Beautiful acids you need for your skin

Skincare acids are probably one category of products most people are clueless about and intimidated by. The name “acid” alone puts some people off while others find them too expensive, or worry about their skin.

In reality, acids come in a wide range- from gentle, soothing ones like hyaluronic acid, to the more stringent ones such as salicylic acid. When used properly, they can work wonders for your skin -- help eradicate acne, reduce and prevent wrinkles, even out your skin tone, and give you a glowing complexion.

Give your skin some TLC with these amazing acids:

1. Salicylic acid

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’re probably aware that aspirin paste is one of the best DIY weapons against acne. Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in aspirin. It is a beta hydroxy acid and can penetrate the skin deeply to heal and soothe damaged cells, as opposed to alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) which just exfoliate the surface. Salicylic acid is a powerful exfoliant which leaves you with unclogged pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory- which can help calm inflamed acne. It works best for blackheads and whiteheads, not cystic acne. Salicylic acid is not advisable for people with dry skin, pregnant women or those taking certain medications.

Try: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution Sh2,050, Andalou Naturals Willow Bark Pure Pore Clear Skin Toner Sh2,450, Neutrogena Acne Proofing Gel Cleanser with Salicylic Acid Sh1,750.

2. Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is a great choice for those who want to exfoliate, even out skin tone, or beat aging. Typically derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid. It is probably the least irritating and most effective of all exfoliating acids, which makes it the most popular and most studied. Thanks to its exfoliating properties, glycolic acid also helps prep your skin for other products to absorb better -- which is why dermatologists use it to prep for other procedures. Glycolic acid is recommended for almost all skin types, except those with very sensitive skin or rosacea. For home use, look for solutions with 8 to30 per cent glycolic acid.

Try: Dewy Skincare Glycolic Acid 10% Exfoliating Face Serum Sh3,150, Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Exfoliating Mask Sh2,450

3. Lactic acid

As the name suggests, lactic acid is derived from milk. Not only does lactic acid help slough off dead skin cells, it also increases the skin’s water retention to keep it well-moisturised or longer. A gentle exfoliant, lactic acid is a great choice for those with sensitive skin. When buying, look for products with 10 per cent or less concentration and with 3.5-4.0 ph. You can incorporate lactic acid into your skincare routine through cleansers, serums, or even masks.

Try: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% +HA 2% Serum Sh 2,000, Revolution Skincare Lactic Acid 5% + Hyaluronic Acid Skin Exfoliator Sh1,950

4. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that is naturally produced by the body, and it helps bind water molecules to collagen -- therefore helping the skin stay hydrated, appear plump and supple, and retain a dewy complexion. When applied to skin via skincare products it acts as a humectant, attracting water to the skin and retaining it. Hyaluronic acid is lightweight and watery, which means it penetrates the skin easily. It works best for those with dry or mature skin but it’s still advisable for all skin types.

Try: Truskin Naturals Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C & E Serum Sh2,450, InstaNatural HyaLuronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C Sh2,450. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum Sh2,100

5. Ascorbic acid

Also known as Vitamin C, ascorbic acid is one of the best ingredients to include in your skincare routine. It protects your skin from UV rays damage and pollution. It also brightens skin for an even complexion, combats hyperpigmentation, and smoothes out fine lines. It can be especially effective when used together with retinol or hyaluronic acid. Although it’s advisable for all skin types, it can be irritating for those with sensitive skin. Apply it in the morning for protection from harmful UV rays, but don’t forego sunscreen.

Buy: OzNaturals Vitamin C 20% + Alpha Hydroxy Acid Serum Sh2,450, The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% Serum Sh2,350.

*Prices courtesy of beautyhub.co.ke

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