Skincare is of utmost importance these days. We all take all possible measures to take care of our skin and keep it healthy and youthful. Most of us would have seen multiple acids present in today’s skincare products and we all consider that these are not safe for us. But we are not aware that some of the acids are the most useful ingredients present in the creams and serums we use.
Firstly we need to understand that acids can be derived from various sources like fruits, plants, milk and are useful if used under the supervision and guidance of your dermatologist to treat multiple skin concerns like pigmentation, fine lines, dullness, open pores, blemishes, and dark spots.
How does an acid work?
These acids dissolve the chemical bonds between the cells on the skin surface-breaking them apart and allowing them to come away easily. Thus we are using chemistry to exfoliate your skin rather than the cruder manual exfoliation. Different acid works in different ways. There is a range of acid-based creams available these days. So let us have a look at some of the popular acids that are helpful to treat skin concern.
1. Glycolic Acid
It is the most common acid which is AHA or fruit-derived acid. Glycolic acid is available in various strengths and is helpful in exfoliating dead skin cells. Dead skin cell exfoliation removes the layer of pigmented skin cells and thus reduces dark spots, uneven skin tone and also removes dullness. Glycolic acid can absorb moisture from the atmosphere thus makes our skin more supple and hydrated. Except for face creams, this is also found in creams used for cracked heels because of its exfoliating and hydrating properties. Being a fruit-derived acid this is completely safe, but it is still advisable to use it under the supervision of dermatologists as depending on skin sensitivity the concentration that has to be used will vary from person to person.
2. Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a very popular molecule and most of us a familiar with this. It is famous for its anti-oxidant properties. Vitamin C is available in the form of cream, serums, and oral tablets as well. It is well-tolerated in people with sensitive skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties which reduces inflammation and helps soothe the sensitive skin. With increasing pollution levels today, Vitamin C is a boon and must have acid for all of us. Pollution tends to damage our skin a lot by producing free radicals. Vitamin C combat free radicals and also help reduce pigmentation and provide anti-aging benefits. In young adults, it is more capable of producing new collagen and thus improving signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles and delays the ageing process.
3. Retinoic Acid
Retinoic acid is a vitamin A derivative, which is the most used and most studied anti-aging compounds. There are three major components in vitamin A derived retinoid family. Retinol, Retinaldehyde and Retinoic Acid. Retinol and retinaldehyde reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin thus improving the skin color. Retinoids are often used in combination with alpha-hydroxy acids for skin-smoothing effects. It speeds the turnover of superficial skin cells, causing exfoliation of the skin thus reducing the sunspots, pigmentation and softening rough patches of the skin to add glow to your skin. Retinoic Acid is more beneficial in acne and blackheads. Retinols helps in collagen production thus also reduces pore size over the period of time. There are certain points that we need to keep in mind if we are starting retinol in our skincare routine. These can be a little irritating and can result in dryness and redness so mix with a moisturizer and use them. If you are pregnant or lactating or even planning to conceive then DO NOT use retinol. In case you wish to get more information on Retinol based products we have a separate blog on the same.
4. Azelaic Acid
It is a naturally occurring carbon dicarboxylic acid and is mainly used for pigmentation, chemical exfoliation. It has anti-inflammatory properties and hence can be used to reduce the redness on the skin caused by pimples or rosacea. It also reduces the occurrence of comedones. It is anti-bacterial as well. It helps in reducing red marks of pimples and helps to prevent them further.
5. Kojic Acid
It is a very mild acid derived from a fungus. It is a demelanizing agent which has antioxidant properties and hence enhances the depigmenting effect. As it is mild so can be used by people who cannot apply glycolic acid to reduce pigmentation and add glow to the skin.
6. Lactic Acid
As the name suggests it is milk-derived acid. It is advised to start using it at a very low concentration like 5% and then slowly increase once your skin starts getting used to it. It is a good exfoliating agent that removes dead skin cells and brings out glow on the skin. It has moisturizing properties as well which helps in keeping skin hydrated and supple.
7. Salicylic Acid
It is ideal for acne-prone skin which is oily, and has blackheads, whiteheads, and open pores. It is very commonly available in the form of face wash and cleansers. It is beneficial in unclogging the pores, removing blackhead and whitehead and drying out active acne. It is also available in gel formulations and very beneficial in reducing oiliness on the skin.
8. Mandelic Acid
Similar to Salicylic acid, this is also good for oily skin and is available in the form of face washes and gels. Mandelic acid is beneficial as its molecule size is quite smaller than glycolic acid thus causes less irritation on the skin and is more tolerable.
9. Nicotinic Acid
It is also very popularly known in the form of niacinamide or vitamin B3. It helps in repairing and healing the skin barrier disruption, thus maintains and retains the moisture of the skin keeping it hydrated. It is completely safe of sensitive skin also. It can be easily applied during the day and helps in reducing dryness and redness on the skin. It is beneficial in rosacea-prone skin too. It helps in collagen production thus reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
10. Hyaluronic Acid
It is a very moisturizing molecule available in anti-aging creams as it helps in collagen production as well. It is safe for dry and sensitive skin which can get reddened and irritated with retinol-based creams.
One should consult a certified dermatologist before opting for any of the above-mentioned acids. Depending upon the skin concern, the dermatologist would be able to recommend the best skincare regimen as per one’s skin sensitivity, type, and concern.
Keep Healthy! Keep Glowing!