As I announced in my review of The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish, I’ve tested a few chemical exfoliants over the past months. A product that really stood out to me was REN’s much talked about Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, which I want to review in detail in this blog post. If you are uncertain about the difference between chemical and mechanical exfoliants and the skin problems that can be targeted with the help of chemical exfoliants, please check out my explanations in the Body Shop review.
My attention was first drawn to this serum after my disappointment with The Body Shop’s Cleansing Polish, which had let me down because of a severe lack of active ingredients. REN’s motto “Clean Skincare” promised a responsible product range relying on selected, well-targeted and efficient ingredients rather than boastful, but empty promises and product names. I am happy to tell you that REN did not let me down! I highly recommend this product to literally everybody, because there is no skin type (apart from very sensitive skin) that would not benefit from AHAs.
- Superficial effects: First of all, AHAs disturb the cellular cohesion between corneocytes (= dead skin cells), meaning that dead or dulling skin cells are removed (= chemical exfoliation), which again provokes the formation of a new stratum corneum. Using AHAs on a regular basis will therefore leave your skin more glowing and healthy looking, reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores and prevent the formation of black heads and pimples by unblocking pores.
- Deep effects: AHAs that have the right molecular size can also penetrate into the skin and act on living rather than dead cells. The application of so-called bioavailable AHAs has indeed been shown to trigger an increased production of collagen and increased skin thickness.
The Resurfacing AHA Concentrate relies on a mixture of glycolic (the most bioavailable AHA), lactic, tartaric and citric acid combined with various plant and fruit extracts to ensure maximum exfoliating results with minimum skin irritation and discomfort: Unlike other products containing lactic acid, REN formulated their serum at the right pH, thus ensuring the product’s exfoliant properties. Glycerin as the third ingredient in combination with a base of bitter orange water and the humectants Sodium Lactate and Sodium Hyaluronate help to keep your skin moisturized by attracting and maintaining moisture within the extracellular matrix. If to all these amazing active ingredients and their properties, you add the fact that the product is completely free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance and colors, T.E.A., D.E.A., Glycols, silicones and PEGS, you might understand my excitement. Some bloggers have criticized the fact that the serum contains quite a lot of alcohol, but keep in mind that every water based product needs preservation: Since REN pass on all the controversial preservatives like parabens, larger quantities of alcohol are simply indispensable to prevent bacterial and fungal spoilage.
REN’s Resurfacing AHA Concentrate comes in a sturdy and high-quality 30 ml glass bottle with a dropper. The product itself is a clear liquid with a rather unpleasant, harsh scent that reminds me of glue, but I can go without the luxury aspects of an elegant packaging and an indulgent scent if a product is this jam-packed with active ingredients. I find it hard to evenly distribute the product on my bare face as I would usually do with a serum, which is why I mix five drops to my regular moisturizer every other night. Retailing at around 45 €, the serum is certainly a little investment: But since you only use a few drops a week, this high-performance concentrate is going to last you well over a year, which actually makes it a very economic product.