I’m sure like many of you newly diving into the skin care world, you read or saw the word acids and your eyes immediately jumped out your head. Acid? On our face? YUP. That’s right, there are acids that can actually improve your skin. Now don’t worry, they aren’t as scary as they sound.
If you read my previous article on exfoliating, you know that there are different types of chemical exfoliants that work to remove dead skin cells and improve your skin. We’ll start here. These are AHA’s and BHA’s.
From the beginning here are some of the most common face acids, what their properties are and other key information.
AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acid : There are many different types. These acids are water soluble. They increase your skin’s sensitivity, so it is very important to use SPF when using AHA’s. Skipping SPF when you have AHA’s in your routine can damage your skin worse than you initially started. Common types of AHA’s are.
– Glycolic acid: one of the most common AHA’s. It is derived from sugar and penetrates the skin the best because of it’s small molecules. It’s one of the strongest of the AHA’s and is generally not recommended for beginners. A chemical exfoliating acid that rids of dead skin cells revealing smoother skin texture and improving overall skin health.
– Lactic acid: acid derived from dairy – chemical exfoliant that doubles as a moisturizer. It’s less harsh than glycolic acid but not as gentle as mandelic. This is a great acid to start with as you ease into the use of acids. It’s perfect for treating hyperpigmentation, and giving the skin an overall smooth texture. You can think of it as a gentle polish of the skin.
– Mandelic: acid derived from almonds. This is more mild than lactic acid because it absorbs into the skin slower due to having larger molecules. This is good for those who are primarily focused on anti-aging. Mandelic acid targets the bonds that hold skin cells together which increases cell turnover.
– Azelaic acid: acid derived from grains like barley,rye, and wheat.It has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties so it’s great for acne prone skin in treating and preventing acne.
BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acid : There is only 1 type of BHA, Salicylic acid.
- Salicylic acid – breaks down through oils and is able to penetrate and unclog pores – great for oil and acne prone. More gentle on the skin than AHA’s and better to use for those with sensitive skin.
Hyaluronic acid – provides your skin moisture. Your skin naturally produces this. When hydrated with hyaluronic acid, the skin becomes more plump reducing the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and pores. This acid also acts as a protective barrier to the skin allowing for more skin cell production.
Ascorbic acid – better known as vitamin c. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and increases collagen production. It is great for treating hyperpigmentation, acne, and overall brightening. Be careful when introducing this acid into your routine as it can be potent and irritate the skin.
These are just some of the most common face acids you’ll find as you start to dive into the science of skin care. When adding new products, especially acids into your skin care routine, I highly recommend doing either a quick google search for compatibility and/or a patch test. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with the face.
Are you new to the skincare game or would you consider yourself an expert. Let me know in the comments below.