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So I started using Nucelle's Mandelic Acid 10% serum this week. I don't want to jinx it, but when the week started out I had 3 VERY painful zits above my mouth that kept me from even smiling, and now they're kinda gone. By kinda, I mean the pain is completely gone and so are the lumps, but you can still see the redmarks from them. No popping btw.

However, this stuff leaves the skin around my mouth DRY. However, it's not dry like I used to be when I used BP. The easiest way to describe it is that the entire top layer of my skin is dead. If I take a tweezer and pull at some of the flakes on my face, I can literally peel off a little sheet of skin. Small, but it's there.

Because of this, moisturizing isn't helping at all. I've heard that I now need an exfoliator to clear myself of this top layer. I tried using my baby brush but no dice. Is there any exfoliator out there that's GENTLE? I have oily skin so I don't want to irritate it further. Maybe something else?

Thanks for any tips!

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That peeling shows that the AHA is beginning to work. You don't really need to hurry the exfoliation along by exfoliating even more. Just gentle cleansing, moisturizing if needed, and continue the AHA per directions and eventually that peeling will stop as the old layer of skin goes away all by itself. You just shouldn't do more exfoliating; it might leave your skin with raw, red spots.

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I wouldn't irritate your skin anymore by exfoliating but I found that mixing baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with water in a 1 to 1 ratio (you may mix it with a cleanser that has a neutral pH - no acids or it will defeat the purpose) is a great exfoliator thats gentle ... after exfoliating i would neutralize the baking soda with an acid (you could use your serum)

some people experience some stinging or redness because of the pH change so I would do a test spot on your face to see if you have any reaction to it before doing your whole face

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For me the big change was when I switched from the AHA to BHA. When I was using an AHA I had a dead layer of skin on my forehead and although my pimples were under control it just looked bad and the baby brush or moisturizing didn't help. I'm not saying you should do this but when I switched to paula's choice from using an AHA my skin never looked smoother, I can't say it does much from my blackheads which sucks but that dead layer of skin is gone.

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