With scientific beauty terms being thrown around the industry, for skincare newbies, it can get confusing, especially when it come to the long list of acids in skincare products. Acids have long been known to treat all sorts of complexion issues, from acne scarring to wrinkles to correcting skin discolouration. Though the word “acid” may sound frightening (chemical peels, anyone?), they’re not necessarily harsh on skin. Aside from acting as a gentle exfoliating agent, some acids (like hyaluronic) serve as a key moisture-binding ingredient and are easy on the skin, regardless of type and underlying condition.
According to Elizabeth Arden Consulting Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, acids are important in our skincare regimen. “They help to treat number of conditions – dyspigmentation, fine lines/wrinkles, acne,” she says. “They also provide anti-aging and hydrating benefits.”
Acids are split into two categories: alpha hydroxyl acids and beta hydroxyl acids. Before those terms go right over your head, hear us out. AHA are chemicals that help slow down the natural cell turnover process by loosening the fluid that connects surface skin cells, while BHA are chemical exfoliants that target fine lines, pigmentation and pores. In layman’s’ terms, AHA helps with anti-aging, while BHA treats acneiform conditions.
To make sure you don’t have question marks floating around your head on your next beauty stock-up trip, we asked Dr. Engelman to help us compile a list of seven acids commonly found in our skincare staples and what exactly they do.
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