Acid might conjure images of a burning, flaking, far-too-aggressive skincare treatment only aging Hollywood starlets must subject themselves to. No so! There are many gentle, effective ‘acids’ that can transform your skin without irritation. Here, we’ll run down six of the most popular so you can choose products with the acid that’s right for your skincare needs.
Citric Acid: Citric acid comes from citrus fruits and is fantastic for balancing your skin’s PH levels and sloughing off dead skin layers. Like many acids, it also encourages new cell turnover thus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid comes from cane sugar and is one of the most common Alpha Hydroxy Acids (you’ve probably seen it in product ingredient lists before). It helps with fine lines and skin dullness, as well as acne and oiliness. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules of any AHA acid, so it can penetrate skin quickly and more deeply than any other.
Hyaluronic Acid: Counter intuitively, Hyaluronic acid is a hydrator. It occurs in the body naturally as a key component of connective tissue and supports healthy skin and joints. In products, it’s great for aging skin as it can hold a huge amount of moisture against the skin and actually adjusts its absorption rate based on the environment and humidity.
Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is also great for anti-aging and a better option for more sensitive skin. It can stimulate collagen production, promote cell turnover, soften skin and even complexion, all without redness or irritation. It’s the crowd pleaser of the group.
Retinoic Acid: Retinoic acid (or similar retinol) is the big kid on the block when it comes to anti-aging. It actually thickens skin, minimizing wrinkles and promoting elasticity, as well as preventing the breakdown of collagen. Retinoic acid can irritate skin, so start slow and make sure your skin doesn’t react. It can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so load up on SPF!
Salicylic Acid: Salicylic is the go-to for acne-prone skin. It can actually get inside pores and unclog deeply stuck bacteria and dirt, clearing up whiteheads, blackheads and healing pimples and acne. It can even reduce the discoloration caused by old breakouts.
A good general rule when it comes to acid: choose products with a lower acid percentage so you can use them on a daily basis and achieve the same results as more aggressive acid treatments in a safer, gentler way.
Do you have a favorite skincare acid? Have you ever had an acid peel? Share with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.
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