Even though it might sound caustic or scary, acid can be a beneficial ingredient in products for your skin. In fact, a number of products used to moisturize, exfoliate and even heal your skin all contain at least one kind of acid. Unlike retinoids that work to repair the skin by triggering inflammation, many acids yield results by dissolving the upper layer of skin. Let’s explore a few of these ingredients and what they do for your skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
| al·pha-hy·drox·y ac·id
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (commonly called AHAs) are a skincare staple you’ll find in a variety of products, from facial serums to body lotions. A number of acids are considered AHAs, but the most common are glycolic, lactic, and citric acids. These products are great for exfoliating the skin, as they can help reveal the soft, glowing layer underneath. AHAs also increase the thickness of deeper layers of skin, which can help create firmness. AHAs can be found in products designed to treat dry skin, improve the appearance of scars, treat acne, firm and smooth skin, and more.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
| al·pha-li·po·ic ac·id
You’ll find this fatty acid in all cells in your body, but when it comes to skin, its main job is to contribute to smoothness. It penetrates into all parts of the skin cells, as it dissolves in both fat and water.
| ami·no ac·id
This group of acids are the foundation of the proteins that create elastin and collagen in the skin. The aging process and exposure to UV light can destroy amino acids in the skin, creating wrinkles and other problems. Creams and treatments containing amino acids can help repair the damage and restore a youthful appearance.
| ascor·bic ac·id
Sometimes called l-ascorbic acid, this topical form of Vitamin C can help brighten the skin, increase collagen production and can help heal damage caused by free radicals. It’s a popular ingredient in anti-aging products.
| az·e·la·ic ac·id
Normally found in wheat, rye, barley and the yeast living on your skin, azelaic acid is an ingredient you’ll find in rosacea and acne treatments as it can help reduce inflammation and fend off bacteria living in your pores. Other uses include treatments designed to lighten the skin, like those for melasma patches and other hyper-pigmented areas.
Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
| be·ta-hy·drox·y ac·id
Don’t let the name fool you – beta hydroxyl acids shouldn’t be your second choice when it comes to your skin. This group of chemical exfoliates is known for its ability to help smooth fine lines and even out coloration. They can also reach deeply into pores to dissolve blackheads, plugs of sebum and dead skin. Salicylic acid is the most commonly used BHA and is found in many acne washes, creams and peels in low concentrations and even used in over-the-counter wart treatments in higher concentrations.
| fe·ru·lic ac·id
This acid is a plant-derived antioxidant that is used to help reduce damage caused by the sun and helps stabilize vitamins C and E in skin-care and beauty products.
| hy·al·uron·ic ac·id
This sugar molecule is found in your skin might not make you sweet, but it does keep you hydrated. This compound can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, increasing the skin’s moisture content and preventing dryness. You’ll find this hard-working ingredient in products including SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator and can look for results like smoother, more hydrated and healthy looking skin with consistent use.
| ko·jic ac·id
This acid is used as a skin lightener. Especially popular in Japanese and Korean beauty treatments, kojic acid can stop the production of melanin in the skin but also is known to cause irritation when used in high concentrations.
| lac·tic ac·id
This alpha hydroxy acid is actually made from fermented milk and used to exfoliate dead skin cells. Among the more gentle AHAs, lactic acid is usually well-tolerated even by those with sensitive skin or rosacea.
| sal·i·cyl·ic ac·id
This beta hydroxy acid is a strong contender when it comes to over-the-counter acne treatments. You’ll find it in non-prescription cleansers, lotions, make up and treatments for acne-prone skin. Common concentrations range from .05 to 2 percent.
For more information on the skincare products that are right for you, give us a call at (865) 474-8800 or schedule an appointment online.