Hey, it’s Cho, and I’m excited to share one of my most critical skincare secrets with you today! If you checked out my last post, I detailed my daily skincare routine in the most general sense. I really wanted it to be a quick read and simple to understand. If you missed out on that guide, be sure to READ IT HERE. Did you know that I do unboxings of most of the products here on the blog over on IGTV? Think of it as a video preview of what’s to eventually come on the blog! Anyway, I went on to do an unboxing of my new AWAY Luggage where people complimented me on my glowing skin complexion. I’m here today to tell you what I think is the biggest reason for my glow up in 2020 during the middle of global pandemic!

I know people are busy, so I’ll cut right to the chase: Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid are the two ingredients that work in tandem to help my face glow stronger than a lightning bug on steroids! I dare you to name a better duo than these two ingredients. Peanut butter & jelly? Batman & Robin? Beyonce & Jay Z? I’ll wait, but I promise you won’t find a better pair. Do note that I am not a dermatologist or an esthetician. I’m simply a skincare junkie on a life long journey of developing better skincare habits for myself in the hopes that you too can feel more comfortable in your own skin. Now, for those who want to stay and learn a tiny bit more, let’s go over the basics of each.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid, known as BHA (beta hydroxy acid), is a chemical that helps to exfoliate your skin. Over a period of time, dead skin cells will begin to build up on the surface. This causes clogged, dull skin that can also cause acne! What BHA does is penetrates deeply into the pores to push out dirt while dissolving the the dead skin on top. This leads to a generally brighter even toned skin. Physical exfoliants (like scrubs) are more likely to damage the skin barrier which is why I prefer chemical exfoliants like BHA. They are gentler, slow-acting and actually help with maintaining moisture over the long term.

I personally swear by the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($29.50) which is gentle enough to use every other day. PC’s formula also helps to reduce your pore size and fine lines which will give you a smoother look. They also have a gel formula that is equally amazing. Which one you choose depends entirely on your texture preferences. I will say that it’s been a bit more refreshing using the gel during the summer heat! When talking to people who are just now starting their skincare journey, I almost ALWAYS recommend this product as the first thing to buy. In less than 2-3 weeks, you will notice a radiant difference in your skin! Thank me later.


Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is scientifically shown to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores while also improving uneven skin tone. While it most notably helps with reducing pore size, it also helps with dark spots, fine lines, redness, scarring, water retention and it even strengthens the skin barrier. It can aid in the prevention of acne as well as helping with getting rid of it. Yes, your skin needs niacinamide like your body needs water. It’s truly a power house at helping your skin to function better. If you don’t have some form of niacinamide in your routine, you’re really missing out on a key ingredient that can help your skin glow!

I recommend the Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster ($44.00), because it’s really easy to incorporate in your routine. I typically add a few drops mixed with my moisturizer. It’s an ultra light formula that doesn’t feel heavy either. And it’s in a pretty green bottle too! Unlike the BHA, I think it does take at least a month or two before you see big differences, but once you do, you’ll be happy that you were patient! Do note that over the last week, I’ve been trying Paula’s Choice 20% Niacinamide Treatment which is something you only want to use AFTER you have used the 10% Booster for a while. Spoiler alert: the increased concentration has my face glowing like a star nova!

It’s What You Deserve

Now don’t you feel empowered to go out and achieve the 2020 pandemic glow up that you deserve!? I hope that I provided a bit of value to you in the form of education surrounding these two power house ingredients. They really are the holy grail of skin care ingredients for every day people who are looking to make simple improvements to their skin. Remember to always cleanse your face well before exfoliating and treating. When using any new skin care products, I do want to urge you to start slowly and to be patient. I’ve been working on my skin since the beginning of this year, and I’m so happy with the results I’ve seen over the last several months!

While I would love for you to use the above affiliate links to purchase your products, please do check the prices on PC’s website to ensure you’re getting the best deal! Using my affiliate links above is a FREE way for you to support me monetarily, and I appreciate you for doing so! Have you used a chemical exfoliant before? Are you interested in experimenting with niacinamide? If you already achieved your own glow, how did you do it? If you have any questions be sure to send me a DM, and let me know all your thoughts on instagram!

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