How to Repair Damage from Acids

Unfortunately we have all been there before, burned by using acids on skin and causing a disrupt to the acid mantle.

Acids for the skin are broken up into two main groups, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) – more recently PHAs (polyhydroxy acids), also considered chemical exfoliants, are becoming more prevalent.

AHAs are water soluble and work on skin’s surface to loosen the tension between the topical layers of dead skin cells showing a more youthful appearance to skin. They tend to be preferred because they are gentler at exfoliating and can have hydrating qualities. These types of acids are recognized as glycolic, lactic, malic and citric acids, and can be found in many skincare products formulated for “cellular renewal” or have the traditional “anti-aging” effects on skin. They typically are marketed as products that "brighten the complexion," "reduce pore size," "target hyperpigmentation" or provide a "change to skin's texture."

If you’ve searched for an acne-clearing product you have had an encounter with BHAs. Salicylic acid is the go-to BHA and has been the industry recommendation in helping to clear painful breakout and deeper congestion. BHAs are considered less aggressive than AHAs and boast of anti-inflammatory properties while also being oil soluble. This solubility allows them to penetrate deeper into pores to clear out congestion due to the skin’s lipophilic character. 

The name of the game with all exfoliants is to encourage a healthy cellular turnover thus allowing your hydrators to penetrate deeper into the dermis for intense hydration and repair, and acids are no different.

When it comes to making a switch to repair the damage, we have seen firsthand improvement by simply removing the daily or weekly use of acids. When we do this, we are signaling to our skin that the "threat of dehydration" is gone and in turn it will course correct and produce less sebum or natural oil. The constant stripping is part of what puts skin on the defense where it can become red, reactive and inflamed along with over producing natural oils as a way to protect the acid mantle.

In order to move past reactive skin, we recommend using products that provide a base-layer of hydration for skin each step of the way but without leading to a potential for congestion.

This goal is exactly why we recommend starting with our Basic Routine as a simple yet effective way to help skin during this transition. By using this 3-step routine we are working to repair skin by balancing the acid mantle with pH balanced products that are formulated with organic ceramides, lipids and probiotics that work to hydrate the dermis.

In reference to the hydration step of this routine, if we were to introduce a more concentrated hydrator before the dermis is repaired, the product would sit more topically and become a potential for congestion. This is why we do not recommend starting with our Evening Rose Facial Serum or Lavender Cold Cream if your current routine includes acids, detergent-based cleansers or oil-free hydrators.

To support skin as a lipid bilayer, we need to provide the nutrients it needs to slowly heal skin so when we switch to fully concentrated hydrators, skin will accept and use them to repair deeper damage. If you find yourself wanting to incorporate our concentrated facial hydrators into your routine from the beginning, we recommend reducing the quantity used for the first 2 to 3 months and layering under the recommended moisturizers for extra skin nutrients and protection.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to cultivate a routine that includes products that contain phyto-retinols, collagen & elastic promoters, full skin nutrients including high amounts of vitamin C, E, D, probiotics, and rich barriers against transepidermal water loss (TEWL), but achieving this will take some time.