Would you use a skincare product if you were told that the product contains acid in it? Most of us believe that acids are harmful and burn our skin. But is this true? If so, why are they in our skincare products?

What are they and why are they in skincare products? 

Certain acids in skincare work as a chemical exfoliants that are much gentler than using physical exfoliants such as scrubs that may be too abrasive and harsh on the skin. There are other non-exfoliating acids that can target other skin concerns such as hydration. When used in the right concentration, acids can produce stunning results. Acids in skincare target numerous skin concerns such as acne, texture, wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, scarring, and other skin abnormalities.

What are the benefits of acid to the skin?

Some acids and their benefits include the following:

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) – resurface the skin by breaking down the top layer of dead skin cells while refining and smoothing the outermost layer of the skin. AHAs attract more moisture and are best for things like fine lines and light pigmentation issues.

- Glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane and is best suited for oily, acne-prone skin. It also helps lighten dark spots, reduce fine lines, and smoothen the skin's texture.

- Lactic acid is perfect for those with sensitive skin and also reduces hyperpigmentation and fine lines.

- Mandelic acid is an exfoliating agent that's immensely useful in the treatment of sun damage, acne, and pigmentation. It is less irritating and therefore suitable for sensitive skin.

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) – penetrate deeper levels of the skin by getting into pores and attracting oil. They decongest the pores and target acne and blackheads with some anti-inflammatory properties.

- Salicylic acid is the most common form of BHA that is found in many acne treatments.It relieves the skin of clogged pores and blackheads, reducing bacterial growth with anti-inflammatory properties, and exfoliating the skin.

Other types of Acids:

Ascorbic acid is another name for Vitamin C. It is an antioxidant to brighten the skin fight fine lines and free-radicals, and reduce dark spots.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural humectant naturally found in our bodies that attracts and retains moisture, boosts skin vitality and vibrancy, and is proven to plump, smooth, and hydrate the skin.

Azelaic acid is its own type of exfoliating acid (not AHA or BHA) and is best suited for the treatment of moderate acne. It kills bacteria, keeps the pores clear, and reduces inflammation.

Kojic acid has whitening and anti-ageing properties. It is also used to reduce hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Are acids harmful to your skin?

Most of us believe that acids can be harmful to our skin. Yes, it can be, if the concentration of the substance in the skincare product is more than the tolerance level of your skin. Also, every person is born with a different level of tolerance and skin sensitivity.

Something to keep in mind, is that you should not be using exfoliating acids such as AHA and BHA everyday as this may result in a weakened skin barrier as a result of over exfoliation. You want to be cautious of what type and how often you use these acids to prevent more harm than good. When used in moderation with daily sunscreen application, you get the most benefits out of these chemical exfoliants.

My favorite skincare products with acids:

ISNTREE Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence 

 Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence

BENTON Aloe BHA Skin Toner 

BENTON Aloe BHA SKin Toner

LEADERS Mediu Amino AC Free Mask 

LEADERS Amino AC Mask

Until the next one, 

Stay Glowing