Acid Attack | Doctors Formula
They are a constant buzz in the beauty and cosmetics industry. The mention of an acid in your skincare routine may be second nature to you or the thought of an acid near to your skin may give you the jitters. So, what is an acid and what is the likelihood your dermatologist, beauty therapist or skincare expert raves about the benefits to you or you hear them mentioned by every skincare blogger on the planet…
Acids are thought to be and have been clinically proven to have impressive results on your skin. No matter what your skin type, skin concern or age, there is an acid to treat, repair, and support your skin. You may be looking to combat wrinkles, active acne, hyperpigmentation, or age-spots, it may be the historical acne-scarring you want to try and eradicate. Or it could be an uneven skin tone, or dull, lifeless skin with no glow, that feels slightly lumpy to the touch. Acids are the go-to miracle ingredients to change the behaviour of your skin whilst treating those issue’s you can both see and feel.
There in abundance within the skincare market, all at different percentages and strengths, so it can feel really overwhelming when starting to think about using an acid in your skincare routine, but also about which acid is best for your skin concern and skin type. Once you start to use them, how long do you need to use them for, is there a specific time of day and can they be used with regular skincare products or do you need to change your entire routine? All valid questions and so it is all about identifying two main things before your get started.
Let us get started with Glycolic Acid – This is one acid loved by most skincare houses on the market today and your skincare expert can likely talk about the virtues of glycolic acid for the entirety of your facial! First widely used in skincare around the 90’s, one of its first pioneers in the skincare industry was Dr Howard Murad, who talked of its virtues and benefits to the skin in his skincare brand from the very beginning. Truly versatile, glycolic acid has earned its reputation as one of the most beneficial acids around.
Glycolic acid is a derivative of sugarcane and a part of the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) family. Known to be one of the safest and most effective AHAs for the skin. You will find it in anything from your cleanser to serums, tonics, moisturisers, and mask treatments.
A water-soluble acid primarily used for it surface skin resurfacing, leaving skin feeling soft, supple, and smooth by sloughing away the uppermost outer layers of the skin. As a chemical exfoliator rather than a mechanical exfoliator that can feel gritty and be quite harsh on the skins surface, dependant on how hard you scrub away your skin. Glycolic acid is smooth on the surface skin and works by “dissolving” the glue that holds dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Eliminating these dead skin cells brings an immediate brightening and luminosity to the surface skin and creates a smooth texture. It is also super beneficial for ensuring that the layers of topical skincare you apply afterwards actually reach your skin, rather than sit on a dead and dry skin surface. So, if you are feeling those little lumps and bumps beneath the skins surface, or your skin appears dull and lifeless, glycolic acid is renowned for creating a super smooth surface skin.
But how does glycolic acid work in the skin? Think of glycolic acid as the silent mover, it gently works its way into the superficial layers of the skin, the space where all your dead skin starts to accumulate, this causes the appearance of our skin to look dull and grey, not a beam of luminosity in sight! Glycolic acid works by breaking down the bonds which hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to be removed from the skin, new cells to proliferate and a healthy glow to return.
Most users of glycolic acid love that smooth feeling of the skin after use, very few people find themselves reacting to it, it is best used on normal, combination and oiler skin types as those with super dehydrated or drier skin types and sensitised skin conditions may find it causes them a slight irritation. Your skin may also appear to gain a slight pink hue after a professional treatment. Use of glycolic daily in cleansers, moisturisers and serums is a positive if you are looking to bring back the glow, keep the wrinkles minimised and have a bright fresh-faced look. Another plus is that glycolic acid offers anti-microbial value too, so beside keeping skin super soft, it keeps the pores super clean so your potential need of having to use salicylic acid could be reduced too.
Moving onto Salicylic acid most often derived from the willow tree or it can be manufactured in a lab too. Known as the best Beta-hydroxy (BHA’s are soluble in oil and AHA’s soluble in water) it is probably best known for its use in acne targeting skincare, but salicylic is so much more than a pimple non-pleaser. We often think of this as a simple targeting acid, sweeping away a topical area of dead skin and seeping into the pore to act like a washing machine cycle on spin and then helping to cleanse away any debris.
