When used correctly, acid-based products boast a host of complexion boosting benefits. They help to target uneven texture, boot sluggish skin turnover, decongest pores, minimise pigmentation and can even act as a facilitator in encouraging better absorption of your favourite serums and moisturisers. Know this: skin-care acids have some of the most versatile and nutritious ingredients in the complexion recipe book.
As touched upon above, skincare acids help to whisk away dead cells from your skin’s surface, clearing the way for active ingredients to function optimally; essentially, they help other products perform better and along the way, deliver intense hydration and/or that filter-perfect healthy glow. Thanks to active ingredients, liquid exfoliators often prove far more effective than traditional scrubs; as a physical exfoliant will only ever remove the dead skin cells on the surface, however a liquid will do exactly that, but deeper.
So to learn a little more what decision you can make as a customer, here is our basic primer on alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic acid, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and plus, our products that contain these ingredients to shop now.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid, aka AHAs, are a group of organic carboxylic compounds that may be naturally occurring or synthetic. AHAs as liquid/chemical exfoliators actively unbind cells in the top layer of the skin, exfoliating dead skin cells and surface melanin to boost cellular regeneration and increase skin radiant and smoothness. AHAs are water-soluble, so they don’t penetrate too deep below the surface of the skin, but this doesn’t hinder their ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines, scars and dark spots.
This benefits the skin in numerous surface-brightening ways: such as, helping to diminish the appearance of pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, illuminating the skin and helping to combat pimples. AHAs have also been proven to stimulate collagen production, making skin appear firmer. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive anti-aging treatment, then an AHA may be the best fit.
Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size of all the AHAs and arguably provides some of the best results. Because of its miniscule molecular profile, glycolic acid can penetrate outstandingly deep.
Glycolic acid is beneficial in this sense as it’s one of the best for tackling sun damage and dispersing the pigment at the deep basal level of the dermis, where sunspots and melasma are created. This super blemish-fighting ingredient will exfoliate the skin, break down blackheads (yay!) and can also reduce the appearance of age spots and acne scars.
Beta-hydroxy acids (or BHAs) are oil soluble, meaning that they’re particularly effective for spot-prone complexions. BHAs have the ability to travel into the pores for an extra deep cleanout, because they’re oil-soluble they can penetrate beneath the skin’s surface, cleaning out excess sebum from the pores and reducing oiliness. Salicylic acid is the best-known BHA.
BHAs are primarily used for acne and sun damage as they go deep into your hair follicles to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. As a result of these effects, BHAs are most suitable for combination to oily skin. Lower concentrations may be used to help calm sensitive skin. You may also have more success with BHAs if you wanted to reduce rosacea-related redness. BHAs may be best suited if you want to calm down inflammation and get rid of acne.
All considered, whilst these three powerhouse ingredients share similar exfoliating benefits, each ingredient can be used to achieve different skin care goals. Yet some products reign superior in their balance between all three, and here is our pick of the best for you:
Lernberger Stafsing AHA/BHA Gel Peel Mask, £50
Lernberger Stafsing’s high performance multi-action peeling gel mask is formulated with a blend of AHAs and BHAs including glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and salicylic acid to exfoliate dull surface layers and enhance cell renewal to reveal radiant skin. Hydroxy acids are recognised for their ability to refine pore size, dissolve impurities, improve clarity and visibly diminish the appearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles whilst also brightening and evening out skin tone.
Elemental Herbology Balance Resurfacing Pads, £30
Natural acid treatment pads containing 5% Glycolic Acid and 5% AHA's to help to minimise pores, breakouts and fine lines while promoting an even skin tone. Skin is gently exfoliated, helping to increase skin cell turnover for a bright and balanced complexion.
Oskia Renaissance Mask, £55
The luxuriously-textured Renaissance Mask refreshes the complexion through gentle exfoliation by unbinding dry skin cells, activating cellular renewal. It’s a great way to energise, revitalise and brighten the skin for an instant health & radiance boost. Packed with OSKIA’s trademark blend of beauty-boosting nutrients, it aims to increase cell turnover and boost radiance. Pink initially, the luxurious and uniquely textured cream turns white once properly massaged into the skin, so you know when it’s been applied effectively. Suitable for all skin types.
Evolve Miracle Mask, £22
Blended with 100% natural fruit acids and Peruvian Maca - an ancient energy booster, helps to increase cellular renewal and skin radiance and reduces the appearance of ageing whilst papaya acts as a natural exfoliator. Yum!