Acid and Answered
JULY 15, 2022
Don’t know your l-ascorbic from your lactic? Grab a serum and pull up a chair.
Fun fact: Your skin is an acid (meaning it’s an acidic environment), which is why good acids are vital to its healthy functioning. Which one you need can change depending on the day, the time of year, and where you are in the world.
Acids are active ingredients that get your skin to the next level of soft, radiant glowingness. All of our acids are carefully formulated around pH levels, so they’re skin-friendly, non-irritating, and designed to be mixed together. You’ll have the most success with adding acids to your skincare routine when you go slow and build up a healthy tolerance, paying attention to how your skin reacts. Listen to your skin—it doesn’t always need the same thing.
Now here’s what’s what.
Also known as vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid is your go-to brightener and free radical fighter. What this means for your skin: a noticeably diminished appearance of the signs of aging and photodamage—replaced by incredible radiance and luminosity. Find it in: C-Firma Fresh Day Serum at a potent 15% concentration.
This is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), a type of acid that exfoliates the skin by dissolving the bonds that hold dead cells together. When you get rid of those dead skin cells, your skin is smoother and more refined. Compared with some of the stronger AHAs out there (more on that in a minute), lactic acid is a milder, more hydrating choice, which means it’s great for those who are new to chemical exfoliation. Find it in: Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum at a serious 10% concentration; any Drunk Elephant product with T.L.C. in the name (L is for “lactic”!).
Glycolic acid is found in all of our T.L.C. products, which contain our special-sauce blend of glycolic plus tartaric (T), lactic (L), and citric (C) acids. They’re all AHAs, and they all resurface dull, congested skin, revealing the smooth, glowing skin underneath. Find it in: T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (our weekly mask); T.L.C. Framboos (a nightly serum); T.L.C. Glycolic Body Lotion (for flaky skin below the neck); and T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub (because happy scalp = happy hair).
Our vegan retinol converts to retinoic acid, which smooths skin and targets the appearance of fine lines, blemishes, and sun damage, working from the deepest layers of skin upward. If you’re looking for something that will improve the look and feel of uneven skin tone and texture while warding off UV and free radical damage, this is your jam. Find it in: A-Passioni at a potent 1.0% concentration; A-Gloei at a gentler 0.5% strength (good for newbies!).
Hyaluronic acid is a whiz at plumping up dehydrated skin, and here’s why: It can carry up to 6,000 times its weight in water. Two forms of hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, have a smaller molecular weight than hyaluronic acid and are able to penetrate skin and deliver intense hydration to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and promote firmness. Find it in: F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial; B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum