Our skin naturally exfoliates dead skin on a daily basis. However, over time this process slows. The result can be dry, flaky skin. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, e.g., glycolic and lactic acids), BHA (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) as well as azelaic acid and kojic acid help with exfoliation and return the glow to your skin.
5. Salicylic Acid
This acid promotes exfoliation of the uppermost layer of the skin. That helps provide a smoother texture and appearance. Salicylic acid also can give the illusion of decreased pore size. It’s almost always made synthetically, but can be made from willow bark. The acid works best for an oily and acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid contains BPH (beta hydroxy acid). The FDA advises sun protection if you use a BHA product.
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4. Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is an AHA. It’s found in sour milk, and that includes yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese. It’s a favorite ingredient in anti-aging and rejuvenation skin care products. This acid is relatively mild and much gentile on the skin. It works well to calm down acne-prone skin.
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3. Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is created from grains, such as rye, barley, and wheat. It’s often used to treat acne, acne rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. It has keratolytic properties, which helps to soften and shed the outer layer of the skin. Azelaic acid also has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
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2. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that’s created from common fruits such as unripened grapes, papaya, and pineapple. It’s a very popular ingredient due to the fact that it’s water-soluble and is able to interact well with the skin.
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Kojic acid is found in many species of fungi, especially the Japanese Aspergillus oryzae or koji. It’s created as a byproduct of fermented rice to make sake. Kojic acid has potent antioxidant properties. Kojic acid helps even out areas with uneven pigment. However, it can cause skin irritation and has the potential to cause allergic reactions.
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