Lovely Science: The Basics Of Beauty Acids

Lovely Science: The Basics Of Beauty Acids

I’ve recently begun to pay more attention to my skincare routine, reading up on beneficial ingredients and such.

Though I have always been a cosmetics obsessed fangirl, skincare is something that I was pretty much clueless about (and straight up ignored, to be honest) until relatively recently.

Makeup wipes and a good-to-great SPF 15-moisturizer combo is all you need for skincare, right? As someone officially in her mid-20s now, I was starting to think maybe not.

Now something that both confused and terrified me was seeing a whole bunch of “acid” ingredients listed on my different skincare products. Um, what are they, why are they in my skincare products, why are there so many kinds and am I about to accidentally melt my face off?!

Well, to dull my anxiety and better educate myself, I decided to do a little research to be a bit more in-the-know about what’s in my products. So here is a very basic look at a few skincare acids and what they’re doing for you.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

There are a few different kinds of alpha hydroxy acids that you’ll see in skincare; lactic acid, citric acid and glycolic acid, are all examples of AHA’s. AHA’s are considered fantastic exfoliants, which works by eating away at the dead surface layer of skin. After using these acids, you can expect the fresh skin left behind to be less dull, more even in tone and you might even notice the appearance of wrinkles being reduced. This makes AHA’s a great first step of any anti-aging beauty routine.

One thing to note about AHA’s is that they can make the skin a bit more sensitive to the sun. So, try pairing these products up with a light sunscreen before going outside. Don't be afraid to throw on a large-brimmed hat either!

Hyaluronic Acid

This acid has literally saved my skin. My skin is extremely sensitive, because I have facial eczema which flairs up from time to time. This is one of the reasons why I shied away from skincare products in the past, because any new products could give me a reaction that takes weeks to fully clear up. 

   Hale Cosmeceuticals '  Dermist M3HA   (price varies)

 Hale CosmeceuticalsDermist M3HA (price varies)

But this ingredient is a game changer for my dry, flaky skin. Since using the totally affordable Valjean Labs Facial Serum, I haven’t had a single dry patch on my face (and I have been reaching for this one for a while).

While you may think that all acids are exfoliants (and therefore will be harsh on the skin), this is not the case. Hyaluronic acid is actually a humectant which is used to keep in moisture. Super hydrating.

Salicylic Acid

This acid is probably the most well-known acid, because it is the beloved beauty acid that will make that stubborn pimple go away by unclogging your pores. Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid and it and its byproducts are used for quite a few things in beauty. 

As I mentioned, it’s a super common acne fighter, but Cosmetics Info (a resource I love!) notes that it can also be used as an exfoliant, hair conditioning agent, sunscreen agent and anti-dandruff agent too. Wow.

Well, I really hope you enjoyed this little science lesson on beauty acids. Of course there are a million more to talk about, but these are arguably the most common, at least in the beauty sphere. 

Just to be clear, my advice is not intended to be used for medical purposes. I know you’re rolling your eyes, but I thought I’d throw my disclaimer in here. Use the info I’ve provided as a jumping off point; do your research, then bring relevant topics up with your doctor or dermatologist to get their insight. To deal with my facial eczema, I’ve tried alllllll sorts of things, but I always get my doctor's input first.

After all, I only have one face!

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