Acids for Your Skin? Yes, Please!
The word “acid” is not the most inviting word - especially when you think of intentionally putting acid on your skin.
(You may have heard about Gerard Butler accidentally rubbing phosphoric acid on his skin while filming the movie, Plane. Needless to say, phosphoric acid is not recommended for your skin.)
Acid as a skincare ingredient sounds intimidating. It makes sense. Acids are probably most known for their ability to burn and cause serious harm to the skin.
However, some acids are actually beneficial for your skin - you want to see the following acids listed as ingredients in your skincare products:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
- Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
We’ll give you a rundown of these acids, their benefits, how to use them, and examples of products where you can find them.
What are the similarities and differences between AHAs and BHAs?
Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid are chemical exfoliants that are not new to skincare, but both have recently received more attention.
The most significant difference is that AHAs are water-soluble and BHAs are oil-soluble. Since AHAs are water-soluble, they tend to work more on the surface of the skin whereas oil-soluble BHAs penetrate more deeply into the skin.
AHAs and BHAs improve the skin’s appearance through exfoliation. Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin to reveal the fresh skin underneath. AHAs exfoliate by dissolving dead skin cells. BHAs go deeper into the pores to exfoliate by removing dirt and oil.
Generally, AHAs have better moisturizing properties than BHAs.
AHAs are typically recommended for people who have dry or normal skin. BHAs are typically recommended for oily skin types or people who are prone to acne and/or large pores. BHAs also tend to work well on sensitive skin.
What are the skin benefits of AHAs and BHAs?
The leading benefit of both AHAs and BHAs is their ability to exfoliate and therefore promote smoother, brighter skin. While some benefits of these two skin acids are similar, each type has its advantages.
Benefits of Alpha Hydroxy Acids
AHAs are primarily used for anti-aging benefits, but can also be used to improve acne. Specific benefits of AHAs include:
- Reduce wrinkles and fine lines
- Improve overall skin texture
- Fade hyperpigmentation and acne scars
- Increase collagen production
- Restore radiance
- Even skin tone
- May provide antioxidant protection
Benefits of Beta Hydroxy Acids
BHAs are primarily used for acne and skin texture. Additional benefits of BHAs include:
- Unclog pores
- Refine and soothe the skin
- Fight acne
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve skin tone and texture
- Calm red, irritated skin
What are the different forms of AHAs and BHAs?
The most common forms of Alpha Hydroxy Acid include Citric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Mandelic Acid. The most common BHA is Salicylic Acid. Let’s discuss each type!
Citric Acid (AHA)
Citric Acid is probably the least popular skin acid, but when combined with Glycolic Acid, it promotes deeper exfoliation.
Citric Acid contains the reputable antioxidant, Vitamin C. Specific benefits include fading discoloration, evening out skin tone, minimizing blemishes, unclogging pores, and smoothing fine lines.
Glycolic Acid (AHA)
Glycolic Acid is considered to be one of the best skincare ingredients for anti-aging, in part due to its ability to efficiently penetrate the surface of the skin.
Glycolic Acid exfoliates dead skin cells by removing the “glue,” a buildup of sebum oil, that holds them together. Products that are applied after are thus able to work more effectively.
In addition, Glycolic Acid stimulates collagen production, which contributes to its anti-aging powers.
Glycolic Acid can be drying so it is important to follow it with a moisturizer. Those with sensitive skin or rosacea are typically advised to not use Glycolic Acid.
Lactic Acid (AHA)
Lactic Acid is found in many types of skincare ingredients including cleansers, moisturizers, toners, and masks.
Lactic Acid helps reveal brighter, more radiant skin by removing dead skin cells. In addition, Lactic Acid can benefit acne, discoloration, skin texture, dull skin, and fine lines. Some research has shown that Lactic Acid may also help firm and plump the skin.
