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Introducing LHA: The Essential Exfoliant for Acne

All skin types benefit from regular exfoliation to stimulate cellular turnover, and it’s particularly important for those prone to congestion. However, using a harsh physical exfoliant can simply exacerbate acne, spreading bacteria and irritating an already compromised complexion. Furthermore, physical exfoliators, or scrubs, address only the surface of the skin, without penetrating deep into the pore to target the root cause of acne.

So, what IS the best course of exfoliating action for promoting clearer, pimple-free skin?


Chemical exfoliation is undoubtedly the smarter option for acne-prone skin; however, it’s important to err on the side of caution. Aggressive treatment of acne with harsh, stripping ingredients can be counterproductive, causing an unwanted rebound effect. This means the skin may in fact respond by producing more oil, leading to further breakouts.

Therefore, the clear answer to exfoliating with acne lies in using ingredients that are gentle, without compromising on effectiveness. LHA is one such ingredient.


While Alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) are well known acne-fighters, you might not have heard of LHA. A derivative of salicylic acid, the major benefit of beta-lipohydroxy acid (LHA), lies in its gentle, non-irritating mode of exfoliation. Meaning it’s tough on acne, gentle on sensitive skin.

LHA’s keratolytic (exfoliating) action lifts dead skin cells from the surface of the skin for a smoother complexion. With a similar pH level to healthy skin, it’s less acidic than many chemical exfoliants, such as benzoyl peroxide, and is well tolerated by even the most sensitive of skin.

While it penetrates less deeply than salicylic acid, LHA is more lipophilic, meaning it is better able to dissolve in fats, oils and lipids, which is ideal for acne-prone skins. Used together, as in La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo +, LHA and salicylic acid make a powerful and complete exfoliating duo. The chemical exfoliants in Duo + help to both regulate sebum production (oiliness) and reopen clogged pores. This helps visibly improve existing pimples, while simultaneously reducing future breakouts.

With a light cream-gel texture, Effaclar Duo+ also contains ceramide Procerad to help reduce acne pigmentation, and niacinamide to soothe. Used each morning and/or evening, Effaclar Duo+ effectively fights against acne, whilst respecting sensitive skin.

This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting a new regime or course of conduct.

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