Scared of Skincare Acids? Let Me Tell You Why This PHA Toner Will Be Your New Best Friend

Medik8 Press & Glow PHAMedik8 Press & Glow PHA

We ALL want glowing skin, right?

You know what I’m talking about - skin that looks like you eat clean 24/7 and get 15 hours of sleep a night.

But did you know, the secret to radiant skin doesn’t lie in your highlighter pan? It actually starts with two words: chemical exfoliation.

Using a chemical exfoliant packed with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and/or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) is a one way ticket to glow city... unless you have sensitive skin that becomes red, itchy, hot and sore to touch after using acids.

But in excellent news, there's a new family of acids that give glowy skin, without irritation or sensitivity.

They're called PHAs and you'll find them in a buzzy new skincare product.

But what are PHAs? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about this sensitive skin chemical exfoliant, and my review of the new PHA toner you're going to want to get on your face immediately.

What Is Chemical Exfoliation Again?

Medik8 Press & Glow PHAMedik8 Press & Glow PHA

Here's a quick refresher on chemical exfoliation and why it's necessary for skin so bright, you'll need sunnies to look in the mirror.

Our face naturally sheds dead skin cells, but as we age, our cellular turnover rate slows down. In our 20s, our skin sloughs off debris every 14-21 days, but by the time we hit our 50s, it can take anywhere from 60-90 days for our skin to renew and regenerate.

That’s why, sometimes, we need just a little bit of help. This is where your chemical exfoliant comes in.

Chemical exfoliation uses acids to remove the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt and sebum (oil) within our pores. With regular use, you’ll notice minimised pores, improved texture, a bounce and radiance to your skin and fewer breakouts.

Types of Chemical Exfoliation.

To AHA or BHA? That is the question. Here's a simple breakdown of the main types of skincare acids and what they do:

What Are AHAs? 

  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are a group of water soluble acids naturally found in fruit, milk, and sugarcane.

  • AHAs = glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and malic acid.

  • AHAs work on the surface layers of the skin, but can cause irritated and inflamed skin, particularly if you’re prone to sensitivity. 

What Are BHAs?

  • BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are oil soluble acids best for acne-prone skin.

  • The most common BHA is salicylic acid.

  • BHAs can penetrate deeper into the skin to break down oil and sebum clogging pores.

You can find out more about exfoliation in our YouTube video below!

Chemical Exfoliation for Sensitive Skin - What Are PHAs?

As mentioned, AHAs and BHAs like glycolic acid and salicylic acid aren't always great for those with sensitive skin.

Enter, PHAs (aka poly hydroxy acids).

Known as the gentler cousins of AHAs, PHAs do all the same good things (strengthen the skin’s barrier function, fight signs of ageing, refine your skin texture), without the irritation of your standard AHA.

This is because PHAs have a larger molecular structure, meaning it takes them longer to penetrate the skin. They’re also drawn to moisture, leaving your face supple and soft.

Best Skincare Products With PHAs.

Now we all know what PHAs are and why they're great at chemical exfoliation for sensitive skin, let's talk about the best PHA products.

There aren't actually that many PHA chemical exfoliants around, which is why this product I'm about to tell you about it so bloody exciting.

Friends, meet Medik8 Press & Glow 200ml - a dedicated PHA toner.

Medik8 Press & Glow PHAMedik8 Press & Glow PHA

As soon as I saw this product pop up on Adore Beauty, it was in my cart and on its way to my home faster than you can say PHA.

Harnessing the power of gluconolactone (a high-performing water-soluble PHA) and prickly pear extract, the formula guarantees to leave you with a year-round glow. It's gentle enough to use every day and on the most sensitive of skins, and contains aloe vera and acai extract to protect against free radicals and seal in hydration.

I'm obsessed with Medik8 products (their Vitamin C serum has changed my life), but could this product live up to its promise?

My Medik8 Press & Glow PHA Tonic Review.

Medik8 Press & Glow PHA reviewMedik8 Press & Glow PHA review

Alright, let’s get stuck in.

A bottle of Medik8 Press & Glow 200ml will set you back $55 for 200ml.

Upon first application, I noticed a few things:

  • The toner comes in a pump pack that easily disperses the product onto a cotton round.

  • The product also comes in aMedik8 Press & Glow Refill 200ml because the packaging has been designed to be re-used up to five times. If that isn’t clever packaging, I don’t know what is. 

  • The liquid itself is runny – but not too watery. Bonus: It’s not sticky either.

  • I'd describe the scent as a cross between aloe vera and pear. It’s subtle but fragrant. 

Medik8 Press & Glow PHAMedik8 Press & Glow PHA

Unlike AHA chemical exfoliant products I've tried before that leave my face tingling for hours, the Medik8 Press & Glow 200ml has a cooling effect on the skin.

After using, there was no redness to be found, instead my complexion felt refreshed.

A few hours later, I caught a glimpse of my skin in the mirror and the glow I saw sold me. I'm officially a PHA convert. 

Medik8 Press & Glow PHAMedik8 Press & Glow PHA

If you're wondering where this product fits into your routine, I apply on cleansed skin at night before serums and moisturiser.

Those with sensitive skin can use this product as their main source of chemical exfoliation, while others with sturdier skins can rotate it in and out with other products.

For example, I use glycolic acid and BHA products during the week, before switching to Medik8 Press & Glow 200ml on a Saturday night.

Sunday night is my retinol night, so the PHA toner is gentle enough to give me the exfoliation I need, smart enough to play well with my Vitamin A, and nice enough to leave me glowing from every (selfie) angle. 

So, get yourself acquainted with this gentle acid and thank me for it later. It’s truly a game changer.

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