Finding the right acids for your skin can be very confusing if you don’t understand the benefits of each one. Essentially, all acids work in a similar way, but your skin type and concern need to be taken into account before choosing one.
NeoStrata, a US-based cosmeceutical company, are true innovators in the field of skincare acids. Their founding Dermatologist’s pioneered the first Glycolic acid peel back in the late 1980’s.Since then, they have taken their innovations further to include derivative
forms of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s).
Unlike an enzyme, acids don’t digest and dissolve skin cells, but rather dissolve the bonds that hold skin cells together. This means that they’re great at getting rid of dead skin cells that break up and sit on the surface of the skin giving it a dull or uneven tone. In more mature skin types, they also speed up cell renewal (which decreases as we age). Don’t be scared of incorporating acids into your regime and remember that your skin is a naturally acidic environment (when skin is alkaline, it becomes irritated). Below, I’ve decoded the various acids, explaining how they work, their benefits and which skin types they are best suited to.
Derived from sugar cane, Glycolic acid is my favourite of all the acids because it’s such an effective exfoliant.
As we get older, the rate of the cellular turnover on our skin slows down. This causes a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, giving it a dull and dry appearance. It also makes it difficult for moisturisers or treatments like serums to penetrate this dead layer of skin. What Glycolic acid does is dissolve the “glue” that holds these dead skin cells together – essentially acting like an exfoliant.
Glycolic Acid quickens the rate of cell turnover, boosts collagen and elastin production and visibly improves skin radiance, texture and tone. As a result, the skin looks smoother and brighter with fewer wrinkles. It can also be effective at treating superficial hyper-pigmentation. Glycolic acid is best used overnight, two to three times a week. However, because it’s a small molecule, there can sometimes be a risk of irritation, so do a patch test prior to using any product containing it – especially if your skin tends to be sensitive. It tends to suit normal to dry skin types best.
Find it in NeoStrata’s Smooth Surface Daily Peel
These home-use peel pads help to refine the skin’s texture, improve skin tone and clarity, all while visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also help decrease melanin clumping to improve superficial brown marks and skin clarity. Suitable for all skin types except those with sensitive, rosacea-prone or atopic skins.
A mild exfoliant derived from plant extracts, Lactobionic acid works to smooth and resurface the skin without causing any redness or irritation. In addition, Lactobionic acid also increases cell turnover, while reducing the appearance of scarring and pigmentation. Because it’s a strong humectant (draws water from the atmosphere into the skin), it hydrates the skin beautifully, plumping lines and wrinkles. Lastly, Lactobionic acid is bio-available, meaning it’s easily absorbed into the skin.
This gel contains ingredients formulated to help reduce and prevent the appearance of brown marks and pigmentation. It gently exfoliates the skin and encourages cellular turnover, thereby brightening dull, pigmented skin and normalising uneven skin tone. Key ingredients include 5% Gluconolactone + Lactobionic Acid which helps to reduce the production of melanin, whilst 5% Glycolic + Citric Acids and 1% Kojic Acid helps lighten mottled pigmentation. Licorice extract, a natural brightener, helps to promote an even skin tone. Antioxidants and Ascorbic Acid help to prevent new discolourations from forming. This gel is fragrance and Paraben free. It is not suitable for sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
For good reason, Hyaluronic Acid (HA) has been trending of late – and with good reason too. Naturally occurring in the skin, HA is renowned for its ability to attract and hold onto 1000X its weight in moisture. It’s a humectant, meaning it draws moisture from its surroundings. HA has the ability to boost hydration in all skin types but is especially beneficial for those with dry and dehydrated skin. It also works to revitalize the skin’s outer surface layers, so it looks softer, smoother and hydrated. It also has the ability to instantly improve the appearance of fine lines and plump wrinkles. HA is great for all skin types that need a boost of moisture.
I’ve written about this incredible serum before HERE, but to briefly recap; it’s formulated with a triple anti-ageing complex to help volumize sagging skin, renew skin tone and smooth rough texture while improving overall signs of photo-damage.
