FACIAL ACIDS: THE QUICK, DIRTY & ANTIAGING
Why you should add facial acids to skincare routine
No, we are not talking about corrosive chemicals bubbling over test tubes in chemistry class. We are talking Facial acids as part of your skincare regimen. Facial Acids as a necessary step on your path to glowing skin and we are here to help you add facial acids to skincare routine.
Facial Acids are an integral part of skin rejuvenation.
They have some of the most beneficial ingredients in skincare and are recommended by dermatologists as key tools to targeting fine lines and wrinkles. Aside from revving up skin cell turnover through light exfoliation, some facial acids also have hydrating properties, numerous antiaging benefits and treat many different skin conditions.
“If you have anti-aging, anti-acne, or anti-dry-skin concerns — or, in other words, are human — acids can drastically help you deal with your face. (And, no, using them doesn’t feel like a chemical peel.) They work by helping you get new skin quicker through a process dermatologists call “turnover.” – Forbes (1)
Facial acids are popping up in a plethora of antiaging formulations, such as masks, peels, serums and moisturizers. You are likely already putting on your skin without even knowing it. Vitamin C, for instance, is an acid used in many antiaging products on the market.
The Quick, Dirty & Antiaging:
- Antiaging and Wrinkles
- Acne Prevention
- Unblock pores
- Antioxidant Protection
- Dark spots
- Youthful complexion
- Uneven skintone
Ready to add facial acids to skincare routine?
There’s an acid to suit every skin type but not all are created equal. Using facial acids as part of your skincare regimen can be intimidating at first. It can also get confusing when trying to figure out what acids are right for your skin and which ones to incorporate into your routine.
Want to add facial acids to skincare routine but not sure where to start? We are here to help!
Alpha hydroxyl Acids (AHAs) & Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
There are two main types of acids: Alpha hydroxyl Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). They both serve as a skin exfoliation system but in different ways. Without getting too technical, the acids’ structure is different so how they penetrate skin is different.
1. Alpha hydroxyl Acids (AHAs)
AHAs are water soluble, derived from fruit, sugarcane or milk. They exfoliate by breaking down the surface, dead layers of the skin, revealing fresh, youthful skin from underneath. There are many different AHAs but Glycolic and Lactic are the most popular.
Glycolic Acid (Sugar cane)
Glycolic is the most common AHA. It has the smallest molecular structure, so it is the most easily absorbed by skin for maximum benefits. (2)
Glycolic acid breaks down the bonds that hold skin cells together in the outer layers so dead skin cells shed off and encourage quicker cell turnover.
- Treats sun damaged skin & acne scarring
- Has brightening and lightening effects on skin
- Regulates melanin synthesis
- Stimulates collagen within deeper layers of skin
It is suggested to use a low percentage of glycolic acid when first starting out, such as 5% glycolic acid, never more than 10% for at home treatments. It is normal to feel a mild tingling sensation upon application.
Lactic Acid (milk or fruit sugars)
Lactic Acid is similar to Glycolic acid, but has larger molecules so is well tolerated by most skin types. It stays on the outer layers of the skin so is a good option for sensitive skin or those cautious about exfoliating. Lactic acid is unique, as it gently exfoliates skin while acting as a humectant, which draws hydration to the skin’s outer layers.
- Moisturizing exfoliant
- Good option for sensitive skin
- Improves uneven skin tone
- Treats dark pigment
- Prevents skin dryness
- Diffuses signs of stressed skin
2. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
BHAs are oil-soluble, that penetrate deeply into skin to unclog sebum buildup without stripping skin. This is a great option for those with oily skin, blemished, acne-prone, blackheads and milia. The most commonly used BHA is Salicylic Acid.
Salicylic Acid (Willow tree bark, sweet birch bark or wintergreen leaves)
If you suffer from acne or oily skin, salicylic acid treatments should be at the top of your skincare list. Salicylic acid is lipid/fat soluble and is structured to penetrate skin’s pores to loosen clogs, blackheads and whiteheads. It is used to clear acne, bumpy texture, redness and inflammation.
“Salicylic acid penetrates into your skin and works to dissolve the dead skin cells clogging your pores.” (3)
There are not just benefits for acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid brightens, smooths and rejuvenates skin. It improves discolouration and moderately stimulates collagen.
- Gets below oil that’s clogging up skin
- Calms skin and minimizes irritation
- Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
- Alleviates clogged pores and blackheads
- Breaks down pimples and comedones
- Large pores (pores look bigger when clogged with dead skin)
- Does not strip skin
- Encourages collagen production
Those allergic to aspirin should avoid using salicylic acid.
3. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Dubbed the “Holy Grail of Skincare ingredients” by Allure Magazine, Ascorbic Acid (or L-Ascorbic Acid) has reached legendary status because of one simple reason: It works. It has become the gold standard of ingredients and is one of the most essential steps in beauty regimens on the path to youthful, glowing skin. Vitamin C is one of the best way to add facial acids to skincare routine for optimal antiaging benefits.
Commonly known as Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid is a potent antioxidant that has been highly researched and has shown to have numerous benefits for skin. It has proven to effectively prevent and reverse the signs of aging, such as photoaging and dark pigmentation.
- Antioxidant properties
- Even skin tone
- Lighten dark spots and pigment
- Reduce signs of aging
- Diminish fine lines & wrinkles
- Brighten skin
- Reduce inflammation and sun damage
- Boost production of collagen
- Acne & acne scarring
So, hell yeah, Vitamin C can be a serious game changer when it comes to boosting skin’s regeneration process.
A concentration of 10-20 percent is ideal for quicker results, but it depends on skin’s tolerance.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and a notoriously unstable molecule, easily oxidizing in UV light and degrading in a short period of time. Being paired with other antioxidants, such as Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E, can improve its stability and can double its photoprotection of skin. (6)
Those with extremely sensitive skin should be cautious when using Ascorbic Acid. Fortunately, there are other analogues of Vitamin C than just Ascorbic Acid.
* 5 Super Fruit VitaComplex – stable and pure form of Vitamin C extracted from cell wall of plants. USDA Certification. 20% potency.
** Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate – less irritating, water soluble, good option for dry and sensitive skin.
*** Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate – stable analogue of L-ascorbic acid that is fat soluble.
3. Ferulic Acid
This plant-based compound (found in cell walls of plants & certain fruit) can have a big impact on your skin’s health. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant to help preserve skin’s integrity, slow down skin’s aging process and protect main skin structures from free radical damage.
Ferulic Acid works well on its own for antiaging but is also used as a booster in skincare formulations with other antioxidants. As noted above, it increases the potency of Vitamin C & Vitamin E, while it can provide a sunscreen effect for extra protection when applied before your SPF.
“A study found that one-time exposure to UV rays significantly decreased these cells’ viability (ability to do their job protecting and healing the skin) to 28%—but after application of ferulic acid, the skin cells’ viability was restored to 98%.” (9)
- Improves efficacy and integrity of other antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E & Resveratrol
- Reduces potential for sagging skin
- Tackles dark discolouration
- Fights off free radicals and environmental aggressors
- Superior antiaging benefits
- Rejuvenation of skin cells
- Anti-inflammatory properties
4. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid holds the secret to plump, glowing and radiant skin with many scientifically-backed benefits. This sugar molecule is naturally found in our bodies but unfortunately, like many other substances, hyaluronic acid levels begin to decrease thanks to this pesky thing called aging.
Hyaluronic acid functions as a humectant, binding to water to maintain moisture levels, trapping water inside tissue cells. It continues to draw in moisture from the air and surrounding environment, so skin looks and feels more hydrated and plump.
“Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced by your body. The largest amounts of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Its main function is to retain water to keep your tissues well lubricated and moist.” (11)
- Ultimate hydration
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Smooth and plump skin
- Skin rejuvenation
- Calm redness
- Healthier, supple skin
- Accelerate wound healing
For maximum hydration, apply hyaluronic acid to damp skin and follow with a moisturizer to lock it all in. Hyaluronic acid is key when deciding to add facial acids to skincare routine.
Label Tip: Look for hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate.
Sodium Hyaluronate: Derived from hyaluronic acid that is more readily absorbed into skin.
Please read before add facial acids to skincare routine. Please consult with your dermatologist about what skin acids are right for you. It is recommended that you perform a patch test before using any new topical product. Please refer to our FAQs for more information about performing a patch test.
- Everything You Need to Know About Face Acids, Forbes
Glycolic acid, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Can Salicylic Acid Help Treat Acne? Healthline
Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin C, the Holy Grail of Skin-Care Ingredients. Allure.
Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin. The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Vitamin C and Skin Health. Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.
- Vitamin C in dermatology. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
Why Ferulic Acid Is the New Must-Have In Sun Protection. Charlotte’s book.
- Ferulic Acid: The Antioxidant-Boosting Skin Care Ingredient. Healthline.
7 Surprising Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid. Healthline.
Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.