By Waïza Rana - How do you know which acid is the right one for your skincare routine? Acids were those elixirs that were once very limited, but have now become a staple in the beauty world. Divided into two categories - AHA & BHA - and known to exfoliate the skin, cleansing the outer layer of old skin cells resulting in a smoother complexion and healthier appearance. We see these acronyms everywhere, but what do they mean individually? How do we know which one is the best for our skin?
AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids are gifts of nature as these acids are found primarily in fruits, citrus fruits, and sugar cane, among others. They can be found mixed in serums, creams, cleansers and even toners. This group of acids exfoliates to several degrees, with glycolic acid being the most potent of them. They bring many benefits to mature skin as well as dry and sensitive skin. For mature skin, it boosts skin cell renewal by helping to smooth scars and wrinkles and unifying pigmentation. For the dry skin type, lactic acid is the most convenient as it binds well to moisturize the skin. For the sensitive skin type, AHAs consist of an acid called mandelic acid which is best suited for sensitive or acne-prone skin due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it balances pigmentation, treats inflammatory acne and helps prevent future pimples. Something to note about this acid is that it has larger molecules, which makes the penetration process slower than acids with smaller molecule sizes. Nevertheless, mandelic acids are gentler on the skin.
Now many may wonder what the difference is between these acids, especially if they are all AHAs. Turns out, the difference matters when looking to address particular skin concerns. For example, lactic acid and glycolic acid are very different from each other.
Glycolic acid is used for lightening treatments or as an anti-aging ingredient due to its ability to regulate melanin synthesis, accelerate the skin cell renewal process and stimulate collagen synthesis deep down skin. On the other hand, lactic acid is often used to prevent skin dryness because it enhances the production of ceramides by keratinocytes in the epidermis. Another difference to note is that glycolic acid should be introduced into your skin gradually. Because its penetration capacity is much stronger than lactic acid. Here, you have to pay attention to the percentages. Do not hesitate to ask your questions on your next visit to Le Suppliher to be sure you are on the right foot!
BHAs or beta-hydroxy acids are a group of acids mainly made up of salicylic acid. This type of acid is also found naturally in white willow. Best known for helping oily, acne-prone and mature skin. For oily skin type, it gets rid of clogged pores or inflamed acne with its vitamin and anti-inflammatory properties. How? Salicylic acid travels down the pores and dissolves excess sebum. For mature skin, it increases cell renewal, giving a useful result against sun damage and wrinkles.Although BHAs can be beneficial for anti-aging issues, they are more common for the oilier side of skin care Those who find themselves struggling with acne, blackheads and milia (small white pimples near the eyes), the BHAs will accompany you better!
While AHAs are water soluble, BHAs are oil soluble. Therefore, the best companions for oily skin type. This acid is able to penetrate under the oil that clogs your skin. It also helps reduce spots and acts as a calming agent for any redness. Paula's Choice founder and skincare expert Paula Begoun confirms the following about BHAs: “Exfoliation with a BHA containing salicylic acid is a game-changer. It gets rid of dull cells but does not strip essential oils from the skin.” So, who's ready to break free from the feeling of rough, dry, textured skin?
The rule of thumb, as always, is less is more. Especially for sensitive skin and those with skin issues related to eczema or acne, it is always best to do a patch test before incorporating any product into your routine. Partly because you're trying something new, and partly because it's important to start slowly with these acids. Don't forget your FPS either! Another tip is to ask your questions! Feel free to come and talk to us at the trade and get into the details of your skin to make sure you have the routine that's right for you. We are all struggling with one or the other or several skin problems at the same time. Remember that the goal is not to try everything at once. While it's great to explore and try something new, you know yourself better at the end of the day. Still have questions ? Check out our Instagram page, and once again don't hesitate to ask us your questions!