Photo by Andreas Fidler on Unsplash

Just hearing the word ‘acid’ may lead your mind to conjure up images from a horror movie, yet it all depends on the product you’re talking about. These days, a bevy of acids – everything from citric right through glycolic acid – are the star players in skincare products that everyone wants to own. Acids can help skin rejuvenate, regenerate, hydrate, and exfoliate. These are just a handful of useful products that can form a part of every beauty buff’s daily routine.

Hyaluronic acid for hydration

The reason why lines and wrinkles appear, and skin tends to take on a dull appearance as we age, is because our levels of collagen production begin to decline. Hyaluronic acid, which is naturally produced by the body, promotes collagen synthesis but also helps skin retain moisture. It also enhances flexibility and elasticity and is, therefore, a popular component of many high-end moisturizing products for the face.

Glycolic and lactic acid for exfoliation

Many beauty lovers try out acids for skin for the first time to give their exfoliation routine a kick. There are a plethora of mild acid peels containing glycolic or lactic acid, which work superficially on the skin but which efficiently boost cell turnover. Mild acid peels work by breaking down the substances that ‘glue’ dead skin together. Once this bond is broken, dead skin cells (which cause dullness and clog up pores) can be more easily eliminated.

Salicylic acid

If you have acne, blackheads or oily skin, this acid is probably already on your home beauty shelf. It is highly efficient at unclogging pores and reducing blemishes. It kills bacteria that can cause pimples to become infected and has also been found to be efficient with keratosis pilaris (hard bumps that are impossible to ‘pop’).

L-Ascorbic acid

This acid is also known as Vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps battle the free radicals that cause the skin to become inflamed and age prematurely. It is commonly found in products targeting dark spots and hyperpigmentation. This acid stimulates the production of collagen, which means fewer lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Ferulic acid is yet another antioxidant that is used for the same purpose.

Amino acids

These crucial acids are the building blocks of protein; they are needed to build skin, muscle, and all other tissues. When present in skincare products, they serve as water-binding agents, leading to smoother, more hydrated, softer skin. Make sure to support your skincare routine with a healthy diet, sourcing amino acids from foods such as lean meat, eggs and dairy, and plant-based sources such as quinoa, tofu, beans, and nuts.

Retinoic acid

This ingredient is arguably Queen when it comes to turning back the hand of time; it is present in a bevy of mid-to-high-end anti-aging products. It is obtained when retinol is converted into acid upon application to the skin. It works on various levels, fighting wrinkles, aging, blemishes, and sagging.

We have mentioned just a few popular acids used in skincare, though there are many more which are recommended by dermatologists and pharmacists. If you need a boost in fighting aging or clearing up your pores, acids can give you a big boost, but remember to do a skin patch test first to check that you tolerate them well; sensitive skin can have adverse reactions so make sure to get the okay from your dermatologist before trying peels or stronger products.

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