list of different types of Acids in skincare
Now that you’re an expert in the different types of acids, you’re closer to understanding the full effect that each of the sub-categories of acids has on your routine, both positive and negative, and all depending on the individual. You should always consult with a skincare professional and test products on small patches of skin if you’re unsure of how your body will react to a particular product.
A water-soluble antioxidant, ascorbic acid is commonly called “vitamin C,” due to its powerful skin protection from the sun and environmental factors. Aside from an extra layer of protection for your daily routines, this acid is also known to help activate collagen and inhibits the production of pigments from causing dark spots on the skin.
Much like vitamin C serum or other products containing vitamin C as a core ingredient, it’s best to keep these products in a dry, lock-tight container that isn’t exposed to light. Over time, if repeatedly exposed, it can cause the product to become unstable and not work as intended.
Recommended Depology Product:
Power C Antioxidant Radiance Serum
By just applying once per day, Depology’s specially-formulated Power C serum tackles dark spots and aging signs, stopping them from preventing further damage or coming back in the future. Refreshing and nourishing, your skin will feel reborn after experiencing external agents throughout the day and will ultimately appear brighter and firmer. Containing both vitamin C and ferulic acid as core ingredients, results will be nearly instantaneous when incorporating this serum into your daily routine.
This acid is particularly special, as it naturally occurs within the skin and is not placed in a direct category, in terms of it being an AHA, BHA, or PHA. Derived from yeast, this acid is a great exfoliator and targets dark spots. It has even been found to help treat melasma, a skin condition in which dark patches appear on the skin. These dark areas are often caused by prolonged skin exposure to sunlight and can also occur during pregnancy.
Azelaic acid is meant to halt pigment production in the skin by inhibiting the enzyme, tyrosinase, from producing further melanin, a main substance in the body that is responsible for skin pigmentation. This decreased formation of pigments allows for the skin to return to its natural color, resolving affected areas from the sun, melasma, and other conditions such as rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Another unique acid that may be found in your ingredients is ellagic acid. Usually derived from pomegranate, berries, and varieties of nuts, ellagic acid contains skin-brightening properties, similar to azelaic acid. It is often combined with salicylic acid to help treat hyperpigmentation, so in this case, acids working together is nothing to be afraid of.
This acid is known to have some side effects, such as skin dryness or irritation. If you notice any issues or occurrences on your skin that aren’t normal when using this ingredient, you should stop using the product immediately. That goes for the other acids on this list as well.
Ferulic acid has been getting a lot of attention over the years due to its common pairing with vitamin C. This naturally-occurring AHA compound in the body works with vitamin C to stabilize said ingredient, making it more effective when applied. Ferulic acid is most definitely the main character of its story and is highly encouraged to pair with ferulic acid.
When antioxidants come into contact with free radicals and environmental factors, they undergo a chemical reaction called oxidization, which adds oxygen to the compound in exchange for the loss of electrons. During this process, ferulic acid has been known to help with the protection of collagen in the skin and elastin structures, as well as reducing further pigment production.
One of the smallest and most well-studied AHAs, glycolic acid is acquired through sugar cane sources and is found in numerous products, including cleansers, serums, and moisturizers. By penetrating the outermost layer of the skin, this acid increases skin cell turnover. Considered versatile when it comes to skincare benefits, it’s known to be an effective exfoliator, treat acne breakouts and hyperpigmentation, and lessen the effects of aging.
Glycolic acid is often best left on the skin, as it is most effective in lotions or over a cleanser that contains glycolic acid. This way, the acid can be properly absorbed and the user can reap all its benefits. By being able to lessen steps in your routine with this ingredient, you’re saving time while ensuring healthy skin.
Another natural component in the skin, hyaluronic acid draws water from the environment, making it a particularly special and useful acid to utilize. It has the capability to trap water up to 1,000 times its weight, locking in moisture and keeping the skin smooth.
Due to its large size, this molecule is not able to penetrate deep below the skin’s surface. Instead, it works by increasing plumpness in the skin’s outer layer, softening fine lines, and enhancing your skin’s appearance by creating a natural glow.
Recommended Depology Product:
Deepcare+ Serum-Infused Micro-Dart Patches + Depology Serum Collection
Depology’s one-of-a-kind skincare formulation under the guise of micro-dart patches is composed of vital amino acids and molecules that are naturally occurring in the skin. Constructed with only the healthiest skin in mind in the heart of one of the most prominent skincare industries in the world, South Korea, the serum-infused treatment promotes skin self-protection and nourishment, ensuring your skin won’t be a concern in the future, as long as they are utilized every few days! These hyaluronic acid patches are most recommended to apply overnight, waking up with fresh skin, and are fitted for all skin types.
An AHA, kojic acid is derived from foods such as soy sauce and Japanese sake during rice fermentation. It can also be produced by the process of fungus fermentation. While not as effective as hydroquinone, often used as a skin-lightening agent, this acid remains most commonly used for inhibiting melanin production and brightening the skin, removing the potential for dark patches to form.
Switching out the fermented sake for milk, lactic acid is the only AHA that provides both moisturizing and exfoliant properties. Why do you think Egyptian royals such as Cleopatra adored their sour milk baths?
This acid tends to work on the milder side, hydrating the skin almost instantaneously when applied. Since it is gentler on the skin, it’s often used over the body rather than solely on the face. Body lotions containing lactic acid as a core ingredient work to treat a variety of skincare concerns such as flaky and dry skin.
Unlike glycolic acid, mandelic acids are larger AHAs, commonly derived from almond extracts. This acid works to slowly penetrate the skin, providing gentle exfoliation in the process. Mandelic acid is by far less irritating than other acids and is recommended for those with sensitive skin. Those who are looking to reduce aging signs that have oilier skin will also see many benefits from using this acid on a regular basis, at least two times per day.
This AHA contains powerful antioxidant properties and is sourced from vegetables and seeds. It has the capability to resurface to the epidermis, the most outer layer of the skin, in order to smooth the skin’s texture. Being a milder version of glycolic acid, phytic acid is used in products such as chemical peels that can help reduce acne scarring and melasma.
This multi-functional BHA serves many purposes when applied to the skin. It is lipid soluble, penetrating deeper into the skin’s pores. By being able to work deep below the epidermis, salicylic acid works to fight off acne, removing unnecessary debris and build-up of dead skin cells and unclogging the pores to prevent further breakouts or scarring.
Salicylic acid is found in many cleansers, as it helps many resolve breakouts and issues regarding acne. It is often recommended to use salicylic acid in the AM and a different type of the main ingredient in the PM before bed, so as to not irritate the skin. Niacinamide should also not be combined with salicylic acid.