Let’s Talk Acids

The acid test: proven products for amazing skincare results

The words ‘acid’ and ‘skincare’ don’t seem to go together somehow, but many skincare products contain different types of acid that are safe to use and offer incredible benefits when it comes to tackling various skincare problems.

Understanding the two types of acid

Two types of acid are used in skincare products:

 AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) – these are water-soluble acids made from plants such as citrus fruits, grapes and sugarcane.

    BHA (beta hydroxy acid) – these are naturally occurring oil-soluble acids, for example, salicylic acid which comes from willow bark is a common ingredient in beauty products.

So how are the different types used for skin care?

1. Products containing AHA can be most effective to:

Reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots, melasma and scars.

Treat enlarged pores.

Achieve a more even skin tone.

Treat dry skin.

Combat the effects of ageing.

2. Products containing BHA can be most effective to:

Treat acne.

Clear pores.

Reverse the effects of sun damage.

Calm inflammation.

Both types exfoliate the skin and can be found in products such as cleansers, toners, scrubs, peels, masks and moisturisers.

AHAs are good for peeling away the skin surface and allowing new skin cells to form.

BHAs can penetrate the skin more deeply to get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil.

It is possible to use both types in combination, but always be careful when doing this to avoid dryness and irritation. Always ask us for expert advice when using products containing acids.

Some typical acid ingredients

Let’s talk through some of the more commonly used acids:

Citric acid

This is an AHA derived from oranges and lemons and is used to exfoliate, clean pores, even out skin tone and make the skin feel smoother.

Glycolic acid

Another type of commonly used AHA, glycolic acid is made from sugar cane and used for exfoliation, anti-ageing and as a good general solution for a range of skin problems.

Ferulic acid

This is one of the key AHA anti-ageing ingredients in skincare products. It’s a plant-derived acid used to treat and prevent sun damage, fine lines, age spots and wrinkles.

Salicylic acid

As I mentioned earlier, this acid comes from willow bark and is the BHA usually used in skincare products. It’s used to treat acne, sun damage and age spots and to calm redness and reduce inflammation.

Hyaluronic acid

This acid isn’t actually an AHA or BHA, so the word ‘acid’ is slightly misleading name. It occurs naturally in the body and is a very nourishing, hydrating and plumping ingredient used in moisturisers and serums.

Take professional advice…

With acid-based skincare products it’s always important to test out small areas of skin first when trying new products so always have a professional consultation.

And you may need to be more careful with some acid products if you have dry or sensitive skin.

I always advise that it’s also vital to use at least a SPF 30+ sunscreen every day when using skincare products that contain acid as they can increase sensitivity and make you more prone to sunburn.

Call 07734 543445 to book your free consultation to find out which products will best tackle your skincare challenges and how to use them safely