Let me first make clear this isn’t really a comparative because technically these acids do different things. However, they do need to be differentiated because the world of acids in skincare is a confusing one and one of the questions I get asked most is which one do I use? The short answer, of course, is both. The specialty in this versus article is hyaluronic acid which, unlike every other acid, does not exfoliate your skin. It actually hydrates your skin and so can be used with a whole host of other exfoliating acids to keep your skin healthy. The following is a cheat sheet to both of these acids.
So, we’ve already established lactic acid is the chemical exfoliation in this duo. It’s an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) because it has a carboxyl group adjacent to the hydroxyl group (COOH), which although isn’t really relevant to you understanding its function, explains the nomenclature of organic chemistry a little. Lactic acid can made both naturally and synthetically, so it can be vegan but that changes from product to product. When correctly formulated lactic acid can exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin. Doing so reveals fresher, refined skin that appears much smoother, is more hydrated, and, over time, becomes visibly firmer.
It really is useful for all skin types due to it’s more gentle, non-irritating nature. It’s also gaining some major popularity because of its multiple uses, its ability to slough through dead skin cells means it can reduce acne scars, even out the skin tone, and mitigate the effects of aging. It works as soon as you apply it, deep in the skin’s layers to ‘unglue’ dead skin cells.
HA is always used for hydration. It does so by attracting water molecules to the skin. As hyaluronic acid has humectant properties it helps to strengthen the skin barrier helping it to appear plumper
Its a mechanism of action involves acting as a bodyguard for the skin, safeguarding, and renewing the skin constantly by the prevention of moisture loss. It holds on to water molecules.
Hyaluronic acid is especially great for oily skin because it does not have a greasy feel. It leaves your skin hydrated, not oily, whilst providing your skin with the boost of moisture it is craving. Of course, this does not mean those with dry skin should stray – oily skin and dry skin are both a result of the same problem. No hydration. People just react differently to it, it will be beneficial if you have either of those skin types.