Possibly one of the most talked about activities in skincare, hyaluronic acid is widely used in skincare for its ability to hydrate the skin. A naturally occurring sugar found throughout the body’s connective tissue, hyaluronic acid is the main component responsible for giving your skin a hydrated and plump appearance. Our hyaluronic acid production decreases with age causing a lack in skin hydration and volume. It can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water and acts as a humectant to hold water molecules onto the surface of the skin, therefore a key ingredient in skincare.
Derived from natural sources, AHAs are gentle exfoliants that dissolve the bonds between surface skin cells to allow for dead skin cells to be removed and new skin cells to regenerate, revealing smoother and brighter skin. As water soluble acids they do not penetrate deep below the skin’s surface and are therefore less likely to cause irritation, making them suitable for sensitive skin. The most notable AHAs are lactic acid which is made from milk and glycolic acid which is derived from sugar. Of the two, glycolic acid has a smaller molecular structure allowing its benefits to penetrate deeper than lactic acid.
Another form of chemical exfoliants, BHAs, often known as salicylic acid, work in the same way as AHAs to dissolve dead skin cells and remove them from the surface of the skin. While AHAs are water soluble, BHAs are oil soluble which means they are able to penetrate below the skin’s surface to gently unclog pores of excess sebum and dirt, all while fighting bacteria on the surface of the skin and reducing inflammation. Most salicylic acid used in skincare is synthetic, however it is naturally occurring in Nordic Willow Bark which is how we use it in our skincare.
A relative newcomer, there has been a steady rise in the popularity of PHA in skincare products. Structurally different to AHAs and BHAs, PHAs have a much larger molecular structure and therefore work exclusively on the surface of the skin to gently smooth and retexturise, making them suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.