If you’ve ever found yourself standing in the skincare aisle trying to decipher the different kinds of acids found in beauty products, you may feel like you’ve been thrown back into chemistry class. Hyaluronic, glycolic, lactic, salicylic. How are they different and why does it matter?
To put it simply, acids have become skincare staples because they help to improve skin by inducing cellular turnover. They work by lifting off the build up of dead cells on the skin’s surface to allow new ones to grow below, thus improving your skin texture. Depending on the molecular size and strength of the acid, however, they target different skincare concerns, however using a product incorrectly can be damaging to your skin.
Skincare acids, explained
Let us help demystify them by explaining what each one is and how they can benefit your skin:
Ascorbic acid is a synthetic version of vitamin C, which helps even out skin tone and brightens the skin while diminishing appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to note that they become unstable when open, so they will lose their potency over time.
Meli Glow Illuminating Nectar Mask
A honey mask that deeply nourishes and strengthens the barrier of your skin, delivering a bountiful dose of active enzymes and antioxidant-rich oils.
Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from citrus fruit, and it is an antioxidant-rich acid that helps prevent premature aging. It is suitable for acne-prone or sun-damaged skin because it gently exfoliates to brighten brown spots.
Golden Hour Recovery Cream
A rich, yet fast-absorbing face cream that provides deep hydration and nourishment to smooth, soothe and replenish skin.
Glycolic acid has one of the smallest molecules of the AHA family, which means it penetrates deeply into the skin. Considered one of the best acids for aging skin, it can help improve the appearance of spots, scars and wrinkles while making skin more radiant. A word of caution: if you have sensitive skin, this may be irritating on your skin, so start out by introducing a small amount.
An effective deep cleansing treatment mask that draws out impurities and gently exfoliates to reveal reconditioned, hydrated skin.
Known as the king of hydration, hyaluronic acid is widely known for its ability to hold over 1,000 times its own weight in water and as a humectant, drawing moisture into the skin. It is ideal for aging skin as it improves the appearance of fine lines and plumps the skin.
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Ramblin Rose Soothing Hydrating Serum
A botanical-based, pH-balancing serum that leaves your skin smooth, plumped and primed.
Lactic acid is one of the larger molecules of the AHA family, which means it stays on the outer layers of the skin. It exfoliates and softens fine lines and wrinkles but is less irritating, making it suitable for more sensitive skin types. It is recommended as the first acid to try if you are wary of over exfoliating.
Illuminating Exfoliating Serum
An oil-free, multi-layered serum that hydrates, calms and gently exfoliates.
Also known as beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid penetrates deep into the skin’s layers and helps unclog the pores by dissolving and cleaning out excess sebum build-up. It is great for oily/blemish-prone skin types and can be effective for treating rosacea. Do not use this if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or allergic to aspirin.
Gentle Daily Peel
A gentle exfoliating treatment that promotes a clearer complexion while boosting your glow.
How to incorporate acids into your routine
1. Slow and steady wins the race.
As a rule of thumb, test the formula on your inner arm and wait for 24 hours to see how your skin looks and feels after. If everything is okay, slowly introduce the product into your routine, building up from twice a week to the frequency the product was designed for.
2. Don’t forget your SPF!
Apply your SPF 30 plus, broad spectrum (UVA plus UVB) sunscreen every two to four hours. It is important to protect your skin adequately after using any exfoliating skincare with AHA/BHAs so it does not get burnt or become more prone to pigmentation.
3. Avoid if your skin is flaking, inflamed or cracked.
If your skin barrier is compromised, products that would typically be well-tolerated can cause further irritation and redness. Darker skin tones should also approach with caution as it can cause skin discoloration.