Read the back of any skincare product and you’ll come across a dizzying amount ingredients ending in “acid.” Acids can be a powerful part of your daily skincare regime, and each different kind can serve a unique purpose: some lighten, some exfoliate and some can even hydrate your skin. But how can you figure out which acid will best suit your needs and your skin? Below is a handy cheat sheet to help you get to know some of the most popular acids in skincare and information on how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
This acid is derived from sugar cane and is marvelous when it comes to fighting wrinkles. The tiny molecules of this acid allow it to penetrate skin better than other acids, and makes it both a powerful and aggressive tool in your skincare arsenal. Use a glycolic serum nightly to beat early signs of aging, slough off dead cells, and regenerate new, healthy skin cells.
Unlike other acids, which have exfoliating benefits, hyaluronic acid actually hydrates your skin. This acid is naturally found in our skin but diminishes as we age, causing us to lose the plump, youthful skin we all desire. People of all skin types can benefit by incorporating HA into their skincare routine, either at night after a glycolic or in the morning after your daily dose of antioxidant serum.
Ferulic acid is a new superstar in skincare. It started gaining popularity when Skinceuticals introduced their CE Ferulic Antioxidant Serum (a customer and staff favorite.) Antioxidants neutralize and fight the awful free-radicals that steal healthy molecules and turn them in to damaged ones. This power-house antioxidant should be applied in the morning first thing after washing your face to act as a protective barrier. Even if you already are using an antioxidant serum, you can still incorporate ferulic acid–it will actually increase the benefits you are already gaining from other antioxidants.
As someone who struggled with acne in the past, this acid has a special place in my heart and on my shelf. Salicylic acid is in the beta hydroxy acid family and works both on and below the surface of the skin to kill the bacteria that creates clogged pores and acne. The molecules in SA are larger than those found in other acids, which allows it to linger in the skin to break down the buildup that causes acne and can help minimize pores. This is a great nighttime choice for those of us who suffer from acne and oily skin.