Guide to Acids in Skincare

Guide to Acids in Skincare

Adding an acid to your skincare routine can be an overwhelming process due to all the different options on the market. Many people avoid acids out of fear that they will do more damage than help to their skin, but this is not the case. Understanding acids is an important step in order to up your skincare game! Acids can be used to fight against acne, wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, scarring and more. Our guide to acids in skincare will include five examples and what they can do for your skin! 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are known for skin rejuvenation properties, with the most common one being glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a cost effective acid that can be found in concentrations as low as 5 % and as high as 70%. In lower concentrations, glycolic acid helps control oily skin, blackheads, and acne. In higher concentrations, it can reduce pore size, wrinkles, and sun damage. It should be noted that any concentration over 30% is considered extremely high and should not be used on sensitive skin. Glycolic acid 50% – 70% are chemical peels that are very strong, if you are interested you should consult your dermatologist before using it. Large quantities and frequent use of this acid can result in skin irritation so start slow and use once or twice a week to see how your skin reacts. Alpha Hydroxy Acids can be found as serums, lotions, and creams so do some research to figure out which form of the acid would be best for your skin! 


Ascorbic Acid 

Ascorbic Acid is also known as the miracle worker, Vitamin C! It is used to prevent and decrease UV damage on the skin. Ascorbic Acid also helps with unwanted pigmentation. It can be found in concentrations ranging from 10% – 20%. The higher the concentration the greater the risk of skin irritation occurring. This acid also has a pH between 2 and 3.5 making it more acidic than the other acids mentioned in this article. Ascorbic Acid can do incredible things to improve your skin but you need to be very cautious when using it. If you have sensitive skin or rosacea you should avoid Ascorbic Acid and go for a gentle acid such as Azelaic Acid. 

Azelaic Acid 

Azelaic Acid is an organic acid and has anti-inflammatory properties. This acid is great for sensitive skin, rosacea, acne, and pigmentation. Concentrations of Azelaic Acid ranges from 5% – 20%, with 10% being the most common. Starting at around 15% chances of skin irritation increase, but are not very common. As with all acids, the higher concentration you use just be aware of the possibility of a negative reaction. Overall, Azelaic Acid is a good starting acid with little to no risk! 

Kojic Acid 

Kojic Acid is a naturally derived acid, with concentrations between 0.5% – 2.0%. Exceeding 2% can result in a negative skin reaction, so be aware when using it. Kojic Acid helps with pigmentation and sun damage. Start by using it 2 to 3 nights a week and then slowly increase use. 


Retinoid Acid 

Retinoid Acid which is also known as Vitamin A is a very powerful tool in skincare! Retinoid Acid is used to decrease oil production, acne, pore size, wrinkles, blackheads, and sun damage. Vitamin A also has antibacterial properties making it a must have for many in their skincare routine. There are negative effects to Retinoid Acid such as skin irritation and becoming more sensitive to sunlight. If you have sensitive skin, start using Retinoid Acid slowly one night a week or dilute it with a gentle moisturizer. 

Guide to Acid 

 Figuring out which acid is best to integrate into your skincare routine can be tricky, but the more you learn about all the options the better decisions you’ll make for your skin! Regardless of your skin type, it is important to remember that higher concentrations of any acid should be used with care and precaution. If your skin has a negative reaction to an acid you should stop using it in order to decipher if it is purging or breaking out. If you’d like to learn the difference between skin purging and breaking out check out this article from Uzza Cares on the topic: 

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