Thursday, 19 January 2017

Acids and Serums - A Beginner's Guide

And the beginner (or idiot) is me.
I've been donning a white lab coat recently and getting all sciencey and putting acid on my face. And because this is a new thing for me, I've been doing a bit of research and there is a lot to remember, so I thought if I write it in a post, I can refer back to it. And if you're interested, this might help you as well.

There are lots of acids and serums out there and I'm going to tell you about the ones I've been using. I've been looking for products to help with anti-aging, large pores and oil (sebum) production specifically. And then I found that some of the acids I've been using are also great at helping to diminish age spots. Result.

Acids or AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids)
There are 5 AHAs - Glycolic, Lactic, Citric, Malic and Tartaric and they are all derived from natural sources. The ones I've been using are:

Glycolic Acid from sugar cane - this is the super hero of acids. A chemical exfoliator that removes dead skin cells, bringing new cells to the surface. This helps to rebuild lost collagen, which plumps out wrinkles and evens out skin tone.
Great for:

  • anti-aging
  • to lighten skin (diminish sun and age spots and scarring)
  • acne/blackhead prone skin
Look for a solution with at least 10% Glycolic if your skin is not sensitive and can take it. Use three times a week, on alternate nights. Once a week to start with.

I started with Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a great one to start your Glycolic journey on. If you have tough/non sensitive skin like me, you'll be able to do a once/twice a week overnight treatment with Alpha H Liquid Gold, which is stronger.
Glycolic Acids
Glycolic Acids
Lactic from milk - another chemical exfoliator but gentler than Glycolic, so a good one for those of you with sensitive skin.
Great for:
  • dry and or sensitive skin
  • to increase moisture
  • to soften skin
  • to gently lighten skin (age/sun spots)
  • Keratosis Pilaris - you know those bumps you get on the back of your upper arms, Lactic acid will get rid of these. Look for a body lotion with Lactic Acid in.
I've been using Bravura Lactic Acid. I put it on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off.

Remember to use a good SPF in the day following use of an AHA, as they do make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Lactic Acid
Lactic Acid
BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

Salicyclic Acid - dissolves oil and dead skin cells, so is great for:

  • black and whitehead spots
  • acne
  • oiliness
Other acids
Hyaluronic Acid - the most important ingredient you should be using on your skin and is great for:
  • anti-aging
  • hydrating (the molecules can attract and hold a ridiculous amount of water on your skin)
  • blemish prone skin
  • sensitive skin
I've been using The Ordinary Hyaluronic 2% + B5 serum after cleansing and before moisturiser. Every other night I use NIOD Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex serum. I also use Bravura Hyaluronic Acid serum under moisturiser in the day.
NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
Niacinamide - a vitamin which is great:
  • to minimise enlarged pores
  • for brighter, younger looking skin
  • redness
  • dryness
  • to reduce congestion and blemishes
  • to balance sebum production
I've been using The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I only recently bought this so I'll let you know how I get on with it.
The Ordinary
The Ordinary
Retinol - is vitamin A and is another key ingredient if you are looking for proven results for anti-aging. Great for:
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • increasing the appearance of skin firmness
  • improve uneven skin tone
  • smooth and refine skin surface
I've been using Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil. This did get pushed to the back of my cabinet but I've moved it back to the front and am back on it to liven up my winter weary skin.

I hope that's given you some pointers, because it is confusing and I am no skin expert but these are things I've been using and can vouch for. And yes I do have post its in my bathroom to help me remember when to use what!




  1. This is so helpful, I am stuck at the moment, I want to try some products from The Ordinary but don't know what to go for and when to use what, this was super helpful, thank you xxx

    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo

  2. Oooooh so much to think about...thanks for the insight!

  3. Positive info, I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. psoriasis


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