When I first heard about people putting acid on their face, I immediately went to the worst-case scenario.
Turns out in the world of skincare, acids are not your enemy but one of your best friends. Acids for skincare are chemical substances that have a pH below 7.0. When it comes to skincare our goal is to maintain the skin’s pH level. Our skin is slightly acidic with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. Acids are a neat way to chemically exfoliate the skin, which helps us maintain that pH level. Not everyone needs to use these but for the curious let us discuss some good ones, shall we?
Azelaic acid is a natural material produced by the yeast that lives on the skin. In skincare it is a topical acidic agent that flushes out follicles. It is used for mild to moderate acne.
- Antibacterial– reduces the growth of bacteria in the follicle.
- Keratolytic and comedolytic- it returns to normal the disordered growth of the skin cells lining the follicle.
- Scavenger of free radicals- reduces inflammation
It is also said to help reduce hyperpigmentation so its great for those of us with more melanin who suffer rom dark spots after an acne flare up.
Citric acid is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) that is used to promote skin peeling and regrowth. It has astringent and antioxidant properties. It is derived from citrus fruits. It is known to help with brightening of the skin.
Fulvic acid is a powerful antioxidant from the humic acid family. Humic is an acid formed naturally during the decaying of plants. It is new to the skin care industry but is said to be one of the most effective and healing ingredients available. It has a pH level of 3.2. when used for a peel it simultaneously delivers a mild exfoliation while reducing redness.
Glycolic acid is the simplest AHA with the smallest molecule size making it is easier to penetrate the skin. It is the most popular AHA because it has been proven to be beneficial for all skin types. In acne prone skin it helps keep pores clear of excess keratinocytes (epidermal cell which produces keratin). In aging skin its known to help with hydration, moisture and skin normalizing thus resulting in a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It gives all skin types smoother, softer, healthier, and younger looking skin. It is naturally derived from sugar cane and can be synthetically made.
Malic acid is another AHA, this one is derived from apples. It gently exfoliates the skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines. It is great for sensitive skin. It is less effective than say glycolic acid and lactic acid due to its molecular size but when combined with other AHAs it works wonderfully.
Mandelic acid is an aromatic AHA that is known for its anti-aging benefits. It works to accelerate cell turnover; help remove dead skin (exfoliate) and aid with fine lines. It is derived from bitter almonds and great for sufferers of acne.
Phytic acid is a milder version of glycolic acid helping to gently exfoliate the skin. It is used in chemical peels to reduce melasma and acne scarring. It is an AHA derived from cereal seeds, fruit seeds and bran of natural plants.
There are many more acids to explore but let this list be a nice starter for you to get acquainted with them.