Acids are scary right? Everything women in their 30s and 40s need to know about Hyaluronic Acid
Why on earth would you want to put acid on your skin?!!! We all grew up with the depiction of acids in films as something to be terrified of. Who could forget the acid for blood of the Queen Alien in the Alien series or who actually believed that they could feel rain burning their skin when we were told about acid rain in school? So putting acid on your facial skin seems like a terrible idea, right? Well, once you understand acids and what they can do for your skin you'll never turn back.
What are acids?
Acids are simply any substance which has a pH of less than 7. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is considered neutral. Most water is either a tiny bit acidic having a pH of less than 7 or slightly basic having a pH of more than 7. This normal and your tap water is checked by your water supplier to make sure that it stays within acceptable pH limits.
Acids are all around us, in our foods, drinks and even produced by our bodies to keep us healthy. Acidic foods such as citrus fruits contain citric acid which is what makes them taste sour. Our stomach produces acid to help digest our foods. Anyone that suffers from heartburn will know all about how over production of this acid can affect your health. Vinegar is a source of acetic acid and many fruits such as apples contain malic acid. So acids are all around us and even inside us.
Acids in cosmetics
Milk contains an acid, lactic acid which is produced after the milk has been taken from the animal. This acid is used in many cosmetic products for its ability to remove dead skin cells. We've all heard about Cleopatra bathing in milk. So, even the ancient Egyptians knew of the skin softening abilities of some acids.
AHAs and BHAs are used in many cosmetic products to exfoliate the skin. Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) are made from sugary fruits are water soluble and best used on dull skin. Beta Hydroxy acids (BHAs) are oil soluble and best used for acne prone or clogged skin. Examples of AHAs include lactic acid, glycolic acid or tartaric acid. The most popular form of BHA would be salicylic acid.
Acids which exfoliate are amazing and when used correctly can result in even skin tone, improved skin texture, unclogged pores and removal of dead skin cells. However, they may not be suitable for some very sensitive skins and care should be taken if using AHAs and BHAs together to prevent irritation from too much exfoliation.
Where does Hyaluronic Acid fit in the acid skincare debate?
Unlike AHAs and BHAs Hyaluronic Acid or HA isn't used for exfoliation but rather hyaluronic acid is what is known as a humectant. Humectants draw moisture towards them and examples include glycerine and honey along with hyaluronic acid. In fact hyaluronic acid can hold multiple times its weight in water leaving skin dewy and plump. Our bodies produce hyaluronic acid which can be found in connective tissues and eyes but is most abundant in your skin. But, surprise, surprise as we age our bodies produce less and less hyaluronic acid and so adding this ingredient to your skincare routine can have amazing effects.
It is best applied to damp skin after cleansing and followed by a moisturiser to help hold in this new moisture attracting ingredient.
But what about enzymes?
There's another skincare ingredient now? Yes there is and they are known as enzymes. These are not acids like AHAs or BHAs but do act as a milder exfoliant and so are suitable for sensitive skin and all skin types where as AHAs and BHAs can cause irritation. Enzymes are derived from natural sources and are usually derived from pineapple, kiwi, figs and papaya. Enzymes break down keratin protein in your skin giving brighter, smoother skin. This brighter, newer skin allows for better penetration of products making them more effective.
Products to try
Keegan & Co. Treatment Essence with hydrating hyaluronic acid also contains papaya enzymes so it helps clear dead skin cells allowing the product to penetrate more effectively. Neroil, rose and jasmine water soothe all skin types and add that essential water which hyaluronic acid needs to be truly effective. Plus it smells amazing!
It comes in a larger 50 ml size and will last about 2 months. It can also be used as a second stage cleanse by adding a few drops to a cotton cleansing pad and sweeping over skin. Add a few more drops and pat onto skin before applying moisturiser or oil serum.
Do you use Hyaluronic Acid in your skincare routine? Have you tried enzymes yet? Let us know in the comments.