If you’ve ever wondered what chemical exfoliations do, why they are such a great step to incorporate into your routine or how to use them, here is your ultimate guide to help you on your journey to clear, glowy skin 🤩.

Its 2021 and if you’re not exfoliation, hunny you need to start ASAP!

Exfoliating away dead skin cells has long been the secret to glowing, healthy-looking skin. But unlike the harsh, gritty scrubs of the past, there’s a new generation of exfoliants that get the job done using chemical, not physical methods.

Many think that exfoliating is a harsh step and can cause more harm than good to the skin, but if done correctly and the right amount, you can see amazing results.

Skincare Graphic

Exfoliation is key for healthy, glowing skin. However physical exfoliants (I.E. Sugar or granular scrubs) are becoming outdated. Being replaced with a new generation of chemical exfoliants such as AHAs and BHAs

Firstly, lets discuss AHA’s and BHA’s – a.ka. alpha – and beta-hydroxy acids— these are the two most common families of exfoliating acids that you will find in many skincare products and they are often found together (basically a match made in heaven if you ask me 😏).

Skincare aesthetic


AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. After use, you’ll likely notice that your skin is smoother to the touch.


Types of AHAs:

  • Glycolic acid:

The most common AHA, derived from sugarcane. It is also the strongest, due to its small molecule size, but that makes it the most irritating, too. The Dr Oracle + A-Thera Peeling Sticks are an amazing targeted spot treatment which uses AHA and BHA to effectively clear pores and blackheads. We recommend using this product once or twice a week after cleansing. Simply swipe the stick in upwards motions all over the face, focusing on any blemishes and on the T-zone, nose and chin area. Allow the formula to sink in for one to minutes before continuing with the rest of your routine.

(Available here for R350)

dr-oracle a-thera peeling sticks
  • Lactic acid:
  • The second most common AHA, derived from milk. It’s a gentler alternative to glycolic acid, and is suitable for sensitive skin. The Shangpree Fresh Peeling Mask is a great product for this is formulated with a blend of lactic acid for mild exfoliation, hyaluronic acid for retaining moisture and herb complex botanicals for brightening purposes. To use, we recommend applying a generous amount to clean, dry skin (remember to avoid the eye and lip area). Gently massage in a circular motion for exfoliation. Leave the mask to work for another 10-20 mins. Rinse with warm water and for best results follow up with the Shangpree Pore Tightening Mask. Use 1-3 times a week as needed.

(Available here for R430)

Shangpree Fresh Peeling Mask
  • Tartaric acid:
  • A weak AHA derived from grapes. Instead of acting as an exfoliant, it is more often used to stabilize other acids’ pH levels. The ECO YOUR SKIN Face Blanket Mask is incredibly as the mask’s super-adhesive properties are like a cozy blanket for your face. You can wear the mask while sleeping, exercising or in a relaxing bath. It’s so comfortable you won’t want to take it off and most importantly it is appropriate for All Skin Types YAY! 🥳. To use at night after cleansing and toning, we recommend positioning the lower piece around the mouth area and upper piece around eye area. Leave on for 20-30 minutes, or, if you don’t have sensitive skin, overnight. Remove gently when finished. Do not re-use. Recommended use 2-3 times a week.

(Available here for R180)

EYS Face Blanket Mask


BHAs, on the other hand, are primarily used for acne and sun damage. These products go deep into your hair follicles to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. Because of these effects, BHAs are most suitable for combination to oily skin. Lower concentrations may be used to help calm sensitive skin. You may also have more success with BHAs if you wanted to reduce rosacea-related redness.

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Types of BHAs:

  • Salicylic acid: 
  • The most common BHA, and also the strongest. However, it is not as irritating as glycolic acid (the strongest AHA) because of its large molecule size and anti-inflammatory nature. A great product is the Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner as it is packed with skin-benefiting ingredients such as aloe and salicylic acid, this toner hydrates and preps your skin to help with the absorption of skincare products in the next step in your routine. To use after cleansing, we recommend to pour a small amount of toner onto hands or cotton pads and pat gently onto skin. Follow with rest of your skincare routine.

(Available here for R320)

Benton BHA Aloe Skin Toner
  • Betaine salicylate: 
  • A BHA comprised of salicylic acid and betaine (a hydrating amino acid derived from sugar beets). It’s a gentler alternative to salicylic acid, and according to a study by the manufacturer, is equally effective. (A 4% concentration of betaine salicylate is said to be equivalent to 2% salicylic acid.)

The WHEN Future Fresh Smooth Out sheet mask is a great product as it is soaked in a light, refreshing essence formulated with Honey Extract and Betaine Salicylate to help gently exfoliate and smooth out dry, rough skin. After cleansing, we recommend applying the mask onto the face and aligning the openings with the eyes, nose and mouth. Be sure to adjust for a good fit and leave on for 20 minutes until the essence is well absorbed.Remove the mask and discard. Massage remaining product into the face and neck. No need to rinse.

(Available here for R70)

When Future Fresh Sheet Mask

Suggestions for different skin types:

  • Acne prone and oily skin : BHAs are your bestie, especially salicylic acid, as they will help treat and prevent acne while slowing down oil production and excess sebum.
  • Dry and sensitive skin: Lactic acid is the best AHA as it is the most gentle but a mild BHA will do as well. Remember to always patch test first!
  • Pigmentation: Both AHAs and BHAs will help target discolouration but be aware of AHAs photosensitivity. If using an AHA it might be best to use this at night only and never skip your sun protection!
  • Ageing skin: Glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids have all been shown to slow down the ageing process and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Steps To Glow Infographic

Combining acids:

You can layer AHAs and BHAs together in your routine or use a product that contains both AHAs and BHAs like the Some By Mi Miracle Range or the Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner!

No matter which acid you choose, it’s important to start at a low concentration and slowly introduce it into your routine. As well as to patch test  before applying the product to your entire face! The key is to find a formula that is the right strength for your skin and works for your own personal needs.

(Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner Available here for R380)

Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner

Some By Mi AHA. BHA. PHA 30 Days Miracle Starter Kit available here for R460)

Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30-Days Miracle Starter Kit

We have an extensive range of products that have been carefully curated for all your skincare and beauty needs. Shop our wide array of products here on our website, on Take A Lot and in store at We Are Egg Cavendish!

Our products cater to whatever skin concern you may have but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us at info@luxeloft.co.za if you would like any guidance in curating and customising your skincare routine!

All our products have been tested by us to ensure that only the best is available for you to try. Whether you are a skincare newbie or a self proclaimed skincare junkie, we are here to guide and assist you on this journey to glowing skin.

Salma Cassimjee

Salma Cassimjee 

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