Ingredient Spotlight: Botanical AHA

AHA (alpha hydroxyl acids) are an essential part of our exfoliating routines. They are great. They help to make your skin bright, treat acne, reduce hyperpigmentation and redness. But they also can lead to over exfoliating, irritation and damaged protective barrier. 

So, what’s the alternative?

Some skin types react better to enzymes derived from papaya or pineapple, which provide similar effect to AHA, but not quite. But the recent kid on a k-beauty block has been flower acids – milder, gentler versions of AHAs. They’re taking beauty world by storm, it’s efficacy being backed by a growing body of research. In fact, it’s so good that we formulated our newest toner – All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner with it! So today we wanted to talk about flower-derived AHA, what it is, why it’s good and address a common question that people always ask – if it’s so mild, will it do anything for the skin? Continue reading to find out. 

What is flower AHA?

First, what is flower AHA? While the majority AHA have natural origins, flower AHA – as the name clearly indicates – is derived from flowers. It can be just one type of flower or several.

Let’s start with one type.

Hibiscus flower extract is the most popular form of naturally-derived AHA. For centuries, hibiscus has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties and used in teas and health cocktails. But it turned out, hibiscus extract has impressive skin benefits. Specifically, it contains malic acid and citric acid that gently exfoliates and brightens as well as helps with hyperpigmentation and improves overall skin clarity. While it’s a very mild acid, it still provides same benefits as conventional AHA and even helps to repair UV damage. 

Now, onto the blend.

Some products may contain an AHA blend derived from several flower extracts, In case of our All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner these are:

  • Hibiscus
  • Viola
  • Rosehip
  • Celosia

In addition to Hibiscus benefits, Viola extract helps the skin to look and feel younger by providing essential vitamins and minerals. Rosehip extract clarifies and Celosia extract has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties as well as the ability to strengthen skin barrier and stimulate cell growth. Flower power? It sure is.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Needless to say that when compared to conventional AHA’s flower acids were found to be more gentle on the skin, more hydrating, provide greater cellular renewal and even reduce appearance of wrinkles by inhibiting breakdown of elastin and boosting production of hyaluronic acid. Gentler nature of flower acids also means it has wider usage – extracts can be added into skincare products we use daily – such as toners or lotions without risking to damage the skin.

Will it do anything for my skin? 

One of the common questions that people ask after learning about flower AHAs is – well, if it’s that gentle, will it actually do anything for my skin? The question comes from an outdated belief that the product (especially exfoliating product, which acids are) must give a burning or stinging sensation as an indicator of a product doing its job. But that just isn’t true. Stinging feeling means that your protective skin layer is being thinned out (at best) or even destroyed all together. Even though strong AHA peels might give you an instant satisfaction of brighter (when redness goes away) and smoother skin, stressing your skin regularly can easily backfire in the years to come.

The bottom line. We strongly believe that the best way of going around skincare is being gentle. Less is always more. That’s why we always recommend to opt for milder products suitable for daily use – it’s an indicator that AHA in that product is very mild and percentage is relatively low. Instead of harsh exfoliators, try gentle products with acids and use them consistently. At the end of the day, incremental changes add up and with diligence and patience, you’ll notice healthier, clearer and brighter skin emerge. 

All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Meet the newest member of MOTHER MADE family – All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner. This product has been in the works for the longest time, and we couldn’t be happier to drop the curtain finally.

What it is

As the name tells you, it’s a toner. But we like to think that it’s a bit more special than a regular toner. Here’s why.

The toner is called “all green” for a good reason. First, instead of regular water, we went for green tea water, so your skin gets maximum benefits that this amazing ingredient has to offer. “Green” also refers to the overall concept of this product – entirely plant-based, non-irritating, and ultra-soothing. Needless to say, there isn’t any added fragrance (natural or synthetic) or artificial dyes. The toner has a warm, brownish color (like a brewed cup of tea would) and a very faint green tea scent that doesn’t linger.

But the “green” concept isn’t the only thing that sets our toner apart. It’s full of proprietary botanical AHA and PHA blends and herbal complexes that aim to do one thing – calm down skin redness and stress caused by breakouts, active acne, or post-acne scars.

Why we made it

Toner is a tricky product. It isn’t essential per se, but often we feel like our routines aren’t complete without a right toner. And fair enough. Toner does a necessary job of providing your skin with the first layer of hydration and soothing effect to replenish moisture loss and combat any skin redness or irritation. Depending on how toner is used, it also serves as an extra cleansing step to ensure all makeup, dirt, and grime is gone and exfoliate just a tiny little bit to maintain healthy skin texture for longer. What we’ve noticed over the years, that it’s extremely hard to find a multitasking toner like so that’s also suitable for daily use. The majority of toners with AHA/BHA are too strong to be used daily, and hydrating toners often feel like they don’t do much.

