You have probably seen serums, cleansers and moisturisers showcasing active ingredients that can help reduce wrinkles, brighten skin and prevent breakouts. Many of these ingredients are basically acids that come with inherent skincare properties. Acids are a growing trend in the skincare world and acid-based products are finding their way into shelves and closets like never before. Acids if leveraged in right dosages can help get rid of dead cells and reveal clear, smooth and brighter skin.
There are two base acids found in most skincare product—alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Both classes of acids aid in exfoliating the skin, but they are not the same. The dominant difference between them is their chemical structure, which influences how each type of acid penetrates through and cleanses the skin. While all acids have an exfoliating effect, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) tend to work at the surface of the skin only, working to brighten the complexion and smoothen texture. AHAs can be used on most skin types, as it mostly derived from natural ingredients. Examples of AHAs include citric acid (from citrus fruits), glycolic acid (from sugar cane), lactic acid (from lactose), malic acid (from fruits),
tartaric acid (from grapes), etc.
On the other hand, beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) penetrate to remove clogged pores, making them ideal for people who have oily skin, with blackheads and whiteheads. To further clear up your apprehensions on skincare acids and how they benefit your skin, we have put together a simple, go-to guide on acid and skincare.
Salicylic acid relieves clogged pores and blackheads while reducing bacterial growth. A wonder ingredient, it is best for people with acne but also works for anyone during a breakout. What is significant about salicylic acid is that it can penetrate through oily skin and deep cleanse the pores. It works as an anti-inflammatory agent, which can help heal acne and prevent breakouts.
Glycolic acid is categorised as an AHA. The benefits include removing off dead skin, smoothening uneven texture, and reducing pigmentation and dryness. This acid is the ultimate exfoliator. It is gentler on the skin than abrasive scrubs and can be used as an ingredient in diverse beauty products—from peels and moisturisers to serums. It can penetrate the skin easily and deeply.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) tackles hydration. Being a natural humectant, it attracts and retains moisture. It is often hailed as a hero ingredient that can restore hydration to the skin while boosting firmness and plumpness.
Lactic Acid is another exfoliating AHA. It has proven to be gentler than Glycolic acid. It is derived from milk and has that additional moisturising element that other acids lack. It works wonders on sensitive skin and reduces fine lines and pigmentation.
Ascorbic acid consists of a fair amount of vitamin C. It is an amazing antioxidant that reduces fine lines and fights free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause damage to your skin’s DNA, speeding up the skin ageing process. This is where Ascorbic acid comes in and acts as a brightening agent that fades away dark spots and wrinkles. It works very well on all skin types.
Choosing a skincare product with the right acid can work wonders keeping your skin fresh and healthy. Speak to your dermatologist to know more about your skin type and the type of acid you’ll need to add to your skincare routine.