Exfoliating acids are all the rage right now. Let’s understand what they are and why they’re more than just a passing fad.
There is no denying that exfoliating is a vital component of a good skincare regime. However, how you choose to exfoliate is perhaps just as vital. If you want to take your skincare results to the next level, then exfoliating acids are something you should definitely look into.
What are exfoliating acids?
The term ‘acid’ is hardly ever associated with beauty, and for good reason.Exfoliating acids are naturally-occurring and are already present in the foods we eat and many of the skincare products we use. More often than not, an exfoliating acid tends to be from one of these three groups: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). AHAs include lactic, malic, tartaric, citric glycolic, and mandelic acids. The most commonly used BHA is salicylic acid, which is commonly found in treatments for sensitive skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. TCAs are the most widely used acids in skincare and form the crux for many anti-ageing treatments.
What are the benefits?
The benefits that an exfoliating acid can offer primarily depend on two things: the type of product you are using, as well as the concentration of the acid content. Using an exfoliating acid serum helps deliver a more even-toned complexion while reducing any discolouration caused due to ageing, UV exposure, hormones, etc. Collagen production receives a significant boost when skin is exposed to exfoliating acids—fine lines are softened and appear significantly less noticeable.
Which acids are worth looking out for?
Whether you are picking up a moisturiser, serum, or skin peel, keep your eyes open for these incredibly effective exfoliating acids in the ingredients list:
- Acetic acid: For toning and firming up your skin, acetic acid is the answer. It is commonly found in vinegar in very high concentrates; apple cider vinegar is a much better alternative and is often used in DIY face packs as the acetic acid in it is less concentrated.
- Glycolic acid: This AHA does not penetrate too deep into your skin, mostly working on the surface. The end result is a much milder peel and exfoliation.
- Hyaluronic acid: If dry skin is a major concern for you, then hyaluronic acid might just be your new best friend. A natural humectant, hyaluronic acid absorbs and holds moisture, giving your skin a healthy, plumped-up look.
- Lactic acid: Sometimes, despite being on the milder side, glycolic acid can be too strong for your skin’s needs. This is where lactic acid works its magic—it is strong enough to deliver visible results but is as mild an exfoliant as you can get.
- Salicylic acid: If you have ever used an anti-acne product, chances are your skin is already familiar with salicylic acid. Since it is a BHA, it can penetrate the skin with ease, which is why it is great at dealing with pores. Most heavy-duty exfoliants rely on salicylic acid to do the trick.