Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids, more commonly known as AHAs
and BHAs, are some of the most important ingredients in skin care products, yet
most buyers don’t know exactly what they each do and why they’re important.
Understanding acids in skin care is the only way to make the
right choice, whether you’re buying an overnight moisturizer or selecting a
facial at a spa. From the basic things you know about all acids that can help
your skin to more details about the most effective ones, here’s what you need
of Acids at Lower Concentrations
When you’re using skin care with AHAs or BHAs, you’re not
supposed to experience any extreme side-effects. If you’re experiencing
persistent redness or flaking, you’re simply using a product with an acid
concentration that’s too high for your skin. You can skin get a glowing finish
by using skin care that mixes more types of acids with lower concentrations, or
you can mix products yourself.
AHAs and BHAs Can
Work Wonders for Sensitive Skin
If your skin gets easily irritated, you might be avoiding
retinoids and acids in skin care products. However, only retinoids contribute
to inflammation. You might experience some irritation after a product with
acids, but it usually goes away once your skin gets used to it. Don’t start
using them daily until a few weeks from your first try, and opt for formulas
that contain an amino-acid mixed with an AHA or BHA.
Find the Right pH for
Unfortunately, most skin care products that include acids in
their formula offer no information on the pH. The easiest way to determine
whether it’s the right one is to notice your reaction when you apply the
product. A tingling sensation that last only for a few seconds is what you
should be experiencing to know the product is working. If you don’t feel
anything or if you experience redness, then the pH is either too low or too
You Can’t Treat Deep
Wrinkles with Acids
There are no good acids in skin care products that can
reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles, and if the product description promises
that, you should avoid it. Acids can help even out your skin tone and minimize
the appearance of fine lines, but they won’t work on deep wrinkles.
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You Can Use Them All
Over Your Body
Your face may get the most obvious effects from AHAs and
BHAs, but they can also help you on other areas. Clogged pores and bumps,
especially those caused by ingrown hairs, can be fixed with a lotion with
acids. Salicylic acid, particularly in a body wash, is a great way to get rid
of back acne.
When you’re considering acids in skin care, glycolic acid
should be your top priority. It’s the most effective AHA, since it penetrates
deeper than the rest. You can use it to treat uneven skin texture and tone, get
rid of flakiness, and to get rid of fine lines, since it helps regenerate
While you can only get glycolic acid in cosmetics, lactic
acid can also work on your skin with a homemade mask that includes milk or
yogurt. However, at the right concentration and pH in skin care products, it’s
perfect for sensitive skin.
Unlike most acids in skin care, retinoic acid is
prescription-only, but it’s worth a trip to your dermatologist for the
excellent anti-aging effect. If you don’t want to get fillers or laser
procedures, but still minimize the appearance of your wrinkles, this is a top
Oleic and Linoleic
Usually found in oils for your skin, these are two acids in
skin care that work best when they’re combined. Oleic acid has anti-aging
effects and helps heal and refresh your skin, while linoleic acid is a good
option for acne, and it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
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One of the most gentle acids in skin care products, mandelic
acid is excellent for exfoliation, and it can help clean out your pores while
also improving skin texture.
You may know it as a filler, but hyaluronic acid is also a
great moisturizer. Unlike most AHAs and BHAs, it does not have a powerful