a sour milk/lemongrass citrus scent to it ~ it is a strange mix, but it isn’t that bad! I use this nightly. Full Size 1 oz RV $105.00
Description: This high potency, purified grade lactic acid instantly corrects dullness, plumps the look of lines, and exfoliates the skin. With continued use, the appearance of stubborn hyper-pigmentation, imperfections, and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthy-looking complexion. Enhanced with licorice for brightening, Good Genes helps to clarify for immediate, smooth radiance. It can be applied under foundation for even application and a non-oily finish.
Ingredients: Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyses Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PPG-12/Smdi Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol And Ceteareth20, Glyceryl Stearate And PEG-100 Stearate, Arnica Montana (Flower) Extract, PEG-75 Meadowfoam Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Triethanolamine, Xantham Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, DMDM Hydantoin cosDNA.com analysis
Here’s the thing about actives ~ they are a gift and a curse. You use them to reduce hyper-pigmentation damage and yet, they increase your skin to photo-sensitivity, hence potentially causing more damage to your skin via UV rays. Which will happen if you do not wear sunscreens. Every single actives product worth their salt states to wear sunscreen while using their products and even then, I am saying you should always wear sunscreen. Always. Always. I learned my lesson and if I could go back in time and talk to my past younger, carefree self about the damage I was inflicting on my skin, I would. But I don’t own a TARDIS, so I cannot. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF15 ~ I actually will do out on a limb and say 30 and over is better. And make sure you have both UVA and UVB protection
I’ve mentioned this before when I have reviewed sunscreens, but I do think this is handy information to know. We all know what SPF rating means, but what does PA stand for? I am very familiar with SPF (sun protection factor) and that it ranks based on protection from UVB :: ultraviolet B (shortwave) rays. But the PA rating is something newish to me, and I really notice it on Asian sunscreens, not so much American brands. PA is the amount of protection the sunscreen offers from UVA :: ultraviolet A (long-wave) rays. PA ranks with + signs and the higher the + signs, the more protection you will get from UVA rays.
UVB is what causes sunburns and reddened skin and has direct links to cancer. UVA is what causes us to tan, and age ~ wrinkles and deep lines are caused by UVA exposure. A really fantastic article about ultraviolet rays and how they affect our skin can be found here at the Skin Cancer website and I highly recommend reading it. One thing I have learned is that a broad spectrum sunscreen is the proper choice as it will help deflect the UV rays and not allow them to penetrate into your skin layers.
TL;DR: You need to wear them. Don’t skimp on this step.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ (Japan) I wanted to expand my options on sunscreen as I was beefing up my AHA/BHA routine and knew I needed to have a slew of sunscreens on hand. I did a quick search on ratzilla’s online site again to see what sunscreens she liked ~ I really trust her judgement on Japanese skin products and she reviewed this product from Biore (review here) This sunscreen is so popular that even some of my friends know about it, and they aren’t into Asian skincare ~ go figure! I am the last to know ~ haha. This sunscreen is fantastic for oily skin types ~ its texture reminds me very much of Peripera Ice Jelly Sun SPF 30 PA++, which is now discontinued (and I haz sad when they got rid of it..)
The texture is very lightweight and it doesn’t even resemble a sunscreen ~ it is watery and absorbs quickly, like a serum or essence. It has an alcohol scent initially, but that disappears quickly and as it dries, it leaves a cooling sensation, which is due to the alcohol in this product, I am sure. I love this sunscreen as it really doesn’t add much more time to my morning skincare routine as it is fast drying. I just slap this on and within a minute, I can add my foundation. No tacky residue, no white cast and you would never know that you ever put this product on your face! This does have alcohol and tons of citrus extracts in it, so again, if you are sensitive to these types of ingredients, you shouldn’t try this. For me, however, this is a fantastic sunscreen and I am now eager to try more Japanese sunscreens as they seem to not be thick goopy messes! This is SO affordable too ~ 2 packs at Amazon for under $20.00. This will be a repeat purchase for me! Full Size 50 mL (why are Asian sunscreens so SMALL??) RV $8.07 I found a larger size at 85g!! That is under $18.00 at Amazon
Update: There are two versions of this sunscreen out on the market ~ I am focusing on the ++++ version, which is more expensive than the +++ version. They both get rave reviews. So, I had linked to the wrong version initially, but have corrected that and the pricing information. If you would like to try the +++ version, you can purchase the 2 packs for under $20.00 at Amazon here.
