Then a few weeks ago, I was fed up with my skin being bleurgh. It was congested, I was getting more pimples than usual and it just looked downright dull. There was certainly no Jennifer Lopez dewy glow to see here.
On the recommendation of a friend, I tried the Alpha-H Liquid Gold exfoliating treatment, a cult product that promises to improve texture and moisture within the skin as well as decrease wrinkle depth.
Lacking that skin sparkle. Image: Supplied
I applied it, bracing myself for the blinding pain and stinging. Nothing. I waited for the bad reaction that would prove I'd made a grave mistake but instead all I felt was a bit of a tingle. For the first time in a while, my skin felt clean and smooth. The gunk was gone. After a few more uses, I started to get my sparkle back.
The magic ingredient? Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA. Yes, it's acid - but it's nothing to be frightened of.
"Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural acids found in foods. Alpha hydroxy acids include citric acid (found in citrus fruits), glycolic acid (found in sugar cane), lactic acid (found in sour milk), malic acid (found in apples), tartaric acid (found in grapes), and others," explains Australian Skin Clinics National Training Manager, Darlene O'Gara.
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"When applied to the skin, AHAs work by removing the top layers of dead skin cells. They can also increase the thickness of deeper layers of skin, promoting firmness."
The AHA most commonly found is glycolic acid thanks to its ability to penetrate the skin quicker and easier, but lactic acid is also praised for being gentler. Whatever the type, they work as chemical exfoliants - diminishing the need for vigorous scrubbing on areas that often do more harm than good.
Should I be using it?
It's a skincare fairy godmother for a range of skin types.
"They can be topically applied to the skin to commonly treat acne and improve the appearance of acne scars, photo-aged skin, and to also firm and smooth the skin. AHAs are suitable for almost all skin concerns and is a must have ingredient in your skin care," says O'Gara. (Post continues after gallery.)