The realm of acids can be scary because there are so many to choose from, yet it seems they provide the same benefits.
It can be daunting to know what exactly your skin needs when it comes to acids but don’t worry. It’s precisely why we’ve put together this guide, and we’re here to help you understand what each common acid found in skincare products can help with.
This all-in-one acid ‘cheat sheet’ will cover the most common acids found in skincare products as well as what they can do for your skin.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, comes in different forms, but ascorbic acid has the best benefits for your skin. Backed by extensive research, this acid offers a wide range of benefits.
For starters, it’s a powerful antioxidant that helps slow down the ageing process and aids in preventing sun damage and recovery of skin damage caused by UV exposure. It’s also known to have skin brightening properties which helps with uneven skin tone and hyper-pigmentation. Lastly, long-term use has been shown to increase firmness and suppleness of the skin by increasing collagen production.
A type of alpha-hydroxy acid (or AHA), Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and belongs to the family of exfoliants. Because of its unique molecular structure, it’s more effective in penetrating deeper layers of the skin to provide deeper exfoliation. This, in turn, helps shed dead skin cells and speeds up the process of skin renewal. Apart from exfoliation, Glycolic acid also improves the skin’s capacity to retain moisture - making it one of the most moisturizing acids on the market.
This is the holy grail of hydration. This acid can store up to one thousand times its weight in water. Not only does it deliver instant hydration to your skin when it needs it most, but it also straightens it by improving your skin’s moisture retention ability.
Another type of AHA that helps exfoliate the skin efficiently due to its bigger molecular structure. Unlike Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid can only exfoliate at the surface level of the skin. Besides exfoliating the skin, it also smoothens it, brightens it, and moisturizes it.
PHAs (Polyhydroxy Acids)
This acid is particularly popular amongst those with sensitive skin, and it’s gentler compared to other acids and would best suit those with dry, itchy skin. Those with eczema or atopic rosacea often opt for PHAs as they aid in smoothing and retexturing the skin without irritating it.
A well-known acid to help reduce acne and keep pores clear, Salicylic Acid is best suited for those with mild acne (blackheads and whiteheads) and prevents future breakouts. This acid exfoliates from within the pore, making them particularly useful for those suffering from congestion or textural problems as well.
The Lava Art team