Reading a skincare product label can be frustrating. A variety of unfamiliar terms can make you cringe. However, once you take a closer look at the ingredients, they stop being that intimidating.
Some of the most popular items on the labels are acids. Reading through them can make you feel as if you are back in chemistry class. In reality, the majority of acids you find in skincare products are highly beneficial.
Good acids help fight acne, reduce fine lines, deal with pigmentation refresh your skin cells, and much more. Many of them contribute to cell turnover, which gives your skin a glowing appearance. Let's dive a little deeper into acids you should look for.
1. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is probably the most popular acid used in skincare products. It has excellent water-retention properties, which make it useful in moisturizers. Additionally, it fights fine lines and improves overall skin appearance. When used with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid penetrates the skin better and has a more impressive effect.
2. Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid can help you fight redness, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. This natural acid occurs in such grains as wheat, barley, and rye. Many acne medications contain azelaic acid. When used in high concentrations, it can cause certain side effects. However, skincare products usually contain just enough to reap sufficient benefits without adverse consequences.
3. Citric Acid
This is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), which occurs in citrus fruits. This acid contains antioxidants that have anti-aging properties. Skincare products with citric acids are great for acne-prone and sun-damaged skin. Citric acid is the mildest of the AHA you can find in skincare. It helps adjust the pH of products and makes them more shelf-stable.
4. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is an AHA, which is derived from sugarcane. It improves skin tone and texture while reducing spots, scars, and wrinkles. Additionally, this acid can shrink pores and fight sun damage. Many acne treatments contain it. Glycolic acid is an effective exfoliator. It's often added to chemical peels.
5. Ferulic Acid
Ferulic acid is another antioxidant-containing acid that helps fight premature aging and protects against the free radical formation. As a bonus, it boosts the effects of vitamins C and E and reduces pigmentation due to melasma. Ferulic acid is derived from orange and apple seeds. To stay effective, skincare products with this acid should be kept in dark and vacuumed containers. If you have sensitive skin, use ferulic acid cautiously.
6. Lactic Acid
Lactic acid (another AHA) can exfoliate the skin gently while softening fine lines. That's why it's a popular ingredient in men skincare products designed for sensitive skin. This acid does an excellent job fighting uneven complexion, hyperpigmentation, and age spots. It's worth noting that using products with lactic acid can make your skin sensitive to the sun.
7. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid helps fight acne since it penetrates pores and reduces sebum. Additionally, it can reduce discoloration and improve skin tone. Avoid using this acid if you are allergic to aspirin. Men with dark skin should use salicylic acid carefully since it can cause irregular lightening of the skin.
Other good acids for skincare include:
- Mandelic acid
- Ascorbic acid
- Kojic acid
- Linoleic acid
Bad Acids in Skincare Products
When misused, any good acid can turn bad. If you see any of the above-mentioned acids in skincare products, it doesn't mean these products are perfect for your skin. Men with sensitive skin should be careful when using acid-containing products. Mixing several products that contain different acids could be dangerous.