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No matter your skin type and tone, you need to exfoliate. That might sound like a bold statement but it’s an important part of any skincare routine. It gets rid of dead skin cells to reduce the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and acne, and even helps the rest of your skincare work better. But not all exfoliators are created equal. I wanted to try Mary Kay Clinical Solutions PHA + AHA Resurfacer because it uses gentle ingredients to slough off dead skin without damaging the moisture barrier, which can leave skin dry and overly sensitive.

There are three types of exfoliation: physical (like walnut scrubs), chemical (such as alpha-hydroxy acids) and mechanical. We’re talking chemical exfoliation here because even though it sounds harsh, it can be the most gentle option. When it comes to AHAs, each one has a slightly different job. For example, this exfoliating serum contains glycolic acid, which is well-tolerated by almost all skin types. It the smallest molecular size of all the AHAs and penetrates skin easily. Glycolic acid is a favorite for the way it works to even skin tone and hyperpigmentation, reduce fine lines and banish breakouts.


 This Under $40 Exfoliating Serum Smoothes My Sensitive Skin Without Irritation

Mary Kay.

As you can see from the name, there aren’t just AHAs in this serum, which is another reason why it’s so great. There’s also gluconolactone, a poly-hydroxy acid (PHA) that has a larger molecular size and focuses on the surface level of the skin. This is especially gentle and can even be used every day. Finally, the other key ingredient is glycerin, a humectant that helps boost moisture levels. This will help calm any irritation from the exfoliating ingredients.

My skin is pretty sensitive so I’m careful about what exfoliators I use. This one caused zero irritation and I could use it on back-to-back days without feeling the need for additional hydration. My skin felt smoother with less texture and even less blackheads. I’ll have to use it for longer to see if it helps with hyperpigmentation, too. Even more impressive, it’s $38, a steal compared to similar formulas three times the price. If you aren’t using daily retinol and you’re new to AHAs, it’s a great addition to your routine.


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