The secret ingredient everyone is talking about in their skincare is acids. These wonder ingredients can actually have a transformational effect on your skin when used correctly. Through using specific acids you can target what your skin needs, whether you suffer from dry skin or acne, with instant visible results. These acids can exfoliate too, which is also perfect for people with sensitive skin who find normal exfoliating scrubs too abrasive. Before using these acids, always patch test, apply a low amount and build up your routine, as they can be very high in concentration and may cause irritation.
Here we explain these star skincare ingredients in a little more detail so you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
AHA vs BHA
AHAs and BHAs are both types of skin care acids. AHAs are water soluble acids made from sugary fruits. AHAs work to peel away the surface of your skin allowing new more evenly pigmented skin cells to take their place. It is said that AHAs are suitable for all skin types but people with sensitive skin should still take care. Make sure to use SPF every day when using AHA acids. BHAs on the other hand, are oil soluble. They penetrate deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells. BHAs are mostly suitable for people with combination and oily skin.
AHA Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliator derived from milk and fruit sugars. This is the perfect acid to introduce to your skin first as it is milder than other acids. It is also a great one to try for those with sensitive skin. Lactic acid is an AHA that sheds dead skin cells and helps even up your skin tone. It does not penetrate as deep as acids like glycolic acid but instead boots hydration levels as it increases water retention.
AHA Glycolic acid
The most common type of AHA, Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. It is an excellent exfoliant to help you shed your dead skin cells. Without dead skin cells other skincare products can more deeply penetrate your skin. It stimulates collagen production and is very effective at exfoliating skin, reducing fine lines, preventing acne, fading dark spots, increasing skin thickness, and evening out skin tone and texture. If you have dry or sensitive skin, introduce this gradually into your routine. Avoid pairing glycolic acid with another strong active ingredient like retinol and always use spf every day!
BHA Salicylic Acid
This BHA is great for those with clogged pores or acne prone skin as it penetrates deep into the skin and unclogs pores. CeraVe’s SA Smoothing Cleanser with salicylic acid for dry, rough and bumpy skin is a budget friendly way to introduce Salicylic Acid into your routine. It has a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the skin while also leaving it hydrated.
Different from above acids, Hyaluronic acid is very gentle on the skin and is not an exfoliant. It is a humectant, meaning it adds hydration to the skin. This acid is already found in our skin but it reduces as we age, along with our ability to preserve firmness and moisture. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. For ultimate hydration, it is recommended to dampen the skin with a face mist before applying hyaluronic acid and lock the moisture in with a moisturizer after use. La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum improves elasticity and firmness and delivers a boost of hydration to the skin, plumping the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum is another super option that helps skin feel protected against daily stressors and premature signs of ageing.