It's very easy to get concerned or anxious at the thought of putting acid on your skin. I guess when a lot of us hear the word acid, we instantly think of flesh melting away, like a scene from a Saw movie.
In reality though, there are many acids that are actually very beneficial to our skin. Firstly it's worth remembering that any substance with a pH of 6.9 or lower is acidic. Also a normal range of pH for our skin is anywhere between 4.5 and 6.2, so our skin is also acidic.
It therefore make sense that our skin likes acids. It knows them. It feels comfortable with them.
That is if they're within a 'safe' pH range and used correctly of course!
Check the ingredients listing on ANY skincare product and you'll probably see a whole heap of acids but I want to share 3 in particular that have helped transform my skin. To help keep me acne free for the longest time in a decade and improve the overall appearance and condition of my skin.
1. Glycolic Acid. An Alpha-hydroxy Acid or AHA for short. AHA's occur naturally and are derived from the sugars of selected plants and fruits. AHA's encourage the desqumation (shedding) of dead skin cells. Glycolic Acid is the most effective AHA, as it works at the base of the stratum corneum (also known as 'horny layer') by dissolving the 'glue' that holds the dead skin cells together.
This increases cell turnover. Skin becomes smoother and more even in tone. The great thing about Glycolic Acid though is it also stimulates collagen production, giving skin a more plump appearance (goodbye fine lines).
Glycolic Acid can be used to treat Acne, Sun Damage, Discolouration, Scars, Dry Skin & Age Spots.
The downsides of Glycolic Acid is it can be very irritating on the skin. So may not suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Glycolic Acid works best at a pH between 2.0 and 3.5, although the lower you go, the stronger the product, the higher the risk of irritation.
It's important to use sunscreen all year round but even more so when using Glycolic Acid. The skin can be more sensitive to the sun. You also want to prevent any further damage from the sun (otherwise all your hard work will be undone!).
An example of a Glycolic Acid treatment currently in my regime is the Bravura London 15% Glycolic Acid Detoxifying Gel. Which I am currently using about 3-4 times a week, in the evenings.
2. Salicylic Acid. A Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA for short. Salicylic Acid also encourages the shedding of dead skin cells, except it has the ability to penetrate deeper into the oil gland and dissolves oil more effectively, exfoliating the pore and dissolving blockages such as blackheads etc. Salicylic Acid is therefore more effective at treating acne and blocked pores.
Salicylic Acid is sometimes seen as a safer alternative to Glycolic Acid. This is generally because it's much less irritating than Glycolic Acid. However Salicylic is actually a stronger acid than Glycolic, so therefore used in much lower quantities. The problem with a lot of 'acne skincare products' that contain Salicylic Acid, is they just don't contain enough to be effective. Check the ingredients listing and it will generally appear towards the end.
An example of a Salicylic Acid treatment currently in my regime is the Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask. Although I can't be sure of it's % content, Salicylic Acid does appear about half way up the list, so I'm guessing it's between 3-5%, which is quite strong, so may not be suitable for sensitive skins (I'll be back with a full review of this product soon).
I'm currently using this once a week, which is enough for my skin at the moment. I was however using the Super Facailist Purifying Cleansing Wash and Super Facialist Mattifying Moisturiser, both of which contain Salicylic Acid, on a daily basis when my pores were blocked.
3. Hyaluronic Acid. Although an acid, is completely different to the AHA's and BHA's already discussed. Hyaluronic Acid is found naturally in the skin, we produce it in abundance as children but sadly our ability to produce it decreases with age. Hyaluronic Acid holds up to 1,000 times it's own weight in water and retains it with the 'reticular layer' of the dermis, locking hydration within the skin. Water plays a vital role in our skins health. It helps carry nutrients to the cells and carry waste matter away and therefore needed for healthy cell production. A skin lacking in water (dehydrated) may appear dull, congested, scaly and show signs of premature ageing and fine lines.
An example of a Hyaluronic Acid treatment currently in my regime is Hydraluron serum.
Which I use every morning and evening.
Which I use every morning and evening.
If you suffer from acne, blocked pores, uneven & dehydrated skin like me, then I would definitely recommend trying to incorporate these acids into your skincare regime.