Acids are some of the most useful ingredients in skin care. They can help fight rashes, wrinkles, age spots, scars, and uneven skin tone.

Some of the most popular acids in cosmetic products are AHA-, BHA- and PHA-acids.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are extracted from fruits (fruit acids), whey (lactic acid), sugarcane (glycolic acid) or artificially created in the laboratory.

AHA acids dissolve in water and act on the surface of the skin. Here are their main properties:

  • lighten the skin;
  • restore its hydro-lipid balance, accelerate regeneration processes;
  • stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, increase turgor;
  • reduce the number and depth of fine lines and wrinkles;
  • reduce the severity of scars and postacne;
  • regulate sebaceous glands and have antioxidant effect on the skin.

In concentrations up to 5%, they retain moisture in the cells, more than 5%, they have an exfoliating effect.

BHA acids are fat-soluble. They penetrate deeply into the cells and dissolve fat from the inside. The BHA acids include the well-known salicylic acid. Its main advantage is its powerful exfoliation. In addition, salicylic acid:

  • has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects;
  • promotes pore cleansing;
  • helps in the fight against acne and comedones;
  • regulates the production of sebum;
  • accelerates skin healing.

The concentration of salicylic acid in cosmetics for home use should not exceed 2%. Caution should be exercised by those who are allergic to aspirin.

PHA acids (polyhydroxy acids) are considered the safest. If you have a sensitive, allergy-prone and irritated skin, they are the best place to start. PHA acids include lactobionic acid and gluconolactone.

PHA acids:

  • have a rejuvenating effect;
  • effectively fight skin irregularities and the effects of acne treatment;
  • Are natural antioxidants;
  • Good for moisturizing and lightening the skin;
  • stimulate collagen and elastin production;
  • help with inflammatory skin conditions.

How do I use acids correctly?

To get the most out of using acids and not to harm your skin, follow a few rules.

If you are new to acids, introduce them gradually: use them once a week so as not to cause irritation. It’s normal to have a slight, temporary redness after the first use of acid-containing products. Over time, increase the frequency of use to 2-3 times a week.

Remember that cosmetics with acids are not UVA and UVB friendly – acids make the skin more sensitive. That is why it is necessary to use sunscreens with a high level of protection (at least SPF 30) while using such means. It is recommended to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors, and use acids in the evening.

It is not advisable to use acids with cosmetics containing other active ingredients (for example, essential oils).

Acids should not be applied at the same time as retinol (vitamin A) or retinoids (its derivatives). This can lead to excessive exfoliation, dryness, irritation and allergies. It is also undesirable to combine AHA acids with peptides. Peptides require an alkaline, not acidic environment. Your skin will not suffer, but you may not get a pronounced effect.

How do I choose a product with acids?

There are two factors to consider when choosing an acidic product: the concentration of the AHA or BHA acid and the pH level (the optimal level is 3.5 to 5).

AHA facial acids exfoliate at a concentration above 4%. If you see a product with 3% ANA (it will probably be a day cream), it works as a water molecule-binding component and is used for hydration.

The optimal concentration of AHA is between 0.5% and 2%. The lower concentration does not damage even the most sensitive skin and helps prevent breakouts. A concentration of 1.5-2% is ideal for problematic and oily skin.

Important: Be aware of the contraindications! Allergy tendency, pregnancy and lactation, infectious diseases, colds, herpes, as well as abrasions and other skin injuries are reasons to refuse using products with AHA-, BHA-, PHA- and vitamin acids.

Acid cosmetics are a godsend for those who wish to rejuvenate their skin, improve their complexion and say good-bye to acne and age spots. We wish you to make the use of facial acids a part of your daily care as an obligatory step and bring only joy and beauty.

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