Key ingredients include Aminofil – a breakthrough, patented skin volumizing agent that helps to reinforce the skin’s matrix and targets the skin’s own hyaluronic acid levels, to volumize, firm and plump. Gluconolactone – a Poly Hydroxy Acid (PHA) helps to reduce oxidative damage and gently increases cell turnover, giving the skin a more even tone and radiance. Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid penetrates the skin’s surface to attract moisture, providing hydration and visibly improve the skin’s texture. It is a light silky formulation which is fast-absorbing and leaves the skin with a velvety texture.
Naturally found in circus fruits like limes, lemons, grapefruits and oranges, Citric acid can slough off dead skin cells and speed new cell turnover when applied topically to the skin. This promotes new skin growth that can help alleviate the appearance of age spots, acne scars, small wrinkles and areas of uneven tone and texture. Products containing citric acid work to eliminate acne and can make enlarged pores appear smaller. In addition, it can adjust the skin’s PH levels and boost moisture. Citric acid can be used on most skin types.
This anti-ageing day cream with an SPF exfoliates the skin, removing the build-up of dry, dead surface cells that cause dullness. The formula smooths fine lines and other signs of skin ageing by encouraging cell renewal, leaving the skin looking fresh and radiant. Key ingredients include Glycolic Acid that helps to correct the visible signs of ageing providing a smoother texture, even skin tone and clarity. Citric Acid provides antioxidant benefits while Titantium Dioxide provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It’s best suited to normal, combination skin and early ageing, fine lines or mature sun-damaged skins with a higher tolerance to active ingredients.
Probably the lesser known of the acids, Maltobionic acid works to gently remove dead skin cells, giving the complexion a smoother and more even-toned appearance while attracting water molecules, which moisturise the skin. Extracted from natural sugars, Maltobionic acid is non-irritating and helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, discoloration, enlarged pores and roughness through gentle exfoliation. Maltobionic acid is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to target naturally-occurring, skin degrading enzymes to help maintain a youthful look. It’s is medically coveted because it is a great humectant that protects skin and attracts moisture to the skin’s barrier for added hydration. Maltobionic acid a great choice for very dehydrated and dry skin types.
Find it in Neostrata Antioxidant Serum
A powerful antioxidant formulation that gives the skin added protection against environmental aggressors and signs of skin ageing, while helping to preserve healthy DNA. It also adds extra moisture to the skin when applied under a day cream.
Key ingredients include eight potent, multi-action antioxidants to scavenge free radicals, combat oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, and to protect DNA from premature ageing. Maltobionic Acid helps to prevent sun-induced cellular damage and protect against inflammatory mediators in the skin. Recommended for those with mature, dry, sun-damaged skin.
This is probably the best known (and loved) of all the acids. Salicylic Acid is unique among resurfacing acids because it is a larger molecule and is “oligophillic”, meaning it is soluble in and attracted to oil.
This makes it the perfect choice if you have oily skin prone to breakouts, blackheads, or acne.
Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory benefits, so it calms the skin and helps with redness. It has the ability to visibly reduce the size of pimples and banish blackheads. Salicylic acid can be used on all skin types because it’s so gentle but is most beneficial for oily or acne prone skin types that suffer with sensitivity.
Find it in Neostrata Spot Treatment Gel
A rapid action treatment that targets skin imperfections and blemishes often associated with oily acne-prone skins. It gently exfoliates to help remove impurities. A concentrated formula of Pro-Vitamin A (Pro-Retinol) together with blemish-fighting Salicylic Acid work to control excess oil. The formula also has beneficial antioxidant properties and promotes normal cell turnover to keep the skin looking healthy, while helping to minimise the inflammation that occurs with acne lesions. This gel is fragrance, colour & Paraben free.
Learn more about Neostrata by checking out their website HERE
Purchase Neostrata products on Dermastore HERE or on
*This blog post is sponsored by Neostrata*