Acids are widely used in many skin treatments, ranging from masks to peels. Every acid has a different function when applied on the skin and benefits the skin in a different way.
There are already existing acids on your skin, but by incorporating acid treatments in your beauty regimen you increase their quantity, and thus you also increase their benefits.
Hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid are two of the most commonly used types of acids. Let’s see which one is better for improving the skin and giving you a bright complexion.
Also known as hyaluronan, this popular acid already exists in our bodies. The eyes and joints contain the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid. Aging and environmental factors, among other things, play a critical role in the amount of hyaluronic acid our body retains, so we naturally lose some of that amount as we age.
The human body contains around 15 grams of hyaluronan, a third of which is synthesized on a daily basis.
It can be derived from many sources, especially in food. It can also be found in supplement and powder form, and people usually take it for osteoarthritis and other joint problems.
Although it has many functions, its main objective is to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized, and it does so by retaining the water in our bodies. This is why it’s a perfect option for people with dry skin. It enhances the moisture content that’s on the skin, so if you do suffer from dry skin or dry patches, it’s a good idea to invest in a skincare product that contains hyaluronic acid. When applied topically, it hydrates the skin and prevents it from being dull-looking.
In addition, hyaluronic acid lubricates the joints and other connective tissues, as well as providing a protective coat in the cells of the articular cartilage.
Interestingly, it’s also the main acid used for lip fillers.
Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, we haven’t even started naming its main benefits in terms of skin health! Below are some of the benefits you too can experience from this miracle acid if you decide to incorporate it in your routine.
As we’ve mentioned before, hyaluronic acid plays a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s natural moisture and softness.
If you want to experience its hydrating benefits, the best thing to do is to purchase products like creams and moisturizers which already contain hyaluronic acid inside. Since it’s such a common skincare ingredient, you also could be using it without even realizing it. You might want to check the ingredient list of your favorite cosmetic products before going out and buying a new one. It will probably appear as ‘sodium hyaluronate’, and if it’s at the beginning of the list it means that it’s present in the product in a higher amount. You’ll want to wash your face with the cleanser you normally use, then follow it up with a toner that’s going to help with acne and apply the moisturizer in the end.
As a result of using this acid on a regular basis, your skin will be dewy and glowing.
Wounds are tricky to deal with, and sadly we all get them from time to time. You might be wondering how a hydrating acid could possibly work on wound healing? Well, it works by decreasing the inflammation in the body while the wound is healing. Also, due to its antibacterial properties, it reduces the risk of infection during the process of healing.
The natural levels of hyaluronic acid decrease as we grow older. But don’t despair because you can slow down this process by incorporating cosmetic products that contain hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine or taking oral supplements.
It works by drastically increasing the moisture in our skin which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It’s believed that people with dry skin tend to get premature signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines more quickly than those with normal or oily skin. Therefore, not only does hyaluronic acid work on existing wrinkles and lines, but it can also prevent them from occurring in the first place.
That’s the reason why it’s also one of the main ingredients in fillers used in plastic surgery that give the skin a youthful appearance.
This type of acid has become quite the trend in the beauty and skincare community.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA), a group of acids referred to as ‘fruit acids’. As the name suggests, it’s mainly found in fruit and it’s usually derived from sugar cane. It’s said to be one of the safest AHAs for the skin.
Just like hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid is also naturally occurring in the body. It performs many functions, so let’s see what those are.
Glycolic acid has similar functions to that of hyaluronic acid. It breaks down and loosens the substances that are located on the top skin layer and it provides natural exfoliation, which is why it’s very effective for rejuvenating the skin and shedding off dead skin cells.
It also moisturizes the skin inside-out, which is why it’s a great option for dry skin types. In addition, glycolic acid stimulates the growth of new cells, collagen and elastin, which improves your overall complexion, leaving you with flawless skin all year round.
Because it has anti-aging properties and can reach the lower skin layers, glycolic acid is also an amazing option for people who want a youthful looking skin without wrinkles and fine lines.
Due to these anti-aging and replenishing properties, it’s the main ingredient found in many chemical peels. Other than that, it’s commonly used in many cosmetic products such as creams, gels, and toners that treat scarring, hyperpigmentation, and even acne.
You’ve probably heard by now that the build-up of dead skin cells combined with excess sebum and acne-causing bacteria is the main reason why acne occurs in the first place.
Since the main function of glycolic acid is getting rid of dead skin cells, it can be very useful for treating acne. Not only that, but it also prevents future acne breakouts by renewing the skin frequently. What’s not to love?
Similarly to hyaluronic acid, the levels of naturally occurring glycolic acid in the skin decreases as we age. Don’t worry, there’s hope! By using products that contain glycolic acid, your skin will become more radiant, youthful and smooth in no time.
Because of its moisturizing benefits, it will prevent wrinkles and fine lines from occurring in the first place, and it will minimize the appearance of those that are already existing.
But, that’s not all! As we’ve already mentioned, glycolic acid also stimulates collagen production, one of the most important ingredients for preserving that youthful look.
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Even though the name sounds intimidating, hyaluronic acid doesn’t have many side-effects, and it’s generally safe to use. Our bodies produce it naturally, so there are very few reported allergic reactions to it.
The same goes for glycolic acid, it’s marked as generally safe and pretty harmless when used properly.
It’s important to note that pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should be wary about taking oral supplements.
In addition, hyaluronic acid is marked as unsafe for people suffering or recovering from cancer, because it can potentially make the cells grow faster.
Using glycolic acid can result in a tingling sensation on the skin. if you do experience this, it’s nothing to worry about. But if the sensation increases and it starts to burn, you should stop using it immediately.
Your skin will need some time to adjust to these acids. So, unless you’re already using products that contain both acids in them, it’s best to incorporate them slowly into your skincare routine.
Be careful when using glycolic acid if you’re on isotretinoin (brand name Accutane.) Consult your doctor if you want to introduce any product containing glycolic acid to your regular routine. Just like Accutane, they can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen regularly and limit your exposure to the sun.
If you notice any negative effects such as dryness, irritation, and redness, contact your dermatologist immediately and stop using them.
Both acids seem to be extremely beneficial when dealing with dry, flakey and dull-looking skin. They both have great anti-aging properties, making them an incredible option for mature skin types.
However, it appears that glycolic acid is a better option for those who want to treat acne or those who are looking for an effective skin exfoliator.
If you suffer from extremely dry skin or dry patches and are looking for a great moisturizer, then you should go for one that contains hyaluronic acid. Make sure you do a patch test first.
They’re easy to incorporate in your skincare routine, and almost every brand has some variation of products that contain them. So you should definitely give them a try at some point.