An option for people with sensitive skin, Lactic Acid tends to cause less irritation and is more hydrating. If you are considering introducing an AHA into your skincare routine, Lactic Acid is often recommended as a good one to start with because it is one of the most gentle.
Mandelic Acid (AHA)
Mandelic Acid is another gentle AHA that exfoliates old, dead cells from the skin’s surface. Its specific benefits include improving uneven skin tone and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Also, Mandelic Acid firms the skin and increases skin elasticity. It reduces acne by unclogging pores, dissolving blackheads, and controlling sebum production.
Mandelic Acid penetrates the skin very slowly, which makes it less irritating and it may be a better option for individuals with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Salicylic Acid (BHA)
Salicylic Acid is a common ingredient in over-the-counter acne products. It is typically recommended for people with oily or combination skin.
It exfoliates the skin but also works deep in the pores to break up and unclog sebum, fight acne, reduce redness, and calm inflammation.
This article goes in-depth about the benefits of Salicylic Acid for your skin.
Kate Ryan Skincare’s Salicylic Cleanser offers a deep, gentle clean while fighting acne and free radicals, reducing inflammation, maintaining hydration, and more!
How do you use AHAs and BHAs?
Products containing AHAs should be applied before your moisturizer and serums, and products with BHA should be applied after your moisturizer.
If you are using both AHAs and BHAs, a first is recommended because it will help the BHA get deeper into the pores. If using these acids together causes irritation, another option is to alternate the use of the AHA and BHA.
While sunscreen is a must for every daytime skincare routine, it is especially important when using AHAs and BHAs because they can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Kate Ryan Skincare’s Triple Effect Skin Resurfacing formula is powered by three AHAs - Glycolic, Lactic, and Mandelic - for toning, exfoliating, hydrating, brightening, improving acne, and so much more! Gentle enough for most skin types, these easy-to-use pads are intended for all age groups, including those in the pubescent years who are struggling with skin issues and/or are learning to care for their skin.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)?
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a natural metabolic antioxidant, which is the base for its anti-aging properties and its ability to reduce inflammation.
ALA is also known as a potent fighter of free radicals. It protects the skin from damage by free radicals, including sun damage and pollution.
Other benefits of ALA include:
- Exfoliates the skin
- Decreases hyperpigmentation
- Protects from the degradation of collagen
- Reduces wrinkles
- Smooths skin texture
- Unclogs pores
- Prevents acne breakouts
ALA is a valuable ingredient loaded with major skin advantages. You can find ALA in many Kate Ryan Skincare products including:
- 4% DMAE Firming Repair Serum
- Vitamin C Daytime Repair Serum
- Total Nutrition Night Repair Complex
- Collagen Booster Intense Repair Serum
- Salicylic Cleanser
Click here to find even more KRS products that contain ALA in its high-powered formulas!
Interested in learning more about Alpha Lipoic Acids? Click here for an informative article from healthnews.com.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic Acid is another acid for your skin that is loaded with benefits, but it is a natural humectant rather than an AHA or BHA.
According to this article from The Cleveland Clinic, Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin stretch and flex and reduces wrinkles and lines. It also helps wounds heal faster and can reduce scarring.
Due to its ability to retain water, Hyaluronic Acid is often an ingredient in moisturizers and serums.
You can find Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Serum in the Kate Ryan Skincare online Shop. It is an oil-free serum that both moisturizes and protects the skin. It improves smoothness and elasticity, restores plumpness and bounce, and keeps the skin hydrated. Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Serum is known as a lower-cost, more natural alternative to injections.
Kate Ryan Skincare products use the top ingredients and proven science in skincare, in the appropriate synergy and concentrations. That’s why our clients see great results!
Acids that can be used on your skin are loaded with benefits. The trick is finding the products that work best for you. We are happy to help! Send us an email with your skin concerns or questions and we will gladly respond.
*If you are using skincare products that contain chemical exfoliants, please make sure that your skincare routine also includes sunscreen.