Shopping for skincare products is starting to sound awful lot like a chemistry class-AHA, PHA, Glycolic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinols, etc. If reading these names on a skincare product conjures images of test-tubes and chemical burns in your mind, you’re not the only one. But on the contrary to this misconception, these active ingredients are what are largely responsible for creating that visible difference to your skin. Such ingredients simply work to lower the PH levels of the skin, putting it in an acidic state, which then dissolves/gets rid of dead skin cells.
My new-found affinity with acid based skincare began when a friend could not stop raving about the benefits of the 10% Niacinamide Face Serum by Minimalist for her acne-prone skin. Being the skincare hoarder that I am, I had to find an acid that targeted my skin concerns and promised speedy results. It is difficult to obtain an even skin tone (I know my melanin queens will agree) with pigmentation intensifying as we age. Lathering SPF twice a day surely protects the skin cells from damage, but our skin needs more than just that to catalyse the regeneration of these cells. Here’s where an acid-based serum can come in handy. I opted for the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA 1% Face Serum from Minimalist that promises to “dramatically reduce dark spots and blemishes for an even-looking skin” and to say the least, I am hooked! I use 2-3 drops in the AM and PM, after cleansing and before moisturising and SPF. Just as the cardboard box that this serum came in claims, I could see a visible difference in my blemishes and skin tone within 14 days.
If you’re an acid virgin, here are a few recommendations for you to gradually up your skincare game.
Glycolic Acid for Everybody
Glycolic aid is the most popular and most often recommended by dermatologists because it is gentle and has anti-aging properties. Compared to other acids, this one has smaller molecules therefore easily penetrates the skin. As of anti-aging, this acid stimulates collagen to help with fine lines and wrinkles. For starters, Glycolic acid is the safest and most effective addition to make to your skincare regimen.
Salicylic Acid for Acne
Having tried and tested a zillion products for your stubborn acne, it is safe to assume, you’ve already tried salicylic acid. The ubiquity of this ingredient in products that treat acne, is proof enough for its efficacy. Its anti-inflammatory properties dissolve dead-skin build-up, so reach for products with this acid when trying to get rid of a zit.
Hyaluronic Acid for Dehydration
This one is a go-to for dry and dehydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid a natural carbohydrate and humectant found in a human’s body that lubricates and cushions the skin. This acid is found in high amounts in our bodies as babies but decreases as we age. To rejuvenate and lubricate your skin again, invest in a bottle of hyaluronic acid.
Lactic Acid for Exfoliation
The rarest of all-Lactic Acid, is a moisturising exfoliant. A milder version of glycolic acid, its great to achieve a smooth texture on your face. The mildness of which makes this a great pick for those with sensitive skin.
If you’re too scared to take-on the acid route to repair your skin concerns, try a wash! By doing so, you limit the amount of contact time with the skin and avoid over exfoliation or dryness. When it comes to results with acid based skincare products, patience is the key! You can only tell if the acids have been working for your skin, over time. Acids are generally touted to give you a noticeably brighter and evened out skin with a smoother texture. However, if your skin starts to appear red, itchy, dry and irritated, consider that a cue for having over-used these acids and amp up your moisturising game!
We would love to hear how you incorporate these essential face acids in your skincare routine and about its phenomenal results in the comments below!!