Ally E asks…I was just watching a video and it was mentioned that BHA or AHA acids shouldn’t be followed by moisturisers unless the acids are in serum form, otherwise the pH balance of the acid will be compromised and exfoliating properties will diminish. I use my Paula’s Choice 2% BHA gel and follow that with hyaluronic acid toner and cream. Should I use just BHA? That wouldn’t be very good for me, because my skin would get quite dehydrated without my moisturisers.
The Right Brain replies:
Let me start by paraphrasing the question:
Will applying a moisturizer on top of an AHA or BHA treatment reduce its exfoliating efficacy by raising the pH (or, I might add, by diluting the concentration of the acid)?
I can’t find any test data that actually proves this effect is real, but it’s certainly plausible since the pH of regular moisturizers (around 5-7) will be somewhat higher than AHA/BHA products. And, we’ve blogged before that diluting active ingredients can occur if you apply too many products at once.
Wait 5 minutes
What can you do to ensure that you still get good exfoliation without skipping your much needed moisturizer? Until someone actually tests this and proves whether or not its true, you can be patient! According to WebMD, for maximum efficacy AHA treatments should be left on the skin for 2 to 5 minutes. So, if you apply your AHA/BHA treatment first, wait a few minutes for it do its business, then apply your moisturizer, you should be fine.
Image credit: http://s0.geograph.org.uk
Reference: WebMD AHA article