Acids have been used to improve the appearance of the skin for many hundreds and even thousands of years; Cleopatra famously bathed every day in asses’ milk, a form of lactic acid. Facial acids are a key part of any skincare regime we prescribe patients at our central London skincare clinic, but patients often have misconceptions about these essential ingredients.
# 1 Acid can damage the skin
The most common misconception I find about facial acids is that they will thin the skin, while in fact they will improve skin texture, by increasing collagen content.
# 2 Acids will make your skin more sensitive
Another is that acids are irritants when, in reality, by gradually adding acids to your skin routine, the skin becomes more resistant and more competent to deal with environmental aggressions. Even the most sensitive skin types can use acids, like the milk-derived lactic acid.
# 3 You can be allergic to certain facial acids
Another misconception is that you can be allergic to retinol. Higher doses can initially produce what is called retinoid dermatitis – an strong inflammatory reaction to a retinoid irritant. However, by gradually introducing retinols, tolerance is developed and the expected results can be achieved.
# 4 Skincare creams containing hyaluronic acid work the same way as HA dermal fillers
Skincare products now often cite hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient, but it is important to realise that you will never get the same results from a cream that you will from hyaluronic acid dermal fillers.
The hyaluronic acid molecule is made of the combination of two sugar molecules and is very big in size, meaning that it cannot cross the skin barrier. Ingesting it will also mean it will be broken into smaller sugar molecules to be absorbed. The only way for the skin to produce more hyaluronic acid naturally is to activate the skin with acids such as retinoids.
# 5 Facial acids cannot be combined with other ingredients
Acids can be combined with other active ingredients to treat a whole range of skin conditions and concerns. I use the ZO Medical C-Bright or the ZO Daily Power Defence to protect against free-radicals and sun exposure. They contain a combination of retinol with antioxidants and are especially important during summer holidays and when exposed to factors such as pollution or sun light.
When dealing with pigmentation, facial acids can be combined with pigment production suppressions, that will reduce any excessive pigment being produced. So acids combined with natural or pharmacological pigment, such as ZO Brightenex or ZO Melamin, can lead to significant pigmentation improvement.
Another important combination is of salicylic acid with Benzoyl Peroxyde (ZO Aknetrol), a topical antimicrobial that helps eliminate the bacteria that causes acne.
We offer a range of treatments and products that can tackle any skin concern. Call 020 7043 0748 to book a consultation at Dr Joney De Souza Skin and Laser Clinic.