Understanding Face Acids: How to Choose the Right One for Your Skin

Jun. 18, 2020
Skincare acids have wonderful benefits for your skin but the trick is knowing which one is best for you!
Acids on your skin?!? With skincare acids, you can ditch the image lingering in your mind from chemistry class years ago. Skincare acids are everywhere now, in cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and even hydrating oils. Each of these acids delivers different effects though which is why it’s important to choose one that can address your skin woes. You can brighten, clear up skin, and fight the signs of aging when you use skincare acids, if you use them right.
Follow the guide below to help you find a skincare acid that helps you improve your skin! 
Problem: Dull or Aging Skin
Solution: Hyaluronic Acid
If your skin lacks luster or looks parched and mature, hyaluronic acid will be your new favorite skincare ingredient. It’s a humectant that attracts moisture from the atmosphere that plumps skin up instantly.
Interestingly, your body naturally produces this acid, but over time, it makes less and less. When you start using hyaluronic acid-infused skincare products, it delivers with instant smoothness and hydration as well as improves it over time. Ideally, you should use it at night in the form of a serum. You can use it in daytime formulas too but it can make skin more sensitive to sunburn so always use sunscreen with it. Despite that minor flaw though, it’s a skin-saver for most skin types, one that is highly unlikely to cause irksome irritations. 
Problem: Rough Texture and Dull Skin
Solution: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Exfoliation is the key to having skin that looks amazing. AHAs are derived from both food and plant sources. Citric acid comes from citrus fruit while mandelic acid comes from plants. Lactic acid comes from milk and the most popular (and best performing) of them all is glycolic acid which comes from sugar. 
While they’re all water-soluble, they do best with surface issues on the skin. Most skin types can handle them though sensitive skin may find it irritating. Glycolic acid tends to cover a lot of territory in that it can exfoliate to smooth out texture and improve healthy cell turnover while revealing brighter and more revitalized skin.
Problem: Breakouts and Congested Pores
Solution: Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) 
BHAs bind to oil rather than water which means they are a prime match if you have oily skin or frequent breakouts. Perhaps the best one though is salicylic acid which first exfoliates to destroy the buildup of dead skin cells, excess oil, and acne-causing bacteria, then dissolves it away to clear out your pores. 
With breakouts, it’s important to get to the root of the cause to end the problem of pimples. By stopping that cycle, you’ll finally see clear skin. If you have sensitive skin though, you’ll need to be extra careful since it can dry skin out. Nighttime use is best but regardless of skin type, never use it with retinoids for the combination will definitely leave you high and dry. 
Problem: Aging Skin and Dullness
Solution: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Perhaps one of the best ways to beautiful, bright, and youthful skin is through ascorbic acid. Also known as vitamin C, when applied topically, this powerful antioxidant stops free radicals from destroying your collagen stores. Collagen is what makes skin look young, plump, and firm so if aging, sagging skin is your concern, you will want to use this acid. 
Yes, eating a diet rich in vitamin C is a good thing too, but to really revive skin, look for it in its most stable form in your skincare, tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate. In addition to firming up skin and encouraging it to produce more collagen, ascorbic acid also harmonizes skin tone so if you have hyperpigmentation, you’ll want to add this to your regimen too. 
Problem: Rapidly Maturing Skin
Solution: Retinoic Acid
Another skincare acid to use when your skin starts showing signs of aging is retinoic acid which is derived from vitamin A. This one increases collagen production and encourages healthy skin cell turnover. Most over-the-counter formulations with retinol convert to retinoic acid once they are applied to your skin though prescription formulas already contain retinoic acid that’s ready to go.
The difference is that prescriptions will be stronger and more effective, however, the are also more harsh and irritating to skin. The price is often far greater too though it can certainly be worth it, considering it costs less than fillers or other injections. 
Retinoic acid is the gold standard for aging skin, though it takes time to see the effects. It should only be used at night, starting with the lowest concentration to avoid irritating skin, then working your way up to a stronger one. 
Don’t Forget to Protect Skin Acid-Treated Skin
With skincare acids, it’s important to remember your sunscreen every day when you go out into the world. Even if you’re not spending time luxuriating under the sun, every second of exposure can lead to damage down the road. Don’t make more work for those skin acids by keeping skin safe when you leave your home. 
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