Ingredients: water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethanol,lauryl methacrylate/sodium methacrylate crosspolymer, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, ethylhexyl triazone,dimethicone, xylitol, trisiloxane, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dextrin palmitate,glyceryl stearate, C30-45 alkyl methicone, agar, C30-45 olefin, potassium hydroxide, carbomer, polyvinyl alcohol, PEG-400, PEG-50 hydrogenated castor oil triisostearate, PEG-3 castor oil, sodium hydroxide, butylene glycol, propylene glycol, sodium hyaluronate, royal jelly extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA,BHT, fragrance cosDNA.com analysis
cosRX Aloe Soothing Suncream SPF 50+ PA+++ (Korea) I do love cosRX products and I reviewed several of their aloe products last summer ~ they were so lovely that I decided to try their sunscreen in this line. This sunscreen is much more weighty than the Biore ~ this reminds me of a creamy moisturizer, with a faint floral scent ~ I was hoping for an aloe vera scent, but nope. It absorbs quickly, without a tacky or greasy residue and no white cast, doesn’t cause me to break out… but it does leave my face dewy. This makes this sunscreen difficult to work with when I have to apply foundation over it, as I have to wait a while or use blotting papers to dampen down the dew. I think this sunscreen is perfect for exercising outside, going to the beach and other activities that doesn’t require foundation and a full “face”. It isn’t waterproof, so I would have to apply it more often. It probably would be better for me in the wintertime, when the air is drier and the dewiness would be welcomed. This contains 5,500 ppm of aloe vera, and it is very moisturizing and hydrating. I would say if you have combination skin, you would enjoy this sunscreen very much ~ it does contain alcohol, so please make note of the ingredients list if you have sensitive skin. Full Size 50mL RV $15.00
Description: It offers superior sun protection, soothes skin to prevent redness, heals and moisturizes – COSRX’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is specially formulated with Aloe Vera as its main ingredient. It is rich in nutrients beneficial for the skin’s overall improvement and completely blocks UVB and UVA to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun. With its natural ingredients, this sun cream also hydrates for a smoother, softer skin texture. The formulation is non-sticky and oil free which makes it long lasting and convenient to use.
Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol, Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isoamyl P-Methoxycinnamate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Alcohol, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, C14-22 Alcohols, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract (5500ppm), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-100 Stearate, Silica, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA cosDNA.com analysis
How I Use Them (what’s the order?)
I have two different routines right now and this is the general order in which I use the above products. I am currently testing different items, so that is why I am not being specific on the non-acids in my skincare routine.
- Morning: cosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner –> Regular Toner –> Silk Naturals 2% BHA Toner –> Serum/Essence –> Moisturizer –> Sunscreen Spot Treatment: Melano CC Spot Essence
- Evening: Cleansing Water –> Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner –> Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate –> Sunday Riley Good Genes –> Serum/Essence –> Moisturizer –> Sleep Pack Spot Treatment: Melano CC Spot Essence
I do not use Kiehl’s nightly ~ but only 3 times a week. Obviously, depending on blemishes and oiliness, I might use additional products to combat those issues and I do use eye creams. I will get a photo of my sides of my face so you can see where I started from and where I ended up. I have this one, from last winter, which pretty much is my face now, but I would like to take a better photo.
I will update this blog post with a more recent one when I get it. In a few months, I will review how these products worked for me. Do you use actives/acids? What products are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below as I am really interested in reading what works for you.
[ all products purchased by me. descriptions in italics from linked product pages ]
[ this blog post contains affiliate links ]