Multifunctional and as efficient as professional treatments: they reduce discolorations, highlight, reduce clogged pores and fight acne. Acid cosmetics are a total hit! It’s autumn, so it’s perfect time to start using them. How to do that? Read on to find out!
1. WHAT ARE COSMETICS WITH “ACIDS”?
These are cosmetics that include alpha hydroxy acids, so called chemical exfoliants that weaken the bindings between skin cells exfoliating the skin and giving it a new perfect image 😉 What’s interesting, most of them are natural. Every group of acids has different action, so before you reach for an exfoliating treatment, remember to take a look what properties they have:
- DRY SKIN: AHA ACIDS – ALPHA-HYDROXY ACIDS (lactic acid, almond acid, apple acid, lemon acid, glycolic acid)
They dissolve in water and do not penetrate your clogs. They’re recommended, above all, for hard and horny skin, damaged by sunbathing and overdried. Almond acid is the only acid from this group that has antibacterial properties is also used for acne treatment (you’ll find it, among others, in THIS gel).
- PROBLEMATIC SKIN: BHA ACIDS – BETHA-HYDROXY ACIDS (salicylic acid present in willow bark, rose tree or raspberries:
They dissolve in fats, that’s why they penetrate through the sebum layers all the way into hair follicles. They don’t only exfoliate the skin, but also damage the imperfections exactly where it’s produced. They cleanse the clogs, and reduced the number of blackheads. What’s more, salicylic acid’s formula is similar to aspirin and works in a similar antibacterial way, healing the spots. They’re recommended not only for acne treatments. They don’t dry the skin, so they can be also used for dry skin with clogged pores, for example in the T section.
- SENSITIVE SKIN: PHA ACIDS – POLY-HYDROXY ACIDS
It’s a new generation of acids, very similar to AHA, but of a way milder action. They don’t cause side effects like exfoliation or irritation, so they’re recommended for people with psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis or with sensitive skin. Despite the name they moisturize, strengthen the lipid layer of skin, ease irritations and make blood vessels less visible.
2. WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES?
Properly chosen acid cosmetics (see #1) applied in a correct way (check #3 out!) can really create miracles! 😀 What can you expect?
- They regulate cell regeneration – they get rid of horny skin layers, improving its condition, color and appearance.
- They improve other cosmetic’s action – skin prepared by acids is more prone to active substances of your everyday cream or the reviving serum that you’re using.
- They stimulate the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, which leave the skin more elastic and moisturized.
- They unblock the pores work in an antibacterial way, prevent inflammations such as spots and blackheads.
- They reduce discolorations, after acne blemishes and lift your face
- PHA acids moisturize, ease irritations and strengthen blood vessels
3. HOW TO USE THEM?
Acid cosmetics are for professional use only. Even the OTC ones should be used reasonably! A too big amount of acids or improper application may result in strong irritation, exfoliation, or a rash. Taught by my own experience, I gathered a few tips for you 😉
- It’s best to start your acids adventure in autumn of early spring, when your skin won’t be that prone to intense Action of sunrays (what doesn’t change the fact that even in November you should remember about UV filter creams!). PHA acids are an exemption, though, as they don’t increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun radiation.
- Choose the cosmetic according to your skin type. Let me remind you: AHA acids for dry and horny skin, BHA acids for acne and PHA for sensitive skin.
- Apply AHA acids in some intervals of time (a month treatment two times a year, for example) – your skin gets used to the exfoliating properties of acids with time, but comes back to the state it was in, if you stop using it. It’s different with BHA acids, which can be applied everyday, for example in a tonic.
- Start delicately, from low concentrations. If you have acne problems, before you reach for products with high amount of BHA acid, familiarize your skin with it for 2-3 weeks, wiping your face with a delicate tonic with salicylic acid. Pay special attention to AHA acids that irritate the skin.
- If you need immediate effects, like making after acne blemishes less visible, slowly increase the concentration and observe the reaction of your skin. Itching, irritation, in the case of AHA acids – visible exfoliation is normal. It should go away when your skin gets used to the acid. If you don’t feel good about the irritation, use the cosmetic two times a week only.
4. WHICH TO CHOOSE?
Pharmacies and drugstores are full both of DIY acid cosmetics kits, as well as ready-made products. If you weren’t born a chemist, it’s better if you go for the second option 😉 The choice is wide – from tonics, up to scrubs, creams, and facemasks. It all depends what outcome you want to achieve.
- If you want to make your blemishes, discolorations or wrinkles less visible, go for a chemical cream scrub (like THIS one) or an exfoliating mask (like THIS one). My advice: before applying the product, secure the most important spots with kid’s cream, like Bambino. After using the scrub, avoid sun exposure, moisturize the skin, and put sunscreen on it.
- If you want to improve the condition of your skin without making a revolution on your face, I strongly recommend acid tonics (like THIS one for problematic skin, and THIS one for dry skin). Applied regularly, they prevent acne highlighting and smoothing the skin. They prepare it for stronger cosmetics. You have to be patient, though – you’ll be able to see the outcomes in a few weeks.
- If just like me, you’re a fan of natural cosmetics, check out my homemade mango scrub: mango skin will be perfect in that role!
- Pay attention to the pH of the cosmetic that you’re getting. The higher it is, the weaker the cosmetic will work.