From acne to aging and pigmentation to pores, there seems to be nothing acids cannot fix.Fruit acids are found in skincare products such as cleansers, toners and even serums and moisturizers. Dervied from fruits and also known as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), they penetrate skin and exfoliate, speeding up skin cell turnover. In particular, you should be able to expect improvements in
1. Appearance of wrinkles
2. Skin texture i.e. smoother and softer skin
3. Lightening of skin pigmentation
A beauty staple since the days of Cleopatra (who was said to maintain her all-over glow by bathing in sour milk, a source of lactic acid), the basic principle of exfoliation for an immaculate complexion remains constant – although the mind-boggling array of modern-day formulations and peeling agents to target various skin needs is a common source of confusion for even seasoned beauty junkies.
Here’s the ABCs of fruit acids and their primary skin benefits to help you navigate the beauty counters like a pro.
Derived From: Sugar cane (a.k.a Saccharum Officinarum extract)
Best For: Anti-aging, brightening, oily skin
Properties: Not all sugars are bad for skin – this all-time favourite alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) loosens the ‘glue’ between dead skin cells to lift dull surface skin, promotes a healthy 28-day skin turnover and boosts collagen synthesis. All that simply translates into less lines and a clearer, younger-looking skin. Glycolic acid at higher concentrations reduces oiliness and improves acne on top of peeling a few years off your face.
Try: SW1 Shop Sleep Mode
Derived From: Willow bark (a.k.a Salix Alba extract)
Best For: Acne, oily skin, open pores, blackheads
Properties: This oil-seeking beta hydroxy acid (BHA) penetrates into the depths of sebum-packed pores to purge pimple-causing bumpy comedones, refine enlarged pores and cut the summer shine. Additional natural anti-inflammatory property soothes angry zits on and off the face, making it an antidote to acne and bacne for both teenagers and adults alike.
Derived From: Sour milk or yogurt
Best For: Radiance and hydration
Properties: Generally considered as a milder AHA, lactic acid is known for its ability to soften, refine and nourish drier or mature skin – giving the term “milky complexion” new meaning. Light regular exfoliation of glow-cloaking surface dead cells also maximises the benefits of your moisturiser and other skincare products.
Try: SW1 Spa Milk Peel
Derived From: Bitter almond
Best For: Acne, brown spots and sun damage in sensitive skin; rosacea
Properties: The larger mandelic acid molecule means it cannot penetrate as deeply as other AHAs. The upside of this is better tolerance by sensitive skin. In fact, it has been used to alleviate chronic skin redness and blotchiness. Mandelic acid also possesses antibacterial effects on acneic skin.
Derived from: Milk sugar
Best For: Rejuvenation of sensitive skin
Properties: PHAs such as antibiotic glucolactone and lactobionic acid have larger molecules (due to the presence of multiple or ‘poly’ hydroxy groups on an AHA back bone) which exert a gentle exfoliating action for a smoother, brighter complexion at lower risk of irritation of touchy skin. The additional hydroxys also tend to attract more moisture, making them more hydrating than glycolic acid. If conventional acids tend to dry out your skin, this is the one to try.
Try: Zelen’s PHA Peel
– By Megan Thomas