Various acids are actively used in cosmetics. However, customers often do not have a clue why one or another ingredient was added into a cosmetic product. Very few females, who are the main consumers of rejuvenating and skin care products, are able to choose the right cream or a mask basing on the aforementioned components.
It’s time to stop this random selection and figure out which acids are used in cosmetics and what is used by beauticians in their salons.
From AHA to BHA. What is it all for?
There are two major groups of acids. They are alpha hydroxy acids (fruit acids or AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid, BHA). Both of these groups can be found on the label of any cream tube or a chemical peel as they are particularly effective when used in combination. They help to fight wrinkles, dryness, pigment spots and decreased skin turgor. However, various acids have different range of application. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the difference between them.
Water soluble acids
Dairy foods and vegetable components are the source of water-soluble fruit acids. Concentration of these acids exceeding 4% converts them into exfoliants (e.g. able to exfoliate a keratinized skin layer) also enabling them to boost regeneration processes. 3% concentration is used for a deep hydration and nourishing the epidermis. Water-soluble acids include:
- Glycolic acid. It’s one of the most popular components used in cosmetic products. It boosts cell renewal facilitating complete regeneration of the upper skin layer and causing no irritation. It also promotes synthesis of collage, narrows skin pores and eliminates acne.
- Lactic acid. It’s good for hydration and works well for dry skin. Several other benefits include firmer skin and whitening effect. Long-term use of the acid helps to make your skin colour more even. It’s frequently used for oily skin care.
- Malic acid. It’s famous for its capability of boosting metabolic processes in the tissues.
- Citric acid. Citrus fruits are the main source of this acid. It features a very potent whitening effect. It can also be used as a disinfectant and is able to deeply cleanse your epidermis killing microbes and infection. Additionally, it boosts synthesis of collagen.
- Tartaric acid. It’s one of the most ancient remedies used for peeling. This acid can exfoliate, whiten and hydrate your skin.
- Mandelic acid. Its effect is similar to the one demonstrated by glycolic acid. But it also features the properties of a natural antibiotic. Mandelic acid facilitates deeper skin cleansing helping to remove comedones leaving your skin undamaged and causing no irritation.
After having a closer look at the AHA acids, we can conclude that cosmetic products containing such components can be an effective aid in the renewal of the skin’s out layer helping to regain healthy shine and even the colour. Some of the AHA acids can be used even in summer time. Although winter is believed to be the best time for cosmetic procedures.
Fat soluble acids
Salicylic acid is beauticians’ favourite product for treating problematic skin. Fat soluble acids can deeply penetrate into your skin eliminating reddening and inflammation. It also destroys the bond between keratinized cells same as AHAs do. Fat soluble acids group includes:
- Azelaic acid. It whitens your skin preventing pigment spots. Besides, it works as an anti-bacterial agent and cleanses pores. These properties make this acid a valuable assistant in the treatment of pimples.
- Phytic acid. It whitens your skin and strengthens blood vessels. It also works as an antioxidant. Can be used as a gentle summer peel.
- Pyruvic acid. It softens sebaceous plugs, cleans pores and removes comedones. It also works as an antiseptic. It’s used for oily skin prone to skin rashes.
It can be concluded that fat soluble acids should be used for controlling the production of sebum and eliminating an infection which causes skin rashes from the cells. Furthermore, they can be used for reducing inflammation. Fat soluble acids are also effective against pigment spots and skin dryness.
Other important acids
Linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids are omega-6 and omega-3 acids. They improve skin protective functions by increasing the level of resistance again environmental impact creating an invisible film. Besides, these acids soften and hydrate your skin and make your face look healthy and glowing. Considering that omega-6 and omega-3 are not naturally synthesized by the human body, your skin should have an external source of them. At least some of these acids have to be present in cosmetic products.
Another very healthful compound is orotic acid. It improves the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. It’s an excellent option to treat facial ageing. Due to its germicidal effect, benzoic acid is usually used in cosmetics to fight pimples. The range of application of acids is remarkably wide. It includes simple cleansing and complete renewal of the epidermis. The most important thing is to choose the right cosmetics with the desired result in mind. It’s important to use acids correctly following every direction.