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Salicylic or hyaluronic: This is your go-to guide on skincare acids

A good skincare regime is attainable only if you know what you’re applying. Here’s a guide to walk you through the crazy world of skincare acids.
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Seen a long list of varying skincare acids? Here’s the help you need. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Updated: 18 Dec 2021, 03:39 pm IST
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If you’re a skincare junkie, then you must have heard all the hullabaloo around skincare acids. Using acids on your skin may sound like a frightening thought to some. But trust us, these acids are not what you think! All facial acids have their own set of skin benefits. But to find one suitable for your skin type and concerning issues, is like a nose dive into the sea.

This is where HealthShots comes into play. We spoke to Dr Sejal Saheta, a dermatologist at Inurskn, on how one should incorporate skincare acids in their beauty routine. “Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acids or Beta-Hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic are increasingly finding their way into toners and serums and also as stand-alone exfoliators. Serums that claim to have Hyaluronic acid as an ingredient generally have derivatives of HA which are barely acidic and are supposed to increase hydration level by penetrating deeper into the skin. These are largely safe to use,” says Saheta.

Before getting down to how facial acids can help you with your skin, let’s understand the basic components of them.

Basics of skincare acids

By now, you must know that facial acids are skincare ingredients, widely used for exfoliation and known for topically improving the skin texture. These good boys are further classified into two categories – AHAs and BHAs. Does this ring a bell? You must have read about the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) on skincare labels.

Difference between skincare acids AHAs and BHAs

  • AHAs

AHAs are water-soluble acids that work on the skin as excellent exfoliators. These acids work well on the skin surface to exfoliate the outer layer of cells to reveal the new and regenerated skin which is brighter and healthy in appearance.

  • BHAs

Known to penetrate deep into the layers of skin, BHAs bind themselves to skin’s sebum and oil to remove excess of it and break down those layers of dead cells on your skin. BHAs are good at controlling and preventing acne.

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Prevention is always better than cure, even when it comes to Holi. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Types of skincare acids

While choosing the right acid for your skin can be overwhelming, we break down the most efficient and amazing skincare acids for you with the help of a skin expert:

  1. Salicylic acid

You must have heard about salicylic acid a number of times. But you may not really know what it does. One of the most popular remedies for acne, Salicylic acid has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that relieve clogged pores and reduce bacterial growth. All this without further aggravating the already inflamed skin.

It is suitable to use for acne prone oily skin. Skin concerns like blackheads can be prevented by using this acid.

  1. Hyaluronic acid

Whenever we pick the latest skincare product, Hyaluronic acid pops up in each of them. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant which means it attracts moisture from the air. How cool is that! It also helps strengthen our skin’s barrier and gifts us supple, soft and well-hydrated skin.

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Anybody looking for a hydrated skin can use this acid. This works equally well for all skin types.

  1. Glycolic acid

This AHA is used to gently dissolve the dead skin and exfoliate it. Being a more gentle exfoliator than a usual scrub, this skin acid can promote cell production and brighten the skin.

The benefits of glycolic acid can be reaped by anyone. It is great for people with acne prone and oily skin.

  1. Lactic acid

This one definitely takes us back to our science class where we read that lactic acid is abundantly found in milk. Wait what? Cleopatra used to bathe in milk for the benefits of lactic acid! A hydrating agent, lactic acid is known for its moisturizing properties.

Lactic acid is very effective even for sensitive skin. Anybody with rough, dry and flaky skin can use lactic acid in their skincare.

  1. Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid or vitamin C, as we commonly call it, is a powerful antioxidant. It is known to have great effects on hyperpigmentation and dull skin. It is advised to use vitamin C in a serum form in an opaque packaging to avoid its exposure to light. Ascorbic acid may reduce its stability when exposed to sunlight.

It is a universal crowd pleaser. It can be used by all age groups and all skin types. However, if using a retinoid, you should steer clear of vitamin C.

  1. Oleic acid

Naturally present in almond oil and olive oil, oleic acid is known for its moisturizing properties. It seals in the hydration in your skin, giving it a healthy appearance.

Any product with oleic acid is a blessing for individuals with dry skin. However, it may not be the right fit for a combination or oily skin.

skincare acids
Include azelaic acid in your skincare routine and thank us later! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Things to keep in mind before using these skincare acids

While there are advantages to their properties, these acids must be used with extreme care, warns Dr Saheta.

“The wrong strength or too frequent application can cause immediate damage to your skin and even make your skin hyper-sensitive over a period of time.Your dermatologist can evaluate your skin and determine which one of these easily available skin acids are good for you,” she adds.

Skin issues like sun damage, uneven skin tone, acne, lack of hydration, dullness, fine lines, dark circles, are typically kept in consideration before prescribing them to a patient.

Best ways to use these acids on your skin

  1. Always start with a clean canvas. Cleanse your face even if you’re not wearing any make-up. This will prevent any chances of reactions and let the product sink well into your skin.

  2. The right way to apply the product is to hold the dropper away from your skin to not pick up germs and impurities from your face and contaminate the entire product.

  3. Do not start applying the product on the forehead first. Since, this may cause the product to spill and get in your eyes.

  4. In order to know if the product is safe for your skin, do a patch test first before going in deep. Apply a drop of the product at the back of your hand. If you see no problematic symptoms in 24-48 hours, you’re good to go.

Having read about all the goodness in these acids, it’s time to get on the bandwagon if you’re lagging behind! Check with this guide, if you’re looking for a product to catch up on this skincare trend.

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About the Author

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued! ...Read More

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