A guide to skincare ingredients - everything you need to know about Acids!
What is an acid exfoliant? Should I use acids on my acne prone skin? What do acids do to my skin? Find out the answers to all of these questions and more, here.
Why should I use acids in my skincare?
Acid exfoliants, aren’t nearly as frightening as their name suggests, and are a great way to get rid of dead skin and clean your pores!
They’re also way better for your skin than scrubs! Scrubs contain scratchy ingredients like ground apricot pits or microbeads (which are illegal in many places now, anyway) and these “physical exfoliants” can damage your skin. Also, when it comes to skincare, acids are way more common than you might think, so if you’re curious about why you should use them, keep reading.
Are acids good for acne prone skin?
Exfoliation is an important aspect in any skincare routine, especially if you want healthy, glowing skin. Exfoliating means lifting the dead skin cells from the skin. Exfoliating with acids is great because acids can penetrate deeper into the skin than scrubs can, which means that you can really remove all the dead, dry skin, leaving your skin looking healthier.
Acids are great for acne prone skin, because, as we all know, the build-up of dead skin cells can clog pores and cause blemishes (along with sebum, and bacteria). So taking the dead skin cells out of the picture is one step towards clearer skin.
Of course, when using acids at home, safety comes first. Never use something that says, “for professional use only” at home. If you’re looking for a stronger treatment with a higher percentage of acid in it, we highly recommend seeing a professional.
What are the benefits of using acids?
Another important thing to note about acid exfoliants is that they are surprisingly gentle, and, as we said already, this makes them so much better for your skin than scrubs. So, why is that?
Acid exfoliants don’t contain any “physical exfoliants” or scratchy materials like ground apricot pits or microbeads, which can do more harm to your skin than good.
We all know how satisfying it feels to use a face scrub, your face just feels so smooth afterwards! But, if you have acne-prone skin, scrubs can actually spread your spots and blemishes or make them worse. This is because the harsher materials in scrubs (and by this we mean the scrubby bits like fruit pits) can cause microtears in your skin, which open up any infections you already have and move them to other, non-infected pores. These microtears can also get infected, which means your skin is more likely to get worse than to get better.
Acid exfoliants don’t contain any of these harsh scrub ingredients, and leave your skin feeling fresh and revitalized instead of raw and uncomfortable.
What are the best acids to use on acne prone skin?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, are great for all different skin types. Glycolic, lactic, malic, tartaric, mandelic and citric acids are all the part of AHAs group. They work on the surface of the skin, and gently dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells so that they can be removed. They’re also water-soluble, and can reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and dark spots on the skin.
In our Exfoliant, you’ll find four different AHAs...
Lactic Acid, which is both an exfoliant and a humectant. When applied to your skin, this acid exfoliates by breaking down the ‘glue’ that holds the skin cells together without causing any sensitivity. It also hydrates the skin and increases the ceramides in the skin’s outer layer, whilst also brightening the skin’s appearance and evening your skin tone. It’s also more gentle on your skin than glycolic acid, and is great for every skin type.
Citric Acid can help to slough off all the dead skin on the surface of your skin. It’s a relatively weak exfoliant, though, and is mostly used to adjust the pH value of the product. However, it’s very gentle, and beneficial for your skin. Just remember, lemon juice is not the same as citric acid!
Malic Acid is another AHA that helps to balance out the pH of a product, essentially making it a little bit more acidic. It’s actually derived from different types of apple, so an apple a day may actually keep the (skin) doctor away.
Tartaric Acid is usually found in wine. You’ve probably seen it when you have a glass of wine and you get those “wine crystals” at the bottom of your glass? Those crystals are there thanks to tartaric acid. We love it for its antioxidant properties, as it helps you to get the glowing skin you deserve!
Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
There is only one kind of beta hydroxy acid, or BHA, in skincare, and we bet you’ve already heard of it. It’s called salicylic acid, and it’s used in all kinds of skincare products for acne prone and acneic skin. Salicylic acid is a power ingredient which helps to fight and prevent future breakouts.
Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, and therefore penetrates the skin deeper than an AHA, which means that it works to clear the excess sebum out of your pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties!
If you are wondering which concentration of salicylic acid will give you the best results, look for 0.5%-2%. Your skin might feel drier after using salicylic acid, though, so we recommend starting off with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, like our cleanser, of course, so that your skin can adapt to this ingredient.
Our tips for using acids
If you are new to the skincare game and don’t know when and how to apply your acids, here are some tips:
- Introduce every active ingredient slowly and build up your routine steadily.
- Don’t mix too many powerful formulas at once. If you want to start exfoliating, wait until you’ve started using the acids mentioned here, before you start with other treatments like Vitamin C or retinoids.
- Active ingredients are amazing, but they can increase the risk of irritation. Our mantra is less is more.
- If you exfoliate in the evening, use your Vitamin C booster in the morning.
How to use our System Akvile Starter Set
Cleanser (Salicylic Acid):
- We recommend using our Cleanser twice a day in the morning and the evening as it contains 2% Salicylic Acid. As it’s a foam cleanser, you can rinse off it pretty quickly and the salicylic acid doesn’t stay on your skin all day.
- Apply our Moisturizer after using the cleanser to keep skin feeling soft.
Exfoliant (Lactic Acid):
- Our Exfoliant contains AHA and BHA. We recommend using it 2-4x a week. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse off. If you are using leave-on serums with AHA or BHA, we recommend to apply them in the evening.
- Apply our Moisturizer after exfoliating.
To bring it all together…
Here at System Akvile we really love using acids to exfoliate and treat acne prone skin, and they’re absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Acid exfoliants are great for your skin, as they get rid of dead skin cells, clear excess sebum from your skin, help moisturize, and also contain antioxidants! They have so many benefits, so you really should believe the hype.
They’re so much better for your skin than a scrub, as they won’t make little microtears in your skin. We’re sure that once you start using acids, you’ll never go back.
PSA: In order to have beautiful, radiant skin for years to come, make sure to use sunscreen on a daily basis, as well!