Queen Bee Blog
Acids can be extremely helpful and useful when it comes to taking care of your skin. If used properly they can prevent, treat and protect. However, there are so many to choose from that the journey in selecting the right one for you can be confusing. In fact, many people end up using too many acids and end up with sensitized skin. To make things simpler we’re going to break down some of the more popular acids on the market today and also highlight our favorite ones. We will also discuss the pros and cons.
Before we start, you should know that this blog focuses on acids found in popular skincare such as:
BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acids – Penetrating
Oil-soluble. BHAs are designed to get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum (oils). BHAs are willow bark extract, tropic acid, trethocanic acid, salicylate, beta-hydroxybutyric acid, sodium salicylate, and betaine salicylate. And, because they are water-soluble they are perfect for oily skin. Our personal favorite BHA is
Salicylic Acid – This acid is found in most acne medications and is designed to penetrate deep inside the pores and push debris out. Look for 0.5 to 5% concentrations. Queen Bee’s Buzz Off Bumps sits at an effective and safe 2%. This uber acid treats the following concerns:
- Excessive dry skin such as “keratosis pilaris”
Potential side effects and check with your doc before using if you have/are
- Aspirin allergy
- Sun sensitivity
- Skin types prone to hyperpigmentation (in higher doses)
AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acids – Exfoliants
Water-soluble acids are made from sugary fruits. They help slough away the dead skin and debris on the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. These acids leave your skin feeling smoother to the touch. They are glycolic, lactic, malic, tartaric, citric, and mandelic. Let’s begin with Queen Bee favorite and all-around winner:
Glycolic Acid There is a ton of great research to back up this exfoliating acid’s benefits. We partnered this acid up with salicylic in our Buzz Off Bumps – one clears the dirt away and the other is then able to dive inside the pore for a deeper clean. Safe percentages of glycolic acid for consumers range from 5% – 30%. We recommend starting out with a lower concentration and working your way up.
Lactic Acid Very similar to glycolic but because its molecules are larger, it’s a little slower in action. We love a good pro-strength 2% lactic acid peel and offer it as one of our SkinCeuticals facials in-house. Look for concentrations of 5% – 10% in products that are designed to exfoliate. Many people are put off from this acid as typically it has been derived from milk. However synthetic forms are used in many skincare products because it is easier to stabilize.
Malic Acid An apple a day keeps your wrinkles at bay! This AHA can be derived from, amongst other things, unripe apples and pears or can be produced synthetically. We love combining malic acid with other AHA acids and prefer to recommend this acid in nighttime creams, exfoliants, and rinse off peels.
Tartaric Acid There is nothing to “wine” about with this smashing acid. Tartaric is found naturally in grapes. It makes an excellent natural exfoliator when smashed together with grape skin, seeds, and stems. Most tartaric acid found in skincare, however, is synthetic. Tartaric acid is extremely beneficial in balancing your skin’s natural pH balance. So many benefits, including that antioxidant glass of red wine!
Citric Acid This acid can also be classed as a BHA. Derived from citrus fruits it too can be made synthetically. Although a good exfoliator we have noticed way more sensitivity in our clients’ skin from the use of this pH alternating acid.
Mandelic Acid Derived from bitter almonds. Not as widely known because there isn’t a ton of research and data to back it up. We have seen some good results in mandelic peels on clients who have very dry skin as this acid is known to prompt oil production.
ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS ARE USED AS AND TO TREAT THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS:
- Dry skin
- Brighten complexion
- Promote collagen production
- Reduce the appearance of surface lines and wrinkles
- Promote blood flow to skin
- Treat and prevent acne
- Increase product absorption and retain essential moisture
- Help even out uneven skin tone and age spots
Potential Side Effects of AHA Acids
- Burning sensation
- Itching and irritation
- Blisters (commonly seen in citric acid)
- Dermatitis (eczema)
Do not use AHA acids if you have:
- Freshly shaved or waxed skin (or any exfoliation)
- Cuts, abrasions, or burns on your skin
- Diagnosed Rosacea, Psoriasis or Eczema. Always consult your doctor first!
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