Three acids that you can’t miss in your skin-care routine
Most probably the term “acids” took you back to those chemistry classes in school. Well, acids no longer belong to just the labs – they also play a crucial role in skin-care. Today we want to talk to you about three acids that your skin can benefit from: Hyaluronic acid, Glycolic acid and Lactic acid.
But first things first, let’s get scientific for a moment:
Most acids that you find in your products’ INCI can be:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
Both the acids function as exfoliators, but in different ways, bringing different benefits to the skin. AHAs (water-soluble acids, such as glycolic acid) exfoliate your skin by breaking down the dead skin cells on the surface while BHAs (oil-soluble acids, such as salicylic acid) sink deeper into your skin pores and unclog them.
The first acid that we want to introduce to you, Hyaluronic Acid, doesn’t work like either AHAs or BHAs. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in the skin - in fact the skin contains about half of the hyaluronic acid in the body. Its primary function is to trap water inside tissue cells, keeping the skin hydrated and supple.
However, levels of hyaluronic acid, secreted by fibroblast cells, significantly decreases as people age, which can lead to dehydrated skin and wrinkles.
Adding Hyaluronic acid-based products to your skin-care routine is a simple and effective way to prevent loss of tone, dry skin and dull complexion as it’s levels begin to fall. Taking hyaluronic acid or using cosmetic products that contain it may improve skin hydration and elasticity while reducing signs of aging.
Moreover, since Hyaluronic acid is a hydrophilic molecule - meaning it loves to be bound to water - it not only absorbs and retains water, it also stops the loss of water through evaporation.
Can you use it every day? Hyaluronic acid is a safe product in its purity as it’s a substance naturally found in the body so it can be used daily for best effects.
Where can you find it: PURE ET LISSE D-CREAM – CLAREGEN COMFORT – LIFT&LIGHT INTENS CREAM – PUFAC CREAM - MELAUT INTENS – CLAREGEN SENSITIVE EXTRA RICH – CLAREGEN SENSITIVE – PURE ET LISSE ULTRASERUM – EAU NOBLE
Glycolic acid is another molecule that has been surfing the trend wave lately.
Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid has the smallest sized molecules of all the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Because of these super tiny molecules, glycolic acid can easily penetrate the skin allowing for a more efficient exfoliation compared to other AHAs.
Glycolic acid’s fame is due to the many benefits it has for the skin: it has effective skin-renewing properties, so it is often used in anti-aging products; it can help smooth fine wrinkles and improve the skin's tone and texture; it plumps the skin and helps boost hydration levels.
But there’s more! Glycolic acid can also help fight sun damage as it fades minor hyperpigmentation and discolorations left by acne or other wounds. Not only that, Glycolic acid sweeps away dull, dead cells and may soften the look of raised scars and pitted scars, but it will not make them disappear.
How does it do it? Glycolic acid works by speeding up the cell turnover. This means it helps dissolve the bonds that hold skin cells together, allowing dead skin cells to slough off more rapidly than they would on their own. A faster cell turnover also leads to the creation of more collagen - the protein that gives skin its firmness, plumpness, and elasticity.
As you age, collagen production naturally slows down and excessive sun exposure can also majorly affect it. Using glycolic acid regularly can help prevent this breakdown of collagen.
Glycolic acid can be a little too harsh sometimes especially if it is present in a too high percentage inside the product you are using. Be particularly careful If you have sensitive or dark skin. Avoid applying a glycolic acid-based product to the skin around the eyes. Finally, since it’s an exfoliator, after its application your skin may be more sensitive, especially to the sun, so it’s generally best to apply it at night.
If you have sensitive skin, please continue reading. Lactic acid might be what you are looking for!
And at last, but definitely not least, here’s what you should know about Lactic Acid.
Derived from milk and/or olives, lactic acid also belongs to alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). It is used to create a mild chemical peel that can help even out your skin tone. It can help address age spots, melasma, and rough texture, along with fine lines.
Lactic acid is naturally found in dairy products - and this is why historically dairy products have been used by people across the world to soften and beautify the skin. Take Cleopatra for example: she regularly bathed in milk to keep her skin looking lovely. And it probably worked, thanks to lactic acid.
However, unlike AHAs such as glycolic acid, lactic acid is a bit milder. This makes a lactic acid peel a better choice for sensitive skin. Lactic acid may also be an option if you’ve tried another AHA in the past and found the product too strong. Lactic acid helps improve the skin's natural moisture factor, or the way the skin keeps itself hydrated. Basically, lactic acid helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry.
Even if it is a milder peeling, it still is removing a layer of your skin, so you still have to protect your skin with sunscreen. Make sure you apply sunscreen every morning and reapply as needed throughout the day.
Fun fact: lactic acid is featured in OTC lotions and creams for keratosis pilaris - or those "chicken skin" bumps on the backs of the arms - because it helps dissolve the plug of skin cells that build up around the hair follicle, smoothing out the bumpiness.
With all this new knowledge we hope you are less afraid of tackling the skin-care world. Do not be afraid of the word “acid” and have fun researching and trying out products that best suit your needs and skin-type.
-All pictures by Sasha_Suzy
Naturalia Sintesi UK, combining Nature and Science for better results.