In recent years, acid skin care has gained immense popularity, thanks to the numerous benefits in improving skin health and appearance. These face acids are a group of chemical compounds that have different functions, such as exfoliating, brightening, and reducing the signs of ageing. Skincare acids are available in various concentrations and forms, including toners, serums, masks, and peels.
In this article, we will explore the different types of skincare acids, their benefits, how to use them, and what to avoid.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water-soluble acids derived from fruits and milk. They are excellent exfoliants, as they dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, revealing brighter, smoother, and more even-toned skin. The most common types of acid for skin products are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid.
Benefits of AHAs
- Exfoliation: AHAs are excellent exfoliants, as they gently remove dead skin cells without irritating them.
- Brightening: AHAs help to reduce hyperpigmentation and age spots by accelerating the skin’s natural shedding process.
- Anti-ageing: AHAs stimulate collagen production, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When to Use:
AHAs are best used in the evening, as they increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. They can be used 2-3 times a week, depending on your skin’s tolerance level. It is crucial to use sunscreen when using AHAs to prevent sun damage.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil-soluble acids that penetrate deep into the skin’s pores, making them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid is the most common type of BHA used in skincare.
Benefits of BHAs:
- Exfoliation: BHAs exfoliate the skin and unclog pores, reducing the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
- Anti-inflammatory: BHAs have anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce redness and irritation.
- Oil control: BHAs help to control oil production and minimise the appearance of pores.
When to Use:
BHAs can be used in the morning or evening, depending on your face routine. They can be used 2-3 times a week, depending on your skin’s tolerance level.
Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs)
Polyhydroxy Acids are similar to AHAs but have a larger molecular structure, making them gentler on the skin. PHAs are excellent for those with sensitive skin, as they exfoliate the skin without irritating it. The most common types of PHAs used in skincare products are gluconolactone and lactobionic acid.
Benefits of PHAs
- Exfoliation: PHAs gently exfoliate the skin, leaving it smooth and soft.
- Hydration: PHAs act as humectants that help to hydrate the skin, improving its texture and appearance.
- Anti-ageing: PHAs stimulate collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When to Use:
PHAs can be used in the morning or evening, depending on your skin’s needs. They can be used daily, as they are gentle and do not cause irritation.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that helps to retain moisture, keeping it plump and hydrated. It is a popular ingredient in skincare products, particularly those designed for dehydrated skin.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
- Hydration: Hyaluronic Acid helps to retain moisture in the skin, keeping it hydrated and plump.
- Anti-ageing: Hyaluronic Acid helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improve skin texture and tone.
- Soothing: Hyaluronic Acid has a soothing effect on the skin, reducing redness and irritation.
When to Use:
Hyaluronic Acid can be used morning and night, depending on your skin’s needs. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used by all skin types.
Things to Keep in Mind
It’s important to use skincare acids safely and properly for skin health. Here are some skin care tips:
- Not all acids are appropriate for every kind of skin. For example, those with sensitive skin may want to avoid stronger acids like glycolic acid and opt for gentler options like lactic acid. Similarly, those with acne-prone skin may benefit from salicylic acid, which can help to unclog pores.
- If you’re new to using skincare acids, it’s best to start slowly and patch test first. Apply a small amount of the product to a small area of your skin and wait 24 hours to see if you have any adverse reactions. Stop using the product if you notice redness, irritation, or burning.
- Always read the instructions on the product carefully before using it. Some acids need to be left on the skin for a specific amount of time, while others should be rinsed off immediately. Following the instructions will help to ensure that you’re using the product correctly and safely.
- Using too much skincare acid can irritate your skin and make it more sensitive. Start by using the product once or twice a week and gradually increase the frequency if your skin tolerates it.
- Some skincare acids, like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. To avoid sun damage, make sure to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day.
- Mixing certain acids, such as AHAs and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), can cause skin irritation and damage. Stick to using one acid at a time or choose a product that contains a combination of acids formulated to work together.
- Skincare acids can be drying, so it’s important to follow up with a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Skincare acids can be a game-changer for improving your skin’s health and appearance. It is essential to choose the right type of acid for your skin’s needs and use it correctly to avoid irritation and over-exfoliation. With patience and consistency, incorporating skincare acids into your routine can help you achieve a brighter, smoother, and more youthful-looking complexion.