ACIDS - WHAT ARE AHA'S AND HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ONE TO USE?
Posted on August 22 2018
The thought of putting an acid on your face might seem a little scary, but there’s no need to worry...
Acids are found in abundance in the natural world and have been used in skincare with proven effectiveness. When used correctly they can have some serious benefits for your skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, are an effective and gentle way to exfoliate the skin. In a nutshell, they act to unglue dead skin on the surface that can make the skin appear dull, or pores appear larger. They provide a gentle, chemical exfoliation that has been shown to be less abrasive on the skin than physical exfoliation with scrubs.
Exfoliating the skin is very important to keep it looking healthy. AHAs can penetrate beneath the skins surface, exfoliating and stimulating cell renewal to give a brighter and more even skin tone. As we age the rate at which our skin renews itself slows, and so using an AHA can assist with a whole host of skin concerns, such as smoother skin texture, reducing the appearance of pores, brightening skin tone and reducing fine lines to name a few. Furthermore, using an AHA can actually aid the efficacy of other serums you may wish to add afterward.
However, AHAs all work slightly differently, so how do you know which is the right one for you.
THE INKEY LIST Glycolic Acid is derived from sugar cane and comes in the form of a toner. It has the smallest molecule size of all of the AHAs and so it can penetrate the skin deeper and gives a more intense exfoliation.
Glycolic Acid key functions:
- Targets large pores
- Reduces the appearance of pores
- Smooths uneven skin tone
- Brightens skin tone
Best for people with visible skin concerns such as congestion, blackheads, large pore size, visible lines, or those looking for a more rapid or intense result. Our Glycolic Acid has added witch hazel and has been formulated to be non-irritating and suitable for all skin types, however if you have sensitive skin, less visible concerns or are new to acids you may wish to consider one of our other AHAs. Glycolic acid does not need to be used daily to be effective, try using every other day and increasing as necessary.
THE INKEY LIST Alpha Hydroxy Acid is derived from fruit acids and sugar cane and comes in the form of a serum. It’s molecule size is slightly larger than glycolic acid and therefore doesn’t penetrate as deeply, but still gives effective results. It is a good ‘middle ground’ between glycolic and lactic acid.
Alpha Hydroxy key functions:
- Targets rough skin
- Increases cell renewal
- Reduces brown spots.
- Smooths skin texture
Best for those that still want an effective exfoliant but are maybe new to acids and want something a bit gentler.
The gentlest of all of the AHAs, THE INKEY LIST Lactic Acid is derived from milk and fruit acids. Lactic acid has the largest molecule size so doesn’t penetrate as deep, however it does still offer effective exfoliation and has nourishing, moisturising properties so will leave your skin soft and smooth. It is gentle enough to use every day without irritation and can actually help thicken the skin.
Lactic Acid key functions:
- Targets uneven skin tone
- Works to even skin tone
- Brightens skin tone
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles
Best for those that want a gentle exfoliation with added nourishing benefits. Ideal for sensitive or dry skin types
A few words of advice...
There is no problem with mixing and matching your AHAs, but never use more than one in a single recipe. For example, if you have a congested t-zone but want a gentler exfoliation elsewhere, you could use glycolic acid purely on your t-zone and lactic on the rest of your face, it’s about finding what’s right for you.
Due to their exfoliating properties, AHAs can increase sun sensitivity as essentially the top layer of skin is newer. Ensure you’re always using sunscreen whilst you’ve got an AHA in your skincare recipe (you should use sunscreen every day anyway).
Don’t over-do it. When you’re seeing results, it’s easy to think more is more but you can have too much of a good thing. Acids are safe, but you definitely don’t need to use them more than once a day. Start of slow and find what is right for your skin. Overuse can lead to sensitised skin.
If you want any more help or advice on finding the right products for you, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.
If you have any questions click here to ask@theinkeylist .