Skin Care Acids Explained

Sep 30, 2019 | Hyaluronic Acid, Skin Care


The word “acid” evokes images of fizzing test tubes and thoughts of ugly chemical burns. But when used properly and in the right concentrations, acids are great for skin care. They’re miracle tools to fight scarring, dry skin, age spots, acne, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles. They work by helping getting rid of dead skin cells and moisturizing your skin. Read on to understand the most common skin care acids and how they benefit your skin.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is well known for its ability to penetrate deep into the skin’s layers, loosening dead skin cells and encouraging pores to unclog. It is an exfoliant that breaks down the elements that clog your pores, like excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. In higher concentrations, it can be used as a peeling agent for treating acne,  sun damage, age spots, and melasma. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why you’ll find it in cleansers and serums.

Hyaluronic Acid

Unlike salicylic acid, which works by dissolving dead skin cells, hyaluronic acid is a hydrating acid and the right choice for individuals with dry-skin concerns. Hyaluronic acid is a natural carbohydrate and humectant that is naturally present in the body. It has an incredible ability to draw moisture from the environment to the skin. It’s commonly found in moisturizers and is also used an injectable lip filler.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that breaks down and eliminates dead skin cells. It comes from sugar cane and is an incredible anti-aging agent. It’s very effective at exfoliating skin, preventing acne, reducing fine lines, evening out skin tone, increasing skin thickness, and fading dark spots. Glycolic acid increases collagen production, which is why it’s effective in brightening the skin and treating aging.

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is an exfoliating agent derived from bitter almonds. It’s useful for treating sun damage, preventing acne, and evening out pigmentation. However, it does not penetrate the deep layers of skin as glycolic acid because it has a larger molecular structure. As such, it is less irritating to the skin and is usually used as an alternative to glycolic acid, especially for skin prone to rebound pigmentation.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid can exfoliate and moisturize your skin at the same time. It is a milder version of glycolic acid and only penetrates the outer layers of the skin. It unglues dead skin cells to reveal smoother, more even skin and also moisturizes the outer skin layers. Lactic acid is suitable for all skin types and may the best option for individuals who are too cautious about using skin care acids to exfoliate.

Before trying an acid-based skin care product, it’s important to consult with an aesthetician who can help determine which skin care acids will best suit you. Call North Scottsdale Laser and Skin Care Clinic at 480-513-2888 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a skin care expert.