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What are the different types of skincare acids?



If you are a skin care buff like us, then you always know the trendiest new ingredient on the block, the one that you must simply try. We have been seeing a lot of brands come out with a lot of skin care acids. While facial acids may sound scary at first but trust us when we say that they are your pathway to glowing skin.

We agree that some of the more scientific skincare products may seem daunting especially if they have the word acids in them. You have probably heard of some of these acids like salicylic acids, but others are more elusive. Ever heard of Tartaric Acid or Mandelic Acid. Well, don’t worry we have got you covered. Different facial acids have different benefits and there is an acid for every concern and for every skin type. However it is important to read on these acids before you start using them and make sure to do a patch test before you start using these acids. So, let's begin this journey of finding the right acid for you.

So, who are the main players?

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a very well-known Alpha Hydroxy Acid acid and can be seen everywhere. It is derived from sugar and is one of the common acids used in skincare. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules so it easily penetrates into the skin, making it very effective for your skin. It regenerates collagen, reduces fine line, smoothens skin texture, evens out skin tone and thickens the skin. But if you have sensitive skin then be careful because of its small molecules that penetrates deep into the skin and results in more intense exfoliation leading to higher chances of irritation.

Salicylic Acid

This is one of the most popular acids and one that you will hear about more frequently when it comes to acne related treatments. Salicylic acid is best for people with oily and acne prone skin but it can also be a good option for people with normal/dry skin who occasionally get break outs. You can use Salicylic acid in many different forms: face wash, creams, pads, spot treatment, etc. There are also some foundations and concealers that have this ingredient in their products which can help treat acne throughout the day.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is gentler than glycolic acid and is the second smallest molecule out of all the acids. It draws moisture into the skin, making it a good hydrating agent. It is made from sugar or fermented milk. This Alpha Hydroxy Acid is gentle and works well for people with sensitive skin.

Did you know that Cleopatra was an early adopter of lactic acid and took regular milk baths to improve her skin? In ancient Egypt women knew that lactic acid found in milk helps soften the skin and moisturise it. In fact people with rough, dry, skin or flaky skin should use products with lactic acid.

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid, it is used in skin care routines as chemicals peels or exfoliants. It is used as a gentle exfoliant by many cosmetic companies, so it can also be used by people with sensitive skin.

Unlike other acids Mandelic acid is a large molecule about twice the size of Glycolic acid. Mandelic acid also penetrates the skin much slower. The slow absorption means that it is less irritating than the other AHAs.


Malic Acid

Malic acid, aside from being a gentle AHA, is also used in some dental products as it can reduce the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth. As far as skin care goes though it's perfect for people with acne prone skin as it can help open pores and clear out sebum. It also provides hydration and makes skin smooth.

Tartaric Acid

Tartaric acid is found naturally in many plants and fruits, including grapes. It is one of the acids that helps give wine its tart taste so you're probably already a fan. It's great for people trying to smooth out the texture of their skin and encourages the development of new skin cells.

Kaye's Beauty Book is here to help you choose better products that suit your skin, hair and lifestyle. All of the products mentioned are carefully researched and selected to ensure that the most credible information comes to you. If you do buy a product from one of our links, Kaye's Beauty Book may earn a commission.

II DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, not everything works for everybody. I recommend you test the product before completely using any new product. II