Cover Switch up your cleanser this summer with these picks containing AHAs (Photo: Getty Images)

If your skin looks dull or feels clogged up from the summer heat, sometimes all you need is a deep cleanse. These face washes, from the likes of Aesop and Ole Henriksen, contain alpha-hydroxy acids, which serve to brighten the complexion

"Summer skin" conjures images of healthy and glowing complexions, but the reality is that sometimes it can look and feel congested. This is likely due to the combination of skincare products, sunscreen, make-up and sweat creating a build-up of dead skin cells on the skin, preventing new skin growth and can cause breakouts or make skin look dull. The best way to tackle these issues is with a deep cleanse, and specifically using a cleanser with chemically exfoliating properties that will strip away that layer of debris. 

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One of the most popular chemical exfoliators is alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which includes glycolic, lactic and citric acid. While these often feature in toners and peels, they also work well in face washes—this is a more gentle medium of regular exfoliation, as you can wash off the product. When used regularly, AHA cleansers will guarantee you a clean base to allow for better product absorption and make-up application, as well as giving the appearance of a smoother complexion.  

Introduce these cleansers into your routine by using them few times a week as a clarifying treatment rather than everyday to start, as these formulas can be more drying compared to other face washes. These are our top picks for AHA cleansers to achieve that desired smooth and bright "summer skin" effect:



1. Holifrog Shasta AHA Acid Wash

Holifrog founder Emily Parr is a self professed lover of face wash, and developed cleansers based on her experience of having congested skin due to a build-up of sunscreen and sweat from running long distances regularly. The Shasta AHA Acid Wash contains a blend of glycolic, mandelic, tartaric and lactic acid to remove purities and provide a smooth base, and also contains hydrating ingredients such as rosehip oil and aloe vera to soothe the skin.

2. MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify Cleanser and Mask

This dual action cleanser and mask from MZ Skin is an ideal way to get the most out of an AHA product—you can massage the cleanser into your skin to break down the oils and debris and wash it off using face cloth, or apply a thin layer as a mask and leave it on for a few minutes to allows the acids and fruit enzymes to exfoliate and reveal radiant skin.

See more: The Different Types of Mask-ne and What to Do About Them

3. Agent Nateur Acid (Wash) Lactic Acid Brightening Cleanser

Agent Nateur offers a vegan face wash formulated with lactic acid for exfoliation, and anti-oxidant rich ingredients such as aloe leaf and peony root to hydrate and plump skin after cleansing. The result is a brighter complexion and more even skin tone.

4. Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

This cleanser from Ole Henriksen contains neem seed oil, which helps to deep cleanse without stripping skin, as well as glycolic and lactic acids to slough off dead skin cells, and will reveal a fresh and balanced base for better product application.

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5. Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Solutions Cleanser

This glycolic cleanser from Peter Thomas Roth is a tried and true product in the beauty space. Offering powerful exfoliation with a gentle formula, this oil-free cleanser helps to reduce any rough textures and overall clarify skin. 

6. Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel

This soap and sulphate fee solution from Dr Dennis Gross is a great choice for more sensitive skin types, but will still deliver exfoliation strong enough to refresh and rejuvenate your skin.


See more: The Best Make-Up Setting Sprays for Summer 2022

7. Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser

Deep cleanse without drying out your skin with this formula from Tata Harper. Containing both AHAs and BHAs, the latter being beta hydroxy acids which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, this cleanser will help tackle blemishes and debris to ensure a smooth base.

8. Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Cleansing Butter

For those who need a more nourishing cleanser, this buttery formulation from Elemis will keep your skin moisturised while sloughing off dead skin cells. It can be used as a make-up remover, daily cleanser and hydrating mask, and uses botanical ingredients such as mango seed butter and pumpkin enzymes for hydration and exfoliation, respectively. 



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