Hydroxy acids are very common ingredients in our daily skin care products. These ingredients have several benefits. They help to reduce discolouration and hyper-pigmentation, treat acne and improve the appearance of fine lines. As well as giving the skin a healthy, radiant and youthful glow. There are two basic types: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids.
Alpha hydroxy acids
- Glycolic acid derived from sugarcane
- Lactic acid from milk
- Malic acid from apples
- Citric acid from citrus fruits
- Tartaric acid from grapes
- Phytic acid from grapes.
Beta hydroxy acids
Beta hydroxy acids also have an exfoliating effect but they have an added anti-inflammatory effect. This bonus makes it better at alleviating the symptoms of disorders like acne and rosacea. Salicylic acid is the most common beta hydroxy acid. It is useful for improving signs of sun damage like discolouration and rough texture. And is especially effective for treating acne (White heads and Black heads).
A member of the aspirin family, salicylic acid is fat-soluble, which means it can penetrate the pores to break up clogs that lead to breakouts. Salicylic acid is found commonly in over-the-counter skincare products. However, it is also used for in-office peels by dermatologists. Salicylic acid is a prominent ingredient used in skincare products aimed at acne prone skin or oily skin types. Because it can penetrate oily skin and unclog pores.
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The skincare industry refers to Hyaluronic acid as the “key to the fountain of youth.” This substance, also known as a glycosaminoglycan, is naturally present in the skin. However, as we age the proportion decreases which means a loss of hydration and moisture. Leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water and retains it within the ‘reticular layer’ of the dermis. Giving it the power to lock hydration within the skin. Hyaluronic acid is the new primary ingredient for anti-ageing creams, serums and masks. It is very effective in keeping the skin hydrated, supple and youthful.
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When used properly on the skin this AHA can yield remarkable results. It has the smallest molecules in the group allowing it to penetrate deeply and easily. Glycolic acid works as an exfoliant, if you want to read more on exfoliating click here. Because it is highly acidic but also highly soluble, it penetrates the damaged areas of the skin and essentially abrades the top layer of skin. This results in smoother skin that is also more youthful looking. Glycolic acid exfoliation is fast becoming the preferred form of exfoliation. It is a chemical exfoliant which is mild and gentle instead of an abrasive physical exfoliation.
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Kojic acid is a naturally occurring substance that is found in fungi, such as mushrooms and in rice malting. This acid has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It hinders the production of melanin by inhibiting tyrosinase enzymes. It especially targets melanin caused by UVB radiation. Therefore kojic acid products are used to lighten and fade several types of hyperpigmentation like acne spots, age spots, freckles, dark circles under the eyes and dark spots. Unlike many main ingredients used in topical treatments designed to lighten the skin, kojic acid is much safer.
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