Can we talk about... Pestle & Mortar's new glycolic acid, Exfoliate

How does this weather affect your skin?

For me, going from biting winds into a tropical office or taking a shower at my preferred temperate of boiling lava leaves me with dry skin on my upper arms and light dryness around my nose, forehead and cheeks. Since Isle of Paradise tan launched in Boots, I haven't had to worry about tan gathering around any dry skin on my body thanks to the hydrating formula, but my face is another story. Make-up clumps, flakes and moves around on dry skin making even the lightest layer of foundation look muddy. Thankfully, glycolic acid came into my life and everything changed. An AHA moment, you might call it, if you're a skincare nerd.

Swiping a cotton round with glycolic on my face two nights a weekend made everything smoother and glowy. I turned my old gritty exfoliators into foot scrubs. Yet the more I used the AHA I had started with, the less results I saw. I switched to Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peels and understood the hype, but the price was too restrictive for everyday use, so I saved my beloved packettes for special occasions.

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I no longer have to ration my glowing skin thanks to Pestle & Mortar's newest product. Exfoliate, the first glycolic acid from the brand. It comes with the pH helpfully labelled (3.8) plus another label that I hadn't seen before - 'free acid value: 6.8%.'


''The free acid value is the percentage of the acid which is actually absorbed into the skin," says Pestle & Mortar founder Sonia Deasy. "It's agreed that a minimum of 4% is required for noticeable cell turnover. Furthermore, low pH formulations preserve the strength of glycolic acid for optimal efficacy on the skin.''

So, excited to try my first optimally efficient glycolic acid, I've been lashing it onto my skin. It's a great big 180ml bottle that will last ages, housed in Pestle & Mortar's gorgeous signature matte black packaging. It's gentle, non-irritating and fragrance-free, so if you're sensitive-skinned and afraid of glycolic acid, this is the one for you. My skin was not only smoothed instantly with all dead skin vanished but in the few weeks I've been using it, my skin tone has evened, my skin is brighter and the enormous pores around my nose that I could usually use to store things in are half the size they once were. The longer I use it, the less I need to, which I think is a pretty good sign from any skincare product.

Pestle & Mortar Exfoliate is available from, €29

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