The use of acids in cosmetology. How to match acids to particular skin types?

by Catelyn Cox

beauty.jpgNobody has perfect skin. The skin often needs help in cell regeneration and cell renewal. How to take proper care of it? The answer is to use acids on the face – they are responsible for facilitating cleansing, rejuvenation and moisturizing the skin. Find out how to choose acid for your skin type.

If you ask an experienced and qualified beautician about the most recommended way to exfoliate the skin quickly and effectively and improve skin condition, the answer will be simple. Use facial acids. This does not mean that they want to hurt their clients. Skincare with acids is effective and can be used with any type of complexion.

Acids are nothing new?

The cosmetic properties of acids have been appreciated and used in antiquity, although almost certainly, no one knew then that it was their merit. The Greeks used facial masks made of bread soaked in milk to whiten the skin. Cleopatra bathed in fresh milk to have a soft, smooth skin without imperfections. All these beautifying treatments were effective thanks to lactic acid. However, this was discovered much later.

Facial acids were used in the form of chemical peels known to us in the 1800s. Ferdinand Hebra, a physician from Vienna, used a mixture of hydrochloric, acetic and sulfuric acid for the first time, to remove nuisance discolouration. However, the use of acids in cosmetics was popularized only in the 1990s.

Acids in skin care

Today, we know more and more about how acids affect the skin. They are successfully used in cosmetics – on their own or in various types of beauty products. Their advantage is that they penetrate the skin deeply, thanks to which they are able to work from within. Such substances are most often used to exfoliate dead skin cells. Acids applied to the skin increase the distance between the cells, weakens the bonds and thus separates the stratum corneum.

Exfoliation with acids is not the only advantage. Chemical peels have many other qualities, although these depend directly on the type of acid used for the treatment. Some of them unify colours and brighten discolourations, others regulate the secretion of sebum, whilst some can moisturize, provide anti-inflammatory action, rejuvenate and improve skin elasticity.

It is very important to choose the right acid that will match the type of skin and the problems you are struggling with. Only then, acid-based care will be effective and you will get the best of them.

Matching acids to particular skin types

First of all, it is worth answering a few questions that will help determine not just the current state of your skin but also its needs and struggles. Then, choosing the matching oil will not cause any troubles. Sometimes, it might turn out that acids are not a good solution at all and it will be better to look for some other treatments with milder action.

What is your age?

Acids should not be used on children under the age of 15. Young skin does not need such strong treatment. Adolescent acne does not require the use of chemical peels.

Do you have any problems with your complexion?

In the case of troublefree skin, without visible hyperpigmentations or scars, acids are not the best choice. Exfoliation can be done in various ways – with a regular scrub, with a special exfoliating scrub mitt, or a sonic facial brush.

Do you have wrinkles?

Mature skin likes acids, but if your problem mainly concerns wrinkles and you do not have acne or discolouration, you should opt for PHA (milder option).

Do you have discolourations?

Discolourations are usually the main reason why most women decide to reach for acids treatment on the face. In order to unify the skin colour and to brighten skin changes, you can reach for various types of acids: azelaic acid (available in pharmacies), mandelic acid, glycolic acid (the most invasive).

Is your skin sensitive?

Sensitive skin does not always like acids because regardless of the type, these substances are quite strong and act deeply. Optimal and the safest solution for sensitive skin are PHA acids – the mildest ones.

Do you use UV filters?

Don’t deliberate what filters have in common with acids. Remember that not all cosmetics can be used when we do not use filters. Only a few do not require additional protection, among others mandelic acid and some PHA acids.

Do you have acne or blackheads?

Acids are recommended for acne treatment. In the case of clogged pores and blackhead, the ideal solution is to use salicylic acid, which can be strengthened with LHA acids. If acne is accompanied by inflammation, it is worth combining acids with antibiotics.

The most popular acids in cosmetics:

  1. Salicylic acid (BHA) – has antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it works well on acne prone skin; in higher concentration, it regenerates the skin and reduces the visibility of scars.
  2. Ferulic acid – ideal for mature skin because it protects against photo-aging, delays natural aging processes, inhibits the action of free radicals and activates the defense mechanisms of our skin; works well with discolorations and wrinkles.
  3. Glycolic acid – it can be used in various concentrations (from 15 up to 70%); it brightens, smoothes, moisturizes, stimulates collagen production, reduces wrinkles, has a gentle exfoliating effect and accelerates skin regeneration.
  4. Lactobionic acid (PHA) – it will be perfect for irritated skin because it has the properties of AHA acids, but it is also much milder. Also, it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, balances the process of exfoliation and strengthens the natural protection of the epidermis.
  5. Lactic acid (AHA) – it is most commonly used with exfoliating treatments, the purpose of which is to reduce the visibility of scars, because it cleanses, smoothes, moisturizes evens out the colour, lightens and brings relief to inflammation.
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