This is a safe space, because the world of acids is a scary place and can be terribly confusing when you feel like so much information is being thrown at you but you don’t know which can actually work for YOU.
Let me first tell you this isn’t a comparative for one simple reason – the do different things! When you think of acid your mind will automatically go to stripping or use as a decongestant. Hyaluronic acid is one of those special cases where it goes against what the rest of acids do, it’s actually a hydrating tool. It draws and locks moisture into your skin. Lactic acid is a great decongestant for sensitive skins. They can be used in synergy. Read more about them below.
So, we’ve already established lactic acid is here for chemical exfoliation in this duo. It’s an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) because it has a carboxyl group adjacent to the hydroxyl group (COOH). AHA’s can be both natural and synthetic. When correctly formulated they 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’s more gentle than glycolic acid because lactic acid is derived from milk, it can have slight moisturizing properties as it can increase the natural barrier lipids in the skin. So you even get a bit of hydration with lactic acid too!
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 skin 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 skins barrier helping it to appear more plump.
It’s mechanism of action involves acting as a body guard for the skin, safe guarding 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 as it does not have a greasy feel, leaving 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 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.
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*Pictures courtesy of Sigma Aldrich and Revolvy