In fact, salicylic acid works by softening keratin, a protein which helps form the main protein in your skin as well as your hair and nails. Within the surface layer of the skin, keratin is what helps with the natural barrier protection of the skin, it also helps to form the rigid like structure of the skin. When Salicylic acid desquamates the protein, so it makes it easier to remove and can then access the pore to offer a sensational deep clean. This identifies the difference between AHA’s and BHA’s, whereas the AHA leaves skin super smooth and a bump free zone, BHA’s have the ability to penetrate that little bit deeper and it is this, that makes salicylic one of the best spot reducing ingredients, but it’s also excellent for black head cleansing, teen skin or skin with excessive sebum production, as it can get deeper in the skin and pores than an AHA has the ability to. You may also find that it is used to aid in the removal of warts, in-growing hairs, psoriasis treatment and so much more. In low concentrations salicylic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, again why it is a major player in the treatment of acne and breakouts on the skin.
So, you may decide that salicylic is not for you, you are more on the drier side of nature, suffer with frequent dehydration patches or feel like your skin has a level of fragility to it, which makes you terrified of the word acid + skin. then it is time to meet your hydration hero acid. Get ready to shout Hyaluronic acid here I come!
Hyaluronic acid is arguably the most used acid ingredient on the market, but what gives HA (hyaluronic acid) a universal thumbs up from all skin types? First and for most it is naturally found in your skin, also in your eyes and connective tissue in the body. It has a natural purpose in the body, which is to bind to water, by doing this hyaluronic keeps the moisture levels plentiful, keeping skin super hydrated, soft, and supple and ultimately keeping the wrinkles at bay.
Most of the time HA is derived from non-animal sources making it a perfect vegan ingredient. Sometimes plant extract, alternatively soy or wheat is used in a process of microbial fermentation, this bacterial strain which naturally contains HA can then be manipulated to the perfect HA for skincare.
Also, in skincare the salt form of HA is frequently used – sodium hyaluronate – this is more effective for topical application to the skin than pure hyaluronic acid due to its great skin compatibility. Those restorative and skin replenishing abilities which can boost a skin’s moisture content while at the same time soothing and defending against moisture loss. Leaving you with a visibly decreased wrinkle depth and smoother skin surface. Did you know that HA also helps to assist in the reinforcement of the skin’s protective barrier? An all-round hero acid.
Vitamin C – otherwise referred to as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, what is not to love about this skin improving, skin enhancing and skin colour calibrating acid. The true anti-ageing acid ingredient, it is so versatile for one that can be so unstable (it often turns from white to a yellowish hue, especially if you keep it near a window or in direct sunlight, even when in a cream or a serum).
Many of us relate to ascorbic acid as being the true anti-ageing champion, years of sun worship without adequate skin protection results in hyperpigmentation – those patches of brown of the skin, some people simply call them age-spots, others liver spots. Not always caused via over exposure to the sun, changes in pigmentation can also occur during pregnancy, there could be genetic imbalances or maybe a hormonal imbalance. Injury and inflammation can also cause a change in pigmentation within the skin - think of pigmentation as being red as well as brown in colour - as can reactions to medication and exposure to sunlight. There are so many factors which can affect melanin production, the pigment producer in our skin.
Yet hyperpigmentation is not the only skin concern that vitamin C addresses. The depletion of collagen in our skin as we age, the effects that our lifestyle has on the skin by putting it into oxidative stress and allowing free radicals to cause damage. A diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, smoking, natural exposure to UVA and UVB all allow our cells to go into a state of imbalance, which in turn ages our appearance as the skin becomes under attack. The scariest thing of all is that we do not create vitamin C naturally, we only obtain it through our diet and supplementation, either topically or orally. So, unless you are eating a totally balanced diet including plenty of leafy green, broccoli and oranges as an example of natural sources of vitamin C, our bodies may be receiving enough to support the systems overall health. However, skin, the largest organ of the body, yet the last to be fed with anything nutritional from the body will very likely thank you by glowing if you use a skincare serum, cream or moisturiser which contains vitamin C. Use ascorbic acid rich skincare as your everyday fall-back plan – just in-case it needs an extra booster.