That is how the idea for our toner was born.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

What it will do for your skin

The result is a perfectly balanced toner that genuinely does it all. It has a thick, almost essence-like texture that feels very rich and nourishing on the skin. Thanks to a 6-sprout skin-soothing complex and mild botanical AHA and PHA blends, the toner helps to calm down redness and provide a very gentle exfoliating effect, just enough to not let any harmful bacteria accumulate and grow. We didn’t have any specific skin type in mind when developing the formula. Instead, we aimed to solve a particular skin concern. Oily or dry or combo, if your skin gets red and irritated easily and/or struggles with acne and breakouts from time to time, this will make for a perfect daily toner that will help to minimize and prevent all the concerns mentioned above.

And that was All Green Tea-rouble-away toner at a glance! We’ll be doing an in-depth overview of ingredients, packaging, recycling, and using the toner in the future blog posts.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Hope to see you again!

Stay nourished and hydrated.

With love,

MOTHER MADE team.

Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation – which one is right for your skin?

Exfoliating is an essential step in our skincare routines that helps to keep skin healthy. Not only does it have an instant benefit of cleaning pores, smoothing, and brightening your skin. It also allows serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers to absorb better and work more effectively. But with so many exfoliating products now available on the market, which one to choose? 

There’re two main types – acids (think AHA, BHA, PHA), a.k.a. chemical exfoliants in a liquid form (they look like toners) and scrubs – cream- or gel-like products with microbeads or other grainy substances. 

Chemical exfoliants sink deep into the skin, where acids work hard to unstick the cellular glue and remove dead cells. Physical exfoliants do mostly the same process – breaking the bonds between healthy and dead cells. But instead of “melting” the dead cells, scrubs work to buff them away mechanically. 

These days beauty world tends to favor chemical exfoliants and demonize physical scrubs, but we believe there are a time and place for both in our routines. The argument here is that traditional scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin, which can lead to infection and breakouts. However, beauty science has come a long way, and there’re plenty of physical exfoliants like peeling gels or gommage peels that are very gentle on the skin. Which one to choose, however, will heavily depend on your skin type/ concerns, what type of exfoliation you’re looking for, season, and many other factors. You might prefer one over the other or successfully combine both. 

So, how to choose the right one? 

Chemical exfoliators.

This category includes different acids (AHA, BHA, etc.) as well as enzyme extracts (papaya, pineapple). This an excellent choice for warmer months when your skin gets oilier and needs to be exfoliated regularly. Most have very gentle formulas that can be used daily (or every other day) to maintain a healthy, clear complexion. 

BHA is better suited for people with oily skin, congested pores and blackheads while AHA and PHA help with redness and breakouts. Enzyme extracts are gentler than acids can be a great alternative to people with extra sensitive skin.  

The drawbacks. Chemical exfoliants are not great at helping with skin texture issues. Nor will they be of much use if you have dry, parched skin that needs to be buffed away manually. That said, for people with scrub-sensitive skin, chemical exfoliating products are an excellent choice. 

Physical exfoliators.

As briefly mentioned above, this is a broad category that includes everything from professionally done microdermabrasion to traditional scrubs to peel gels.  Scrubs usually contain small-sized particles (most popular are coffee, salt, sugar, etc.) that help to remove the dead cells from your skin manually. These are not the best to use on your face where the skin is delicate. But that’s not to say they can’t be. If your skin loves the post-scrub feeling and doesn’t feel sensitized or irritated – by all means, use it. Just make sure not to rub too hard. Apply little pressure, and that would be more than enough to reveal that silky-smooth new skin that was buried underneath. 

Peel gels (or gommage peels) are considered the mildest and the least abrasive in the family of physical exfoliators. They either don’t contain any grainy substances at all or formulated with very finely milled non-abrasive particles (i.e., cellulose) that give a gentle scrubbing effect. Peeling gels are usually used on dry skin and start balling up as you rub them against your skin. These types of exfoliators are great for people who can’t handle full-on scrub but need some manual exfoliation from time to time to help with skin texture issues. It is also an excellent choice for people who need to get rid of dry patches while hydrating the skin.

The drawbacks. The potential to sensitize the skin is an obvious one. If you have extremely sensitive skin, suffer from rosacea or eczema – this won’t be for you as you need to apply as little external pressure to the skin as possible. Also, since they’re only working on the most upper layer of the skin, the effect might seem fleeting, especially for someone who’s used to acid exfoliators. The solution might be to look for a gommage peel that has acids or enzymes in the formula that help to improve cleansing results.  

MOTHER MADE Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel

The bottom line. Physical and chemical exfoliators have their pros and cons. With the right approach, the correct dosage, and frequency of use –  both can serve you well in your skincare routine.