Why AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution should not be used on wet skin?

The ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution say: Clean face and wait for skin to dry. Do not use on wet skin. Apply evenly across face and neck using fingertips, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for no more than 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

why it should not be used on wet skin?

Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Not sure but two possible reasons. 
    1. Using it on a wet surface would dilute the acid so it might not be as effective.  
    2. There may be an exothermic reaction if you put the product on wet skin that some people might find to be a burning sensation.

    But those are just guesses. I don't know for sure.
  • @Perry thanks
  • I also think it's to prevent stronger irritation? Wet skin allows product to penetrate deeper. This might cause some irritation to some skins. ?
  • Is the water affecting peeling (peel forming) process?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    I think the corect answer is because it says not to on the label
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @MarkBroussard the question is why they say not to? 
  • My guess is that it’s easier to apply.   If it’s wet already then it’s harder to see which part has product or maybe it’s because they’re concerned about it dripping into eyes if it is wet and too fluid?
  • @jamesmiju that could be the case. That is why it has red color so you know where you have applied and where not. 
  • I believe it's to do with irritation. I have seen it said not to apply AHAs, L-AA, and Tretinoin to wet skin due to irritation. When I have applied AHA's to damp skin I have noticed more stinging and I believe it's due to skin oils not being present and the acid seeps in to the skin a little more. I usually wait 15 minutes before I apply AHAs but I apply Tretinoin right after I pat my skin dry, without noticing a difference or any irritation.

    I have looked for a scientific reason why, but didn't see anything.
  • Dilution , since to exfoliate you need AHA, BHA in acid form( not ion) to penetration SC, dilution will lead to protonation acid to ionic form

  • @ariepfadli very reasonable explanation. Thanks.

    So if we apply moisturizer immediately after AHA or BHA leave on exfoliant, does it reduce the effectiveness of exfoliant? 

    If yes, then how much time should we wait before applying moisturizer?

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