SO how does vitamin C work on your skin? Because it is such a potent antioxidant, it manages to neutralize the free radicals causing the skin damage via sun exposure, it maintains skin health and replenishes vitamin E content in the skin too. In a nutshell it works on the visibility of pigment in your surface skin, so by inhibiting the irregular production of melanin, it makes the appearance of skin colour appear more even. Research also identifies that vitamin C may have a role to play in the natural collagen forming process.
So, I ask myself. Is vitamin C for me? I could not live without it!
Finally, from the top 5, no hit list would be complete without the addition of Lactic acid.
Hydration, exfoliation, skin balancing and brightening whilst treating discolouration and of course improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Is there anything which goes against these thousands of years old skin acid – reputably used by Cleopatra as she used to bathe in milk to keep her youthfulness… we think not.
It is a friend to more sensitive skin types versus glycolic acid, as its side effects are minimal. As with any acid use, a slight tingling sensation may occur on application, and if you suffer from eczema or psoriasis always gain medical advice prior to using them on your skin. A pink hue to your skin may also occur, but it should be rosy and soft, not red, and angry.
Lactic acid has so many benefits to be motivated by to use it. From the alpha hydroxy side of the family and originally a derivative from milk, many lactic acid skincare formulations today use a synthetically produced variation. What I love about Lactic acid is that it goes for the “Old boy” skin cells, the ones that are just that tad too old, the ones which really need to head on their onward journey and allow the youth of the skin to shine through. Working like Glycolic acid to dissolve that glue that binds them together, using Lactic acid reveals brighter, fresher, more youthful looking skin. While at the same time it manages to assist the skins natural moisturising factor and keep skin from feeling dry and moisturised.
When it comes to ageing, fine lines and surface wrinkles, lactic acid works to stimulate collagen renewal too. For skin that has those tiny bumps and lumps beneath the surface, it helps to smooth the surface skin and dissolve the excess of skin cells which have built up around the hair follicle.
If brighter, smoother, more glowing, and vibrant skin are on the agenda. Then lactic acid is a MUST to have in your skincare routine. It may be last on my top 5 listing, but it certainly packs a punch on delivery.
Ultimately do we all need an acid attack? Absolutely without a doubt, embrace the chemical and your skin will too.
Now look in the mirror… What is the one thing you want to change about your skin?
Doctors Cosmeceutical Skincare Formula embraces the benefits that some of the above acids can deliver to our skincare routine.
For a Vitamin C boost or an Ascorbic Acid attack, try these vitamin C packed powerhouse skincare products into your daily skincare regime...
If it’s time to find a real life hydration hero, brimming with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) then look no further than these thirst quenching skin solutions…
If Lactic Acid is your way forward to treating your skin, then hook up with Doctors Cosmeceutical Skincare Formula latest innovation, to get your skin super fit…
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As old as I am!
I hear you say, but is it? Do you look your age? Older? Younger? When does it start? You know that feeling when you look in the mirror at your reflection, “Hmm, this isn’t quite what I expected?”
SKIN -- it’s our largest living organ, but do we really pay it the respect that it deserves?
The likely answer is no. We abuse it day in and day out. We expose it to all forms of aggressors, environmental damage, physical attack, UV rays and pollution. We leave the dead and dying cells on the skin’s surface, yet we expect it to fully function, be radiant, healthy, and non-reactive. It keeps us warm and cool as our complete protective layer, shielding everything beneath, so why do we not show our skin the care and support it deserves?
There is no denying how great we start to feel once the days are filled with daylight and the warmth of a summer’s day seep into our bones. Thoughts of an exotic holiday overseas may not be a reality just yet (let us keep hoping!) however, the wardrobe has been switched with the cosy jumpers folded away and swapped for linen, cotton, sunnies and a decent SPF for the seasonal must haves.