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Post in Skincare Aware

Tackling Pores with AHAs

Week 1_Pores.jpg

When it comes to tackling pesky pores, exfoliation is key. Skincare products with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) gently yet effectively exfoliate to remove dead skin, minimize the appearance of pores, and resurface skin, resulting in a smoother, softer, healthier-looking complexion.


Drunk Elephant’s pro-quality T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ is an AHA/BHA mask that improves skin’s texture and tone, while improving the look of pores and fine lines for a clearer, more radiant complexion. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel features AHA-infused, pre-soaked pads that work to combat breakouts, visibly minimize pores, and reveal glowing skin–sans redness or irritation. –Tracy J.


How do you tackle pores? Show & Tell!

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

I love the drunk elephant baby facial mask but hate the pump! I'm not sure if the pump I received is faulty, but it doesn't always push product out. (no problem here, I just unscrew it!, lol)

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

I've tried and enjoyed many AHAs, but Drunk Elephant is my core routine.  I use TLC Framboos nightly and Babyfacial once a week.  I am in love with Babyfacial because it makes my skin so smooth and my pores so much smaller.  Framboos helps keep the results up throughout the week, but I always look forward to using Babyfacial again come the weekend. I used to be so smitten with Framboos and then Babyfacial came along and stole my heart.  


Occasionally I switch out Framboos for Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Peel Pads.  I was using them before I found Framboos and still like to use them once or twice a week to switch things up.  I feel like I get the best results from my skin that way.  


I also like to switch up my routine with the Algenist Bi-Phase peel. It's very effective and makes my skin so smooth when I feel like my skin is getting used to my other AHAs.  It's only for use 2-3 times a week so I have to lay off the others when I want to use this one, but it's definitely worth keeping in my routine.  


I know this thread is about AHAs but I would be remiss to leave out my Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid when mentioning pores because it does the best job at clearing out clogged pores. The products I mentioned above all have salicylic acid in addition to AHAs, but they still don't seem to be quite as pore-cleansing as the BHA liquid.    

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs


Same here. I don't have blackheads or whiteheads. I have sebum/plugs/gunk and my pores are noticeable on my nose because of this. Same thing you are saying. Why I like the PMD is because I can see it (I use it at my windowsill in direct sunlight) 'cutting' away that very top layer of skin covering the pores that keeps the sebum/gunk in.

After PMD, I can with the tiniest pressure 'extract' the gunk. (Sorry, if this sounds gross) The gunk just slides out practically on its own. That is it. No marks or redness.

Without PMD, if I want to extract gunk I need a lot more pressure (to break that top layer of skin) and that is when my face will look 'picked' and red.

Using PMD for a while now I only need to 'extract' like 1-3 of the 'bigger' pores. (before it was just my nose, so it gets better with time) My nose is a lot cleaner because the sebum doesn't get a chance to build-up. I can go like 2 weeks with 'clean' pores.

I think congestion is natural. That little piece of 'pore skin' and gunk (congestion) grows back quick. Like in 7-10 days. Between PMD, I just use an acid. (Luna, DE, peel pads, etc) Then I stop 2 days before I want to use PMD.   I hope this helps. 

You can also read about BHA and AHA on Paula Begoun site. If I remember correctly ( I haven't read this again for like 15 years!) BHA doesn't stop exfoliating and why it is recommended for clogged pores and acne and why they use salicylic acid in these formulations.  AHA stops exfoliating and better for fine lines/anti-aging. It plumps skin and gives it that glowy effect. Paula is the BEST at explaining these ingredients and skin care.  The difficult part is finding a product that works for you! She helps break down the ingredients in her reviews so if something works for you......then you know what the ingredients are and not just go by a 'brand' or 'product name.'  Skin care is complicated!  lol!!!  I like my machines! ;')



Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

@Anewxa  Bummer!  I get the feeling!  Sometimes you are excited to try something and then get to the store only to find out they have like half the line or something.  And, you are so ready to try this one specific product.  

