Oct 21

Skincare Acids: What You Need to Know

Salicylic acid. Glycolic acid. Hyaluronic acid. Mandelic acid. No, were not welcoming you to the Kinley Kay chemistry class — though that could be fun, right? 

While these words might sound like something that would be discussed in a science lab, these ingredients (when used in the appropriate concentration and for the appropriate skin type and concern) can be some of the most beneficial skin care ingredients in your beauty arsenal. 

These ingredients have the power to radically fight acne, aging concerns, scarring, pigmentation, uneven skin tone and texture, ultimately giving you the skin of your dreams. But with so many acids on the market, it can be difficult to know which is best for you, your skin concerns, and your goals. So let’s talk a bit today about what acids do, which may be best for you, and how to implement them in your weekly beauty routine.

How do acids affect the skin? 

Before we dive into the different types of acids on the market, it is important to know what these ingredients do to the skin. Acid’s power is in their ability to lower the pH levels of your skin, essentially putting your skin in an acidic state. What happens next is that the dead skin cells are dissolved and digested by the acid, getting rid of that old, dead skin and making room for new, healthy skin cells. 

The results — a radiant, luminous glow. 

What are the different types of acids? How do I know which one(s) is right for me? 

There are so many different acids available today, all of which can be super beneficial when used properly and for the correct skin type and concern. Today, let’s talk a bit about the most common acid types and which skin concerns they are best for. Be sure to continue to follow along in our blog series to learn more about these specific acids, including details about what they do and who they are best for. 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – These are the most common acids used in skincare, and they work to penetrate the outermost layer of the epidermis. Because these acids are water-soluble, they do not penetrate deeply beneath the skin’s surface, making their main focus the exfoliation and smoothing of the skin and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. 

There are a variety of AHAs available for different skin concerns which we will list here: 

  • Glycolic acid – increases cell turnover, evens skin tone, supports the reduction of wrinkles. 
  • Citric acid – great for the prevention or reduction of premature aging.
  • Mandelic acid – ideal for brightening and lightening the skin, and is also great for oily skin types
  • Malic acid – great antioxidant and one of the most gentle AHAs available 
  • Tartaric acid – like malic acid, this is also a great antioxidant and one of the most gentle AHAs available 
  • Lactic acid – great for sensitive skin types, this is a staple acid for gentle exfoliation of the skin

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) – This acid is an oil-soluble molecule that has the ability to penetrate deeply into pores and oil glands, making it a perfect acid for oily or acne-prone skin. There is only one BHA on the market, salicylic acid, and while this acid powerfully exfoliates dead skin cells (like AHAs), it also has the special ability to treat breakouts and help manage other conditions that involve blocked or clogged pores. 

Hyaluronic Acid – This acid naturally occurs in the body and is the only “acid” that can be used every single day as it deeply hydrates, nourishes and plumps the skin. 

How do I add these into my skincare routine? 

If you are new to incorporating a specific acid into your skincare routine, always start slowly. Typically we recommend that you start with once a week, and build from there as some level of irritation may occur on the skin (redness, burning or itching, flaking). If you are still unsure about where to begin, our skin care experts at Kinley Kay would love to consult with you about which products and treatments are best for your skin type and skin goals. 

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