What Are Acids Doing To My Skin?

skin acids and skin care

When we think of acid we think of things that burn, so why on earth do we want them in our skincare? Depending on our skin we may react badly to some acids


What Are Skin Acids?

The most common type of skin acids are AHA’s or BHA’s – Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acids.


AHA’s are more used as daily skin clearing with a chemical exfoliant. Removing the need for manually exfoliating can prevent the risk of damaging tour new cells!  AHA’s such as Glycolic Acid overtime will also help build up your collagen helping with ageing and cell deterioration.


BHAs most typically refer to salicylic acid. Salicylic is typically used on oily skin such as acne, blemishes, clogged pores etc.


A mix of acids can be part of your daily routine depending on your own skin type, however as the strength of different products can vary greatly they must only be used after a consultation with a specialist.


What Do Acids Do?


Every acid has a different depending on your skin and frequency of use.  Not everyone’s skin will suit all acids for example typically those with acne prone skin would avoid glycolic.


Hyaluronic Acid


Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in your body and is very important to the collagen in your cells.  The amount of Hyaluronic in your skin can be damaged due to UV rays hence skin damage. Typically today most dermal fillers are made using Hyaluronic Acid which is how they blend seamlessly with our natural hyaluronic and collagen.


Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is the holy grail for anyone who suffers from oily skin or clogged pores! Salicylic clears out debris from your pores and removes bacteria, preventing build-up and blemishes appearing. It is used to treat warts, psoriasis, dandruff, acne, ringworm, keratosis pilaris, and ichthyosis. Different strengths of Salicylic are found in different products, sensitive skins must be careful using salicylic as their skin would be more prone to inflammation.

Mandelic Acid


Mandelic acid is an AHA that is derived from almonds! It’s antibacterial and antiviral making it perfect for acne skin.  Mandelic Acid works over a longer time period but is the least irritating to the skin.


Glycolic Acid


Glycolic Acid is used often to treat scarring, skin discolouration and signs of ageing, like fine lines and wrinkles. Glycolic like AHAs is a chemical exfoliant.


Lactic Acid


Lactic Acid can be found in many places. Lactic acid build up in the body can come from exercise or even tensing muscles.  However Lactic acid the same that comes from milk has tonnes of benefits for your skin Why do you think Cleopatra used to take baths in it?


Lactic acid is good for Reducing fine lines, Improving skin tone and texture, brightening, Fading pigmentation, acne scars and evening out the colour of your skin, Controlling and preventing oiliness and breakouts

Citric Acid

Citric Acids which comes from fruits can be used in small concentrations for skin brightening.


What Acids Are Good For ME?


The only way to know what products or ingredients are suitable for your skin is to see a skin health specialist. Amara clinic offer skin consultations to completely analyse your skin and see what treatments or products would work best.

By Dr Paul Munsanje

Dr Paul Munsanje is the Owner and Medical Director of Amara and has 13 years industry experience.
Read more about him here.

Posted in |