The Benefits of Acids for Skin
(Which Is Best for You?)
harsh as the word sounds, acids are actually a much gentler way to exfoliate
and drastically (not to mention instantly) improve the appearance of your skin.
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, acids were mainly used in chemical peels at the
doctor’s office, essentially removing the top layers of skin to promote healing
and collagen production. Patients would suffer from redness and irritation for
days before seeing results. These days, we’re lucky enough to incorporate acids
into our daily skincare routines—without any of those scary results and with
all the lovely benefits. Read on to learn more about the
three popular acids and what exactly they do for your complexion.
Beta Hydroxy Acid vs. Alpha Hydroxy
we get too deep into the world of acids, it’s important to know how to classify
acids. The ones we use commonly in skin care can be either alpha or beta
get technical? Alpha and beta refer to the relationship between hydroxy half of
the molecule and the acid half. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) have one carbon atom
in between the two sections while beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) have two.
both acids work to loosen the bonds that hold together the top layer of dead
skin, there is a crucial difference: AHAs are water soluble while BHAs are oil
soluble. This means BHAs can get down into our pores because they can mix with
the oils our skin naturally produces. So while AHAs can only work at the
surface level, BHAs can get deep down. Each has their own merits.
Acid is a beta hydroxy acid, which is one reason it’s fantastic in helping with
acne-prone skin. So what happens when we reach for a product containing
salicylic acid? On the surface, the acid helps unglue the bonds that keep our
dead skin in place, gently exfoliating for a brighter complexion. Because it is
oil soluble, it can penetrate your skin and deep-clean your pores. Part of its
deep-cleaning process involves dissolving the debris which clogs our pores and
leads to blemishes.
may have heard that salicylic acid can be drying in large concentrations, which
is true. However, in small doses, this drying effect is actually a good thing!
Wondering how? Well, drying the skin involves controlling sebum production, as
our skins oils help retain water and keep skin moist. While a large dose of
salicylic acid may break down too much sebum, a healthy dose will actually help
reduce oily skin. This can help you clear out excess oils and prevent future
acne. Sounds like a win-win!
where salicylic acid comes from? Although it is naturally present in fruits
such as strawberries, it’s also prepared in a laboratory and used in aspirin.
it in: 8CELLENT Vitality
acid is the gold standard for AHAs. Why is it so popular and loved? Glycolic
acid has a very small molecular size (smallest in its class), which allows it
to penetrate deeper than other acids to tackle complex concerns. Like other
AHAs, glycolic acid begins by helping break apart the bonds that stick dead
skin cells to our epidermis.
and dryness can slow down your skin’s natural shedding process, so a boost of
exfoliation can help reveal the radiant, glowing skin underneath. Texture and
evenness is really important to healthy skin, and exfoliation is best route to
slough off dead skin from problem areas. But what makes exfoliation by glycolic
acid different? The gentle factor. A small dose of glycolic acid can help speed
up the skin-shedding process without rough abrasives.
Find it in: 8CELLENT Vitality
Vitality Complex Serum and Vitality Complex Cream
low concentrations, lactic acid works to help restore water to skin. Acting as
a humectant, it retains moisture from its surroundings and helps keep it in our
skin. At higher concentrations, lactic acid is a mild exfoliant. Just like
glycolic acid, it helps break up the surface layer of dead and dull skin from
radiant skin below.
perks: lactic acid is part of the collagen synthesis process, so it can help
push that process along. By doing so, lactic acid helps with visible aging
concerns. If you find glycolic acid a bit too harsh or drying, using products
with lactic acid can help deliver the same benefits without the drying.
Find it in: Vitality Complex Serum and Vitality Complex Cream
Cohn, Lindsay. “Benefits of Glycolic Acid to Know About.”
Reader's Digest, Reader's Digest, 15 Feb. 2018, www.rd.com/health/beauty/benefits-of-glycolic-acid/.
Pereira, Dayle. “The Many Ways in Which Lactic Acid
Benefits Your Skin.” Be Beautiful | Get All Personalized Beauty, Fashion,
Makeup and Lifestyle Tips, 27 June 2017,