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

@wheeeee yup we dont have the full DE lineup like the baby facial and the sunscreen probably due to compliance issues.. if we ever get the BF then I might just get a sample as well. I think I want to get myself a PMD this year!

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

@wheeeee I love PMD but I'm not sure it is doing much for my pores. I don't have black heads but the pores of my nose get congested very fast. I think it is a gift of oily skin may be?

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

Thank you so much for your post @jemly! That was really helpful. 

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

@Anewxa  Same here!  I have so many peel and exfoliant type products  that I didn't get the DE Babyfacial promo.   But, so many people love and rave about it.........I might just pick up a sample to try next time I am in-store.  Still l-o-v-e their Glycolic serum.   I thought CAN had DE.  Just not Babyfacial???

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

PMD! (yea, I am still a huge fan)  It is a great way to exfoliate and keep pores super duper squeaky clean.  

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

Great thread! I have been more interested in skin care lately esp the peel, aha/bha aspect and trying to learn more about acids. I have used and liked the DDG peel pads very much.. I am so intrigued by the DE baby facial since so many people love this..once I understand more I may try to get my hands on it some other way since we can't get it here in Canada.

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

Interestingly I was suggested by a Sephora Rep to use BHA instead of AHA to tackle my pores. I am following this thread to see what everyone else is using and what is working for others.

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

i adore AHAs and have tried loads. i use a very gentle version every night, as they both exfoliate and help keep pimples away. these are my favorite, by category:


  • for gentle daily but effective use: FIRST AID BEAUTY facial radiance pads (contain both glycolic and lactic; PIXI glow tonic is great for this too, just contains glycolic but is very gentle, in an aloe base).
  • for a bit more of a hardcore push: DR DENNIS GROSS ultra gentle alpha beta peel. don't let the name fool you. this is still a strong peel. it contains lactic and mandelic acids and no glycolic (and therefore 'gentler' by some people's standards as glycolic is an irritant for a lot of people; you just have to know what your skin responds to. some people's skin prefer glycolic to lactic, it's all relative). no alcohol like the other 'alpha beta' peels. this is why this one is my favorite, easily. also contains (as the name suggests) BHA salicylic acid.
  • peel: REN glycolactic radiance renewal mask. whenever i need a bit more than my go-to daily AHA i pull either this or one of my DDG pads out. this is my favorite mask peel, it is sooo gentle, and hydrates as well. i would never use this or the DDG pads on the same day (or same week, really), be cautious of overdoing it.

to anyone reading this curious to getting into using alpha hydroxy acids, some tips: the key to AHAs is that they're great, but not all skins like them. it takes trial and error to figure it out. lactic acid, for example, can bring clogged pores to the surface--if you wake up with whiteheads for the first few uses, that's normal (particularly if it's an area of your skin you've noticed is congested). if you wake up with raised red bumps that are angry and not going away, that is your skin reacting, discontinue use. another thing to look out for is the ingredients list. a lot of AHA peels will tout their acid content, but the acids are suspended in a base of alcohol or alcohol denant; if either of these things are listed on the ingredients list before any acids, be weary. odds are the alcohol content is doing the heavy lifting in the peel process (this CLINIQUE toners), and while that can give immediate results to skin that need a good bit of exfoliation, it can wreak havoc with regular use (disrupting the pH level of your skin). 

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

I can't use retinol or lactic acid.  Last week I started using the Skin Laundry Brightening Serum With Glycolic Acid.  So far I like how soft and smooth my skin feels.  Less than one week is too early to say if it's doing any brightening.  It doesn't burn, sting, or break me out.

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

Love Drunk Elephant Babyfacial...I seriously don't know how I managed without it for so long!  I also really like the ExfoliKate Cleanser Foaming Wash by Kate Somerville.  OH, and the Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is fabulous, too!

Re: Tackling Pores with AHAs

I'm a person fan of the DDG peel pads (the MediSpa formula, the original/intensive/gentle variations, and the retinol version). I also love Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate when I'm wanting something that provides that physical exfoliation element.

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