ACID MANIA - a Coucou College lesson in how to find your way through these unpronounceable beauty wonders called exfoliating acids.
Now we’ve received some questions about when to use our Jade and Rose Quartz Roller in your beauty routine. To be honest you can roll whenever and wherever you like, but remember ALWAYS on clean skin! Our best advice: Use them after your (exfoliating) acid or serum, because you’ll literally roll the ingredients into your skin.
Let’s get to the difficult part. There are a lot of acids out there and everybody’s shouting about AHA and BHA. There is no doubt you should use them, as they’re like heaven to your skin. But we tend to forget the most important first step: Define your skin type. All acids work differently and not every skin type can cope with these acids and their hardworking ingredients. Let alone the fact that some acids should not even be used in the mix.
A little overwhelming? Let us break it down for you:
Why use acids in the first place?
Because (chemical) exfoliation will give you skin like a baby: by eliminating dead skin cells, polishing your skin, reducing hyperpigmentation, refining pores, reducing wrinkles and fine lines and leaving your skin oh so glow-oh-ing!
What acids are out there:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, a difficult name that’s easier to remember if we call them AHAs.
AHAs are fit for all skin types, but are mainly good for dry, dull-looking and sun-damaged skin. There are different types of AHAs: lactic, glycolic, mandelic, tartaric, magic and citric acid. But if these acids were a girl band, GLYCOLIC acid would be your Baby Spice - the one everybody likes.
“AHA’s are fit for all skin types, but mainly good for dry, dull-looking and sun-damaged skin. There are different types of AHAs but GLYCOLIC acid would be your Baby Spice - the one everybody likes.”
AHAs are water-soluble so they work on the surface only. By removing the outer layer of your skin (also called the epidermis), you reduce dark spots and fine lines and even-out skin tone, leaving your skin super smooth and radiant. One warning: don’t mix-and-match with the super antioxidant Vitamin C (also called Ascorbic Acid) as it disturbs the pH balance of the vitamin.
If you’re looking for a softer version of AHA, then opt for PHAs (also Poly Hydroxy Acids). Especially good for dry, sun damaged and sensitive skin, PHAs do pretty much the same as AHAs, but they work on a slower and weaker level because of the larger molecules that have a less ability to penetrate into the skin.
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) is your go-to acid when you have oily, sensitive, acne or rosacea-prone skin. With BHA the star of the show is SALICYLIC acid. The acid works deep into the pores because it’s oil-soluble, killing the bacteria that causes acne and reducing inflammation. Be careful when using BHA directly before or after other exfoliating acids since it can cause irritation to the skin. And if you happen to be allergic to aspirin then stay away from BHA.
“BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) is your go-to acid when you have oily, sensitive, acne or rosacea-prone skin.”
Instead of resurfacing the skin like other acids do, Hyaluronic Acid (a natural component of your skin) is the hero when it comes to moisturising, leaving your skin beautifully plumped. It helps refill the skin’s moisture reservoirs because of the ability to bind water. It works well for all skin types, especially for dryer skin.
And now on to the superhero of acids: Retinoic Acid. This is a vitamin A derivative and a fancy name for the active ingredient that retinol changes into when applied to your skin. Retinoic Acid works best for sensitive and aging skin, and is a must-have for all you girls over 30. Retinoic Acid can do it all: enhancing collagen, making the skin firmer, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, improving uneven skin tone, smoothing and refining pores and it can even reverse sun damage. A small warning - don’t use together with your AHAs and BHA, because the combination can cause dryness and irritation. Also, Retinoic Acid and Vitamin C don’t go hand in hand.
This all sounds too good to be true! So where’s the catch?
Yes, these acids can work wonders for your skin, but there’s no doubt that you want to be careful. These acids can be very powerful and may cause irritation to newbies. So we recommend to start with a mild concentration (5% for AHA, 1% for BHA) and slowly work your way up (10% for AHA, 2% for BHA). Note that the pH level should always be above 3.5%. Keep in mind that your skin gets sensitive to sunlight when using exfoliating acids, so always (year-round please!) use a sunblock. If you want to be extra cautious:
1) Use your acids only every other night or organise them between day and night time
2) When on holiday take a break from your acids
3) Add a calming antioxidant to your skincare routine to soothe any inflammation caused by the acids.