For those that are new to the world of skincare, the word “acid” may come as a bit of a surprise. After all, aren’t acids dangerous? While it’s true that there are many acids that are far too harsh or damaging to be used in skincare products, there are others that (when used with the right potency) can leave your skin looking fresh, radiant, and youthful. This isn’t some new fad either, the use of acids in skincare products have withstood the test of time. History tells us that over 2000 years ago, the legendary Egyptian ruler Cleopatra had beautiful, radiant skin. What was her secret?! Cleopatra took regular baths in spoiled milk, which has lactic acid in it. While we’re not suggesting you start slathering old milk all over your body, we do encourage you to use skincare products with natural acids in them. Let’s take a look at the various types of acids are commonly used in skincare, and what they do.
Is well-known for its ability to fight acne, so you’ll see it in many facial cleansers. It works by breaking down attachments in between cells in the outermost layer of the skin. This can promote exfoliation (which is defined as the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin’s outer surface). Because salicylic is more oil soluble than many acids, it can better penetrate the pores, helping to unclog them and dissolving blackheads.
Is in a category called Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Like salicylic acid, it’s great for exfoliation, taking off that outer layer to reveal brighter, fresher skin. There’s been studies on glycolic acid that show it might assist in raising collagen production, which could have a “plumping” effect. You’ll see this one commonly listed in mask or peel ingredients at higher percentages, but at low percentages it can be used daily.
Is considered a gentler choice than some of the other acids you find in skincare. This is a great product for those with sensitive skin. It will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and sun damage. (Also, like mentioned above, this one was Cleopatra’s favorite!)
Is found naturally in a variety of fruits including apples. It’s used in many anti-aging products, and is recommended for mature skin. Pyruvic acid can even reduce sebum production, and fight bacteria!
Don’t let the word “acid” scare you off. Naturally-occurring acids have been used in high-quality skincare products like masks, peels, cleansers and scrubs for many, many years. If you’re looking for radiant, youthful, supple skin, you’ll want to see the acids listed above in the ingredients of your skincare products. After all, if it worked for Cleopatra, it can work for you!