Good old BHA. So many of my clients can benefit from incorporating a BHA (beta hydroxy acid aka salicylic acid) into their skincare routines.) Often they’ve told me they have tried it but given up because it dried out their skin or caused irritation. It’s not because BHAs don’t work but because they often cause enough dehydration and/or irritation to make one give up before seeing any results. I too have experienced this. I’ve struggled to find a formula, in whatever consistency, that is both effective and gentle enough for regular use.
I’m A BHA Pusher
Salicylic acid is a great skincare ingredient and that’s why I’m always reccomending it to my clients or anyone who will listen. Oh, and sunscreen. (If you see me in an alley hustling high PPD sunscreen from a trench coat don’t be surprised.) BHAs are great because they are oil soluble so are able to penetrate into the pore to dissolve gunk stuck in there. That’s why it’s often in acne products. It also does a beautiful job of dissolving dead skin on the surface. It’s also anti-inflammatory so is a good exfoliant for those of us with sensitive skin. In short, BHAs are awesome so I wasn’t going to be hasty and throw in the towel just yet.
Could It Be?! An Exfoliant For Sensitive Skin?!
After some pondering and Googling I decided to order a BHA from Paula’s Choice new CALM line. I’ve tried and loved some other stuff from her collection so felt comfortable enough blind-buying this. I liked that it promised to exfoliate but was intended specifically for sensitive or reactive skin. Anyway, when it showed up at my door-step I had high hopes. So did it work? Did it exfoliate my epidermis without making me flake like a lizard? YES!!!
I want to add that I’ve been trying this during winter months, in CANADA, where we here in Toronto have been having record-breaking low temperatures. With low temps comes high indoor heat and skin that’s even more fragile than usual. What fun! So if this stuff works for my sensitive skin in the dead of winter then it gets my vote.
Paula’s Choice site says:
A completely gentle, non-abrasive, leave-on exfoliant that sheds built-up layers of dead skin to reveal the hidden radiant skin beneath. Perfect for someone with sensitive skin who wants to visibly diminish pore size and the appearance of wrinkles and ease redness.
What makes CALM a great exfoliating option for those with sensitive skin is the lower concentration of 1% salicylic acid and the addition of skin-soothing ingredients. Ingredients like green tea gives my skin some antioxidant protection but also works to soothe it. Other skin soothers include licorice extract, allantoin, and willow herb extract. I was happy to see that it also falls within the optimal pH range of 3.2–3.8 which means that it’s in a formula that will support the efficacy of the BHA so it can do what it’s supposed to. Still, though CALM BHA Lotion is for sensitive skin if you are super sensitive or are going through an especially fragile skin period then I would tread lightly or withhold exfoliation until skin is strong enough.
Ingredients In CALM Redness Relief 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant
Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Cetyl Alcohol (texture-enhancing), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (stabilizer), Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (green tea extract/skin-soothing/antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (willow herb extract/skin-soothing), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Dimethicone (hydration), Glycerin (skin replenishing), Lauric Acid (skin replenishing), Sorbitan Stearate (texture-enhancing), PEG-40 Stearate (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Hexylene Glycol (